Concert Quest

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So I had a story idea several years, jotted down the first couple of paragraphs of the opening scene and then, as so often happens, left it in an idea file and haven’t really looked at again. Although, it’s one of the things I’m certain is in there. Lots of things in the idea file I don’t remember at all.

The idea was basically that at some point in the near future, the person with the only legal civilian Time Machine mostly uses it to go to rock concerts he wishes he had been able to at the time, some of them before he was born.

I always thought this was in the idea but wasn’t sure where I wanted to take it. I’m still not. Time travel has, at times (ha, ha) been seriously overdone in science fiction, both short and long, and while it’s not necessarily easy to come up with an original idea in any subgenre, it’s incredibly difficult with time travel. I think I’ve managed one the past. Whether this is another or not, it’s a cute gimmick to start story with, but not a story in and of itself.

But, a few months back in an oddball conversation at work the idea of time travel came up and, surprise, surprise, we had to talk about what we would do with a time machine.

I threw my idea out there as a possibility. After all, you have to have some leisure time, and why not spend it on something you truly love.

Thinking, and I may have had this thought on paper before, that there are actually probably quite a few concerts that I would have loved to have seen. A lot of them happened before I would’ve been realistically be able to go to concerts. Some were before I was born.

Examples of that last one: the Elvis ‘68 Comeback tour, an early Beatles tour probably paired with one in the Sgt. Pepper era, a stop on the Undercover Tour with the Rolling Stone.

But why stop there?

Let’s go see some of the bands and artists whose music I’ve loved and see them at their peak. Led Zeppelin, the Doors, BTO, and plenty of other 70s bands were influential in my early tastes. I could make a decent list just based on that.

But it’s nothing like the list I could make for 80s bands and artists. And while a few of them are back touring, or still touring, what would it have been like to see them when their popularity was high and they were making the greatest music? Duran Duran, The Police, The Bangles, The Go-Gos, Van Halen, Poison, Yes.

And let’s not forget Rush. There’s a pretty good chance I’d want to go see Rush on every tour they ever did, but I’d start with Signals, the tour for the album that got me hooked.

Time Travel is, currently, at least, impossible. I’ll never get to see any of those concerts firsthand and that’s just how it is.

But the thought occurred to me that video footage exists of many of those concerts, and, if not necessarily complete, it’s out there if I’m willing to look. If enough of it is in high enough resolution that I could just watch it on a big enough screen, that will be as close as I can get to a lot of them. Not true concert experience, maybe still awesome in its own right.

I don’t know how long that idea has been in the back of my head, but a week or so ago during lunch, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a post that purported to direct me to a side-by-side comparison of the actor’s performance in the recent biopic Bohemian Rhapsody with the original performance by Freddie Mercury and Queen at Live Aid in 1985.

Now that would have been a concert.

I skipped the link and instead went to YouTube to see if that original Live Aid footage was available on its own.

It was.

And it was spectacular.

Even on my little 21-inch monitor at work.

What would it look like on a full-size TV? 40 or 50 or 60 inches of screen?

The Concert Quest may have just been born.

I think I’m going to see if I can come up with a list of those concerts I would use that time machine to go see. I probably can’t go back much farther than the 68 comeback tour for Elvis, the early 60s Beatles and Rolling Stones might be hard, but it’s out there. For a long time, there was a huge market on VHS and probably DVD for concerts, so I’m betting that a lot of is online now.

Rush on the 1982 Signals tour.

How much of Live Aid is available?

Duran Duran in, say, 1987 or 88.

The Police on the Synchronicity tour just before the breakup.

I have a list to make.

Be well, everyone.

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