Recently I got to partake in the awesomeness that was Guns N' Roses reunited in 2016, a concert I thought would have been an impossible dream even a year ago given the long-standing animosity between Axl Rose and the rest of the band and the longstanding love affair between Axl Rose, madness, and Twinkies.
But the band reunited, I was able to benefit with tickets gifted unto me, and it was, musically, totally badass. One of the best concerts I have ever been to. But the awesome cheesy layer on top concealed a layer of foul casserole beneath, replete with canned peas and cougars. All was not what it was cracked up to be, and there's a price to pay for resurrecting '80s superstars in 2016.
#4. The Greatest Generation
I'm no spring chicken anymore; I grunt when I sit and when I poop and when I think too hard. My glory days of power drinking are behind me, and now I drink to forget, to sleep, and to feel better about life in general. And sometimes to moisten the ol' coal chute when things get backed up. But I was really young when Guns N' Roses were in their heyday, and I grew up with them, sort of. So seeing them live now wasn't too weird. I'm not decrepit or senile. However, the vast majority of the crowd attending the concert was.
Every rock show attracts an older crowd, but the curious skewing of numbers at Guns N' Roses was a bit intimidating. I was afraid that if the crowds rocked out too hard so many hips would break that my ability to administer first aid would be taxed to the extreme, to say nothing of my fear of performing chest compressions on ladies who had boob jobs back in 1983 and now looked like skeletons smuggling Valencia oranges.
Or, in a few cases, some very droopy pumpkins.
A sea of men with salt-and-pepper hair down to their waists roamed the crowd below my overpriced VIP riser seats, many of them trailing ladies in leather miniskirts with teased '80s hair that stood a solid foot from their scalps, ready to hop on the hood of any nearby Corvette with an albino snake should the opportunity arise.
They say rock 'n' roll will never die, and in a terrifying way, that's real. Every song you ever heard is captured in the time you heard it, no matter how long you continue to drink from the wrong cup in that cave with the old Templar Knight. So when the opportunity arises to see a band no one thought would ever play together again after 1995, what happens is you get people like me who can still bend over to tie their shoes without assistance and a sea of others who can't eat hard cheese before bedtime. They were totally awesome when the songs came out originally, but now they're taking heart medicine while they do their shots.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella
I see you, Richard Fortus.
I'm not saying it's wrong for old people to like any kind of music. You rock out to some Waka Flocka if you need to, grandpa. It's just that many of them seem to have not left the time in which they first heard that music, and it becomes weird, like when your parents tried to be hip and maybe started rapping at the dinner table one time when you were in high school and you thought your brain might start bleeding at any moment.
#3. Los Hooligans
Friends 4 Ever!
Can you see what's happening in this image? I took this in a panic over the shoulder hoping not to be seen. Not out of fear, more out of -- is there a word for not wanting assholes to sweat on you? If so, I assume it's German. That's what I was feeling. This group of fellows, and God bless their little hearts for being so into having fun that they were drunk beyond the ability to maintain balance, they were sweating like overly friendly Uber drivers on a July afternoon, and they were shirtless. And be-wigged. They all had wigs on.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella
Why the hell would they think that was cool?
The Hooligan crew were pretending to be Guns N' Roses, I think. One guy had the leg of his pants fashioned into a denim hat on his head, though, so maybe he was trying to re-create '80s sitcom sensation Blossom. I can't say. I refused to make eye contact with them, let alone speak to them. But for the popular songs that had been released as singles, they were ready and able to dance and sing the chorus, because those were the words they knew, before at least one of them fell down and spilled a drink all across the back of my calves, constantly making me wonder if someone was vomiting on my shoes.
And I always keep them looking so pristine.
Remember Top Gun? There's that one bar scene where, inexplicably, every pilot sings "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" by The Righteous Brothers and, for a non-musical movie, it's a pretty rousing musical number? Remember the stellar musical entry of the nerds in Revenge Of The Nerds at the end of the film that wins them the right to head the Greek Council? Another fine musical performance in a non-musical film. Now, life not being a musical itself, I can appreciate the times when people come together to put on a hell of a performance. The timing is right and suddenly everyone at prom is doing the same synchronized dance moves and Teen Wolf is there to prove he can be himself and still be cool. So if you're at a Guns N' Roses concert, and you're about four drinks into the night and feeling just saucy enough when "Paradise City" starts playing, of course you can sing along. Hell, I did. But I did not Russian folk dance my way through half the song list, because that shit would be inappropriate even in Footloose, and you remember how preposterous Kevin Bacon's angry solo dance in the warehouse is.