Rock on, and pass the Tylenol

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Now that two of my daughters are away at college and the one still at home basically views me as an ATM in an unfashionable neighborhood, I’ve tried to find myself a hobby. Since I’m not interested in activities that involve getting out of bed before noon on a Saturday, that pretty much rules out most manly-type-outdoorsy stuff that would require me to sweat profusely in a tent, clean an animal carcass or have one of my friends pluck a tick from a region of my anatomy that I can’t reach.

Instead, with the money we have left after paying for college tuition, semi-grown-daughter car insurance and an occasional can of bean dip, my wife and I have been attending concerts. Something about the exciting atmosphere of several thousand fans enjoying music together and anticipating their next restroom break makes me feel alive. It also allows me to temporarily forget about the pain in my lower back from sneezing too hard the day before.

Below are a few brief reviews of concerts we’ve attended over the last few months:

First, we’ve seen alternative singer-songwriter Ben Rector in concert twice recently – once in Austin, Texas, where we waded through throngs of hormonal college students on notorious Sixth Street to visit the famous Amy’s Ice Creams after the show. Ben Rector is currently my favorite artist – by a mile. He seems like a genuinely good guy, and his songs include themes like lost youth, how quickly time passes, how hard adulting can be, and how lucky guys like us are to have our wives. Watching him also makes me wish I hadn’t quit piano lessons. Yes, Mom, you were right about that – and pretty much everything else.

Next, we traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana, to see what could be called “The Remnants Tour” with surviving members of southern rock bands ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even though both bands have been around for years, they can still tear it up on stage. It’s also refreshing to see musicians who are older than me and still manage to stand upright–though they made me feel a little self-conscious about my lack of facial hair.

Speaking of musicians who make me feel young, sort of, in early Spring, we traveled to Houston, Texas, to see legendary rockers The Eagles with my big brother and his wife. After listening to my brother speak in elaborate tongues as he navigated the Houston traffic, we saw the band perform all of their greatest hits, and Joe Walsh killed it on several guitar solos, making the same faces of pleasure and pain I make when I’ve had too much Taco Bell.

Most recently, we attended the iHeartCountry Festival in Austin. Granted, I’m about as country as one of the Three Amigos, but I do enjoy some rock’n country music. (I even wore boots.) One of my favorite performers at the festival was Jelly Roll, who–along with belting out some great hard-luck ballads – seemed thrilled and thankful to be there. The other was Keith Urban, who sang his upbeat hits, shredded on the guitar, and owned the crowd. Unfairly, Urban is roughly my age, but he looks like a twenty-something heartthrob, and I look like Dorothy from “The Golden Girls.”

Attending concerts has been great fun for my wife and me in our “almost empty nest and bank account” years, and we don’t plan to slow down. Upcoming concerts include Def Leppard with Journey and Steve Miller, Niall Horan and Kacey Musgraves. They all should be a blast–as long as I remember the Tylenol and sit close to the restroom.

Copyright 2024 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected].

Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. He is also a frequent contributor to The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop, which named him Writer of the Month for June of 2017, and he has served as a judge in the Erma Bombeck/Anna Lefler Humorist in Residence program.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists says, "Whether he's breaking down the common types of yard sale denizens ('The Lingerer . . .she was here so long, I'll probably be able to claim her on my next tax return') or sharing cautionary tales of mattress shopping, Jason flays suburban life with a sharp wit. Shopping for his daughter's swimsuits, he wonders if he has 'strayed into the first aid section and . . .was looking at a new line of colorful ACE bandages.'"

Other than writing, his hobbies include berating the television when the Texas A&M Aggie football team is playing and sleeping as late as possible.