I thought my husband Randy was crazy for getting tickets to this concert. It was Monday night. The venue was small. I’d rather be home watching Netflix. But there we sat in the third row, surrounded by other mid-lifers, raring to relive the glory days.
And then Edgar Winter came out. His band started, “Keep Playin’ that Rock & Roll.” Within minutes I realized this rock legend had some things to teach me…
You’re never too old to wear leather—While most guys in their late 60’s are in polo shirts and khakis, Edgar came out in shiny black pants and a hand-tooled jacket. Of course, he’s a rock star and different rules apply. Still, it was nice seeing a guy pushing 70 snubbing country club casual.
Lesson: If you want to get a little funky when you’re older, damn the torpedoes. Just do it.
The more you practice, the better you get – Wow, this guy can rock. And although Edgar Winter never reached the stratosphere of the Stones or Beatles, he and his late brother Johnny did pretty well for two Texas boys. Edgar showed what dedicating your life to something does. It makes you a master.
Lesson: Don’t ever give up on your dream. Stay true. Do it because you love it. Trust me, you’ll get really good.
Age is a number – Because he’s albino, Edgar’s always had white hair, but now he also has a snowy beard. I’m sure he gets creaky like the rest of us. But watching him, I learned youth is something that comes from within. Youth is spirit. Edgar jumped. He shimmied. He fell to his knees. He moved on stage like a young person. He may not be 25, but still has joy and exuberance. The audience felt that and responded.
Lesson: There’s no expiration date on being cool.
You’ve earned your right to be tough taskmaster – I’m no musician but even I could see he has high standards for his guitarist, drummer, and bassist. He’s earned his place as legend, teacher and mentor. After the opener the show went from standards like “Free Ride” to an eye-popping free-form duel with his guitarist on “Tobacco Road.” Along the way Edgar oversaw grueling solos from drummer and bassist. I wouldn’t want to make a mistake. They didn’t.
Lesson: You have much to teach as you get older. You’ve earned your stripes.
Art is a gift – I believe we’re all artists. We all have something inside dying to come out. Some have always known this. Others are still seeking. For Edgar Winter, his art is a constant companion that stayed his whole life. And in return he’s given his soul to his muse. I sat there thinking what a great blessing to have something you can always turn to for comfort. What if everyone allowed the artists in themselves to emerge?
Lesson: We’re all given a creative gift. Nurture yours.
Inspiration is fun – Many of his songs I remembered from being wasted enjoying parties at college. To be honest, I was surprised how much I loved this show. After, I was jazzed to go out and do something! And maybe that’s the job of any artist –to make us think, to feel, to breathe life into our souls. It doesn’t matter if it’s painting or planting a beautiful garden, or baking a loaf of focaccia bread. What matters is how it invigorates you.
Lesson: We need inspiration for fuel and energy.
It’s all about passion, baby – Edgar played sax, keyboards, and drums. He also has an incredible voice. He and his band gave their all to that little Monday night concert. In the end, they were sweaty and spent. And although fame and fortune are great, I doubt it’s the reason they do it. They couldn’t stop if they tried.
Lesson: Passion is what gives life purpose. It points us where we need to go.
After the concert, I found out Edgar and his band are off to Europe. Such is the life of a rock star. I wanted to thank him for pumping me up to go on with writing, with seeking, with life.
Strange, it started as an ordinary night. And yet it became so much more. It was a rallying cry.
Or as Edgar Winter put it at 68, raising his fist to the sky… to rock on.
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