Although we may not realize it, every decade brings with it the end of another era of musicians. For instance, when I was in college, during the 1980s, many of the 1940s-50s jazz musicians of the bebop era were still around. I could speak with Max Roach after concerts, take lessons from Billy Taylor, and perform with Charlie Persip and many lesser-known players from that era.
Now, that era is gone and I would do anything to be able to ask a few well-chosen questions of Dizzy Gillespie, for example.
A few decades later, history is repeating itself with the classic rockers. And while it may not be possible to call Sir Elton John on the phone and ask him for piano lessons, we can go hear him in concert. And progressive rock keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman. And The Who (with symphony orchestra!).
In a few short years, this will never again be possible. Ever.
Yes, Elton John, Rick Wakeman, and The Who are all currently on tour, and I’m sure there are many other classic rock and pop musicians gigging around the world, perhaps for the last time. People we grew up idolizing. People who profoundly influenced our piano playing.
While it’s true we can’t ask Elton John any question we like, the singer Lana del Rey can, and did, exactly that at Elton’s home. You can read their conversation here:
If you’re a Rick Wakeman fan, here’s a bit about his current tour:
And just when you think a group like The Who would want to rest on their laurels and take it easy, they go on a tour with full symphony orchestra, performing their rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia:
Elton John, Rock Wakeman, and The Who. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg. This is our last chance to have real, in-person contact with the great generation of classic rockers, even if it’s from the 1,000th row. I’m sure there are many lesser-known musicians from that generation playing inexpensive clubs right now too, all over the world. Perhaps in your own neighborhood.
Go check them out. In 20 years from now, you’ll be glad you did!
Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”