Last summer I attended a free concert here in Boulder. Called “Band on the Bricks,” the event was a gift of the City of Boulder. That evening there was a Beatles cover band. They weren’t fantastic, but they were good. And of course the Beatles’ music was and is great. Cedar and I went along with my younger daughter, Christine, who was visiting from New Hampshire. Not only is she a Beatles fan; she’s a Beatles scholar, with a communications Ph.D. focused on Mod culture to prove it.
Anyway, there were between 500 and 1,000 people on hand, from babes in arms to oldies like me who had been young professionals when the Beatles first became famous in the States. Most people were standing, but we were more than standing. We were singing along and boogying down. Best of all, we had become part of an instant community—of memory for some but of the moment for everyone. People were looking, smiling, and nodding at each other. After, ten of us went to the nearby Corner Café, where we hung out, had a beer, and debriefed. All in all, we had had a high old time—truly an unforgettable evening.
The experience was clearly fun, but it was also more than that. I doubt if a single person there was worried about anything. We seemed to have been in a collective altered state, a natural community high without additives of any kind except for the music. Sharing the songs we knew and had loved for many years had created a positive spiral of joy that lifted us all beyond our everyday concerns and set us down again refreshed. Perhaps in our United States of rugged individualism, having a shared experience of any kind becomes a building block for a happy life. I don’t know, of course, but it sure seemed that way.