Wednesday 26 June 2019

John Daly: 'Old rockers worth one last pelvic thrust'

 

Kris Kristofferson. Photo: Stefan Brending
Kris Kristofferson. Photo: Stefan Brending

John Daly

I'm set for a stint of time travelling this summer - tickets booked, oxygen tanks fully loaded.

First stop on the interstellar journey is Elton John, followed by planetary detours to Fleetwood Mac, Kris Kristofferson, Hall & Oates, before final touchdown with Jimmy Buffett at the Olympia in September.

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A smartass nephew with a frequent line in elder abuse has christened it my 'dinosaur summer', so I tell him get back to me if Demi Lovato is still selling out arenas in 2069.

In fairness though, a quick dekko at the tours hitting our shores over the next few months surely highlights Ireland as The Land That Time Forgot amongst rock relics from a bygone era. And while all of them are almost a decade beyond the free bus pass at this point, there's no denying the drawing power many of these '60s rebels continue to exert.

After decades of toy bands, boy bands and teen queens with the dress sense of Mother Theresa on mescaline, a return to the virtues of classic songwriting and experienced stage presence has ensured that 70-plus is no longer too old to rock'n'roll. Sure, some of them might be padded out in the midriff and have plastic surgeons on speed dial, but there's no denying the fact that these funked-up fossils have successfully taken their once teenage audience on a never-ending journey down the decades to sell-out citizens of 2019.

Neatly filling a generational void of sixtysomething fans quite happy to shell out €150 for the pleasure of their company, veteran rockers are wheezing on their cross-trainers and letting out the waists of those lizard-skin pants for another twist beneath the strobe lights.

Backed by slick promotion, trend-savvy managers and back catalogues of anthems that still get Zippo flames raised in adoration, people like the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen are enjoying their sixth wind in the rarefied realms of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.

And while it's remarkable enough that 74-year-old men with bleached blond hair performing geriatric hip thrusts to the strains of 'Maggie May' can still pull 5,000 paying punters to places like Páirc Uí Chaoimh, a treasure trove of even greater dimensions awaits them in the rock-hungry regions of Eastern Europe, South America and India. In territories long bereft of the chance to witness these Gods of Rock, any opportunity to touch these ageing icons brings forth torrents of roubles, pesos and ringits.

Even beyond the lucrative goldmine of the Far East and China, ageing rockers are also mining serious cash from another area that might once have been the ultimate forbidden zone for any self-respecting rebel - the corporate sector. Bands who would once have scorned the Establishment as pin-striped bloodsuckers of the downtrodden are quietly turning a quick mil or 10 from private concerts for IBM, Microsoft, Pepsi and General Motors. Press the flesh, flatter the wives, pose for pictures and belt out hits, hits, hits, before hopping back on the trusty Gulfstream IV to a welcome cup of Earl Grey and the latest JK Rowling. When Bob Dylan declared that "money doesn't talk, it swears" - he was looking in the mirror.

Green is the new black

When they're not crooning their back catalogue of hits for an extra few million, rockers are keen to dig their earth. Ringo Starr, Ozzy Osbourne and Mick Hucknall are just a few of the mega-hit maestros who've replaced the grass you roll up for the grass you water.

With this in mind, I'll be cruising the Bloom gardens in the Phoenix Park this weekend looking for horticultural inspiration and hoping to bump into our home-grown rock star - Marty Morrissey.

Wise words indeed...

"I'm a rock star because I couldn't be a soccer star" - Rod Stewart.

Irish Independent

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