Music. It mattered. It was always there. On turntables, on radios. In cars, on cassettes. In concert venues, when it wasn’t in our living room. We discussed it, argued about it, we didn’t know what to make of people who didn’t like the music we adored.
The first rock show I’ve ever seen was Jesus Christ Superstar. I was fourteen and I went along with my twelve-year old sister. My mom and dad allowed us to go, under one condition. I remember my father driving us to the Forum and waiting for us in a restaurant nearby until the show was finished. My parents didn’t mind that we liked a kind of music they weren’t fond of. My siblings and I loved their music so that gave us some credibility. My sister and I sat there, in awe. We came out of the Forum enchanted.
A little less than a year later, I was with my own friends when I went to the Forum to see The Moody Blues. Not long after, The Who came to Montreal. It went this way for years. Shows every month, festivals in the summer, and many venues in Montreal where you could experience all kinds of music.
I spent my teen years surrounded by people who were deadly serious about music, records, and sound systems. A record was sacred. It was an object central to the quality of our lives. We analyzed the sleeve as much as the lyrics of each song. A great record deserved a great sound system. The combination of both was placed well in view, like an altar. All that fuss around records made you look at music with an awful lot of respect. The ‘70s were an era of “concept albums,” the antechrist of the shuffle mode. These records had to be listened to from A to Z in one mouthful. Such rituals sharpened my love for music even more.
The sound of a favourite song, old or new, still makes me indecently happy. Music makes me sing, dance, reminisce, cry, laugh out loud, bang my head, and play air guitar. I can’t describe what those magnificent sequences of notes do to this body of mine. If there were no music in the afterlife, I’d keep a white-knuckle-hang on this existence.
I never understood how people could live without it. Could you?