The End of Rock and Roll?

PHOTO BY TIM VAN SCHMIDT: The last concert, Dweezil Zappa in February, at Washington's

Tim Van Schmidt

I finally received the message — The Who’s “Moving On” tour has finally been canceled. This brings to an end a saga that started last year. After The Rolling Stones postponed their 2019 date in Denver because Mick Jagger needed heart surgery, I decided I had better go see another one of my favorite classic rock bands, The Who, when they came to Denver — before they f-f-f-aded away. But I was already too late.

That September 2019 date for The Who was one of a handful of dates on the tour that were postponed because vocalist Roger Daltrey was temporarily sick. The new date was scheduled for May 2, 2020. That didn’t work out very well either.

The signs have been everywhere that the old guard of rock and roll was going down — both Elton John and Madonna canceled dates on world tours, losing their voices and suffering from exhaustion. Others had already retired from the road — including Joan Baez and Paul Simon.

But it wasn’t age that finally did it — stopped rock and roll in its tracks — it was the world pandemic.

I went to my first rock concert in 1970 in Phoenix — so I am coming up on 50 years as a live music fan. The last concert I saw was a good one — Dweezil Zappa playing “Hot Rats” at Washington’s. That was on February 22. Soon after, everything was shut down.

I know that entertainment venues are hurting and itching to get back to business. But even when they open, going to a concert just isn’t going to be the same. I’m not sure I would feel suddenly comfortable getting into a crowd — even for live music — without a mask or social distancing. I’m not sure rocking out with a mask on is much fun either.

So maybe this is the end of rock and roll, at least the old way to rock with a scorching band on stage and a sweaty crowd pumping along to the beat. Maybe the big days with big concerts with big bands are over. Maybe The Who is done, The Stones will stop rolling and maybe even Springsteen won’t be able to overcome this major shift in culture.

But hope and help comes from unusual places in unusual times. That’s why I smiled when I saw that in Fort Collins, The Holiday Twin Drive-In has stepped up to fill in the gap with a new concept — drive-in concerts. That’s right, The Holiday Twin is becoming a concert venue with two upcoming events. Electronic artist Marc Rebillet will be bringing in his “Drive-in Concert Tour” on June 22 and The Beanstalk Music Festival, featuring The Magic Beans, Kitchen Dwellers, Cycles and The Great Salmon Famine, will be on June 26 — 27.

Will rock and roll die? Naw — it’s just going to change. Maybe The Who will become The Was, but where there are creative musicians there will be new ideas. And besides, we can’t really live without live music, can we?

This just in:

The Fort Collins Musicians Association has announced a regular “FoCoMX Drive & Jive” concert series set for summer dates at The Holiday Twin Drive-in, including The Del Shamen (featuring Jock Bartley of Firefall, Nick Forster of Hot Rize & John Magnie and Steve Amedee of the Subdudes) and Cary Morin & Ghost Dog (Americana / Blues), on June 30.

Tim Van Schmidt is a writer and photographer based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Hear his full interviews with international musicians on Youtube: “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt.”


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