I have been to the Moore exactly three times. I saw my first show at the Moore: Green Day/Bad Religion, October, 1993. This is the first time I’ve ever sat in the lower section, however. My sister and I made our way to the lower level, near the back, since I was a little slow buying tickets. She has a marginally unhealthy obsession with Henry and promised to jump up and grab his junk if we were close enough. Luckily, we were 26 rows back.
The crowd at the show was 70% dudes. Most of them had stupid facial hair or had a moderate weight problem. That doesn’t necessarily make them bad people, it just makes them visibly stuck in the mid-90s.
Henry Rollins is 47 years old. If you forget, he’ll remind you during his set. His hair is mostly grey, but he’s still just as fast-paced and animated as always. Actually, he reminds me of our local travel hero Rick Steves a little bit. The main topic of the evening seemed to be travel stories. More specifically, how it is imperative for the future of humankind that we travel and meet foreign people and make friends.
Henry told a short story about going to Iran. A short story for Henry is about 20 minutes, of course. It’s interesting that the Rick Steves presentation I saw a while back was also on going to Iran. The common theme of the two presentations is that if we all go to Iran and meet with Iranians, world peace will be easy because we’ll all be less afraid of each other since we will be more educated.
Henry’s style is similar to my comedic preferences, full of hyperbole and self-deprecation. He’s often a stereotypical male, and it frightens me a bit that I see a few of my traits displayed in his personality. I always wonder if I’ll end up making the choice to ignore all the relationships I’ve created and travel the world and work constantly to avoid the loneliness of a solitary, but independent life. I don’t envy Mr. Rollins. I’d like some of his life to be mine, but I need the balance of a healthy relationship and an independent lifestyle as well.
Anyways, Mr. Rollins is much better live than he is on DVD, just like the best punk bands. In fact, I’d forgotten about the punk philosophy that guides his act. The idea that a large group of small actions will combine together to form meaningful change. The idea that, though we have a new president, we still have a lot of work to do to make the changes we want to see. It’s somewhat heartening to be reminded of this political stance. It reminds me why I got into teaching actually.
Rollins also believes that music will be part of the solution to all our problems. That George Clinton will bring world peace. That the Ramones will bring us all together in mutual understanding. It’s a great theory and I hope it is true. The converse is clearly true: bad music will continue to make everyone hate us. I just watched the Jonas Brothers play, and I wanted to punch myself.
It was really a great couple of hours listening to him talk. When the DVD of this tour comes out, pick it up. Watch it and think about what you can do to help make the world a better place. Then do it. See you out there.