How far is too far to travel for a con­cert?

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - INSIDE - Con­tact Shawn Ryan at mshawn­ryan@timesfreepress.com.

How far would you go to see a con­cert?

An hour? Two? A plane flight? No more than a mile? Your cul-de-sac?

I know a Bruce Spring­steen fa­natic who’s seen the Boss more than 100 times, fly­ing to France and Aus­tralia and places in be­tween. I asked my friend where the heck he got the money to pay for those trips and con­cert tick­ets. He hemmed and hawed and said he’d tell me later. Never has.

I would never see any­one 100 times, and there are bands I like so much I would kneel and kiss the hems of their gar­ments. But four con­certs has been my limit, and there are only three bands that I’ve seen that many times: Queen, UFO and Blue Rodeo.

I bring this up be­cause there are two bands this week that, if they were in Chattanooga, I’d go see in a heart­beat — Reck­less Kelly and Turn­pike Troubadours. But Reck­less Kelly plays At­lanta, and Turn­pike Troubadours are in Birmingham. The Troubadours have played Chattanooga in the past, in­clud­ing River­bend 2013, but I hadn’t dis­cov­ered them at that time. I can’t re­mem­ber Reck­less Kelly ever play­ing here in the nine years that I’ve lived in Chattanooga.

So the ques­tion is: Both cities are two hours down, two hours back. Do I want to de­vote that much time for 90-minute shows? Even I can do the math show­ing that 90 min­utes is less than four hours.

But a great con­cert can make the drive well worth the time. The drive will fade quickly in the me­mory; the con­cert won’t. And there’s a l ways t he chance that the shows will j ust be OK in­stead of out­stand­ing. First-world prob­lem, right? I’m not de­crepit and bro­ken down phys­i­cally — or at least not much. Driv­ing down and back wouldn’t turn me into a use­less blob of pro­to­plasm.

Truth is, though, two hours down and back is the ex­tent of my con­cert-driv­ing treks even when I was in my teens and 20s. I made those jour­neys on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions.

But grow­ing up in At­lanta and spend­ing most of my adult life in Birmingham made things easy since I didn’t usu­ally have to travel to see a con­cert. Pretty much ev­ery­one comes to one of those cities even­tu­ally, es­pe­cially At­lanta

Chattanooga doesn’t get nearly as many shows but is nicely lo­cated when it comes to con­certs. At­lanta, Birmingham and Nashville are two hours one way and, if you can’t find a con­cert by a band you like in one of those cities, ei­ther the band has bro­ken up or you aren’t look­ing hard enough. But again, it comes down to the ra­tio of 4 hours vs. 90 min­utes. Of good vs. meh.

Yeah, I know. Do I serve cheese with my whine?

Shawn Ryan

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