Thursday, June 12, 2008

Young@Heart: A Review.

I attended the Young@Heart benefit concert a couple of nights ago, after seeing the very funny and touching documentary the night before. On the whole, it was really pretty amazing. What made it special wasn’t just the fact the whole lot of them (all 32 or so) are in their 70s, 80s and 90s and singing their hearts out. In addition, they’re dancing as much as they can and singing rock songs by artists pretty far removed from the stuff they grew up on. Sonic Youth and Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane and Coldplay and the Ramones and James Brown and more. They sing with more enthusiasm and assuredness than some of those who were lucky enough to write and perform them in the first place.

I suppose there is a message in there about the refusal to up and die before you’re dead. There’s some novelty to seeing a chorus of old folks tackle “I Feel Good” and “Somebody to Love,” sure, but it was more than that. It was no karaoke night … it was hands down good, great, amazing. I mean, there are reasons they packed the Capitol Theatre. One crazy groupie lady next to me kept gasping over the fact they brought one key member out on a wheelchair. She kept saying, “Oh! He’s alive! He’s alive!” She was so excited, she was whimpering. I’m not even ruling out her wetting her pants a bit.

One of my favorite parts of the night, though, was running into my great-aunt and uncle … as in my mom’s mother’s older sister June and her husband Dick. I always like to chew the conversational fat with them. They’re both in their upper 80s themselves and there were many jokes tossed around about getting Uncle Dick to audition before the night was over. That’s not my favorite part, though. It happened after the show, when a French woman was trying to convince my Aunt June she had helped book her flight the last time she had toured Europe. She did the same thing later with Uncle Dick, who clearly had no idea what she was talking about, although he played along beautifully. After she finally left them alone, Aunt June was laughing so hard, I do believe I saw tears. They may act young for their respective ages and they may be young at heart, but they’re not in Young@Heart. Not yet, anyway. Priceless.

Go see the documentary before it leaves the Broadway Centre Cinemas downtown. It really will do you a world of good.

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