Just An Observation: Hey, can you share those pink ear plugs?

Musical tastes are personal, so take this column for what its worth

If anyone knows someone named Jason, can you find out if there are any spare earplugs around?

The reason — I was recently reminded why I don’t care much for being at certain concerts, even outdoors.

As someone who grew up in an era of rock and roll music followed closely by the rave of pop music, I was never really a big fan of standing in some enclosed area in order to subject my ear drums to the pounding of sound.

To be honest, I didn’t even own a big, car rattling stereo system — unlike most people I knew as a teenager.

In all fairness, part of the issue is that I lost partial hearing in one ear due to an illness when I was younger, while the other part is that I didn’t care much for large crowds in a confined space and having to stand on something to be high enough to see over people. I also wasn’t a fan of having to creak my neck upwards if I happened to be too close.

None of this is to say I wouldn’t go to a concert, I’m just rather picky about what I would go and listen to.

Back in the day, most of my friends as well as teammates on the various sports teams I was on, were into the usual popular 80s music — and yes, they call that “classic hits” now — while some enjoyed the big bass and loud crazy sound of metal (a.k.a. headbanger) music.

I was more into what would be considered the “lighter” side of 80s sound such as the likes of Bryan Adams, Corey Hart, Robert Plant, Survivor, ZZ Top, Africa, Journey, Chicago, Hall & Oates, Men at Work, Starship, Lionel Ritchie, Dire Straits and Billy Joel.

There were a few one-hit-wonders that I liked as well, but mostly because they spoke to a side of myself I didn’t show very often and when it came out, it shocked people. Probably why I still enjoy hearing Twisted Sister every so often.

Okay, back on track (lol).

It likely didn’t help my potential of seeing concerts that I lived nearly two hours from the nearest place where I could see one. Plus, the fact that the price point for these events was far above anything I could afford — either then or now for that matter — was also a huge factor.

That said, over the past 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph a few concerts — some country, some rock, some other genres.

For most of them, I could have used the earplugs due to the severe sounds — not just that it was loud, but because the music could be considered noise — along with it being music I just didn’t care for.

There have been a select few I have been at that I didn’t mind some of the songs, Big Sugar a couple of years ago stands out, but those ones weren’t among my favourites.

However, there is one that I really enjoyed being at as part of my job — Kim Mitchell.

Usually when shooting a concert, I’d catch some shots of the first song or two from various spots and then head out. Not for this one.

It was about 10 years ago now, held in a smaller theatre setting near Edmonton, and it marked the first time I had the chance to see someone play music I grew up on. I hadn’t planned on staying for the entire concert, but I enjoyed it so much I even waited about 30 minutes afterward to meet him.

Sure, I got my few minutes of interview time under the guise of being a reporter, but this wasn’t like any of the other interviews with big name artists I had done previously. This was more about being able to find out more about why his songs touched me as much as it was why he was there and the reason behind his writing and singing style.

This was also one of the few music star interviews I’ve done where I felt that the artist was more of an everyday person, not someone who had let their talent and stardom take over.

So, if you spot me bailing out of a concert early, it’s because I forgot my earplugs.

But that is…just an observation.

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