So I’m a fan of heavy metal music, mostly music from the 70’s and 80’s. Heavy metal just gets me revved up and is my go to music for working out! I’m not a complete metal head where I can tell you the name of the song, the album the song appears on, the year the album came out, and the names of all the original band members, blah blah blah. I just like it.
Three years ago in 2019, 3 of us, who usually go to metal concerts together, purchased tickets to the Judas Priest concert for the Spring of 2020. Saxon was to be the opening act. Most people would probably not recognize the band and honestly, I probably wouldn’t either, but I was ready to see Judas Priest again.
Well we all know what happened in Spring of 2020, the world virtually stopped. So the ageing Priest was rescheduled to Spring 2021. By Spring of 2021, as we all know, vaccinations were starting. Spring 2021, some members of Judas Priest get COVID and have to reschedule again. At this point I have all but given up on going to this concert. But Fall 2021, the band is finally on the road and touring in the US and headed to Texas in October. September 2021, Judas Priest is playing in Kentucky when the lead guitarist, an amazing 42 year old guitar player that grew up dreaming of playing with Judas Priest and is fulfilling his dream, collapses on stage. You would think it was an overdose situation, but no, his aorta ruptured and blood was leaking into his chest cavity! Luck would have it, people acted quickly, and he was taken to a heart and lung specialty hospital only 4 miles away. Ten hours of open heart surgery and a few months to rest, and he is back on tour. Unbelievable.
So jump forward to Spring 2022, Omicron is chilled out, and the band has picked up where they left off. Now the opening band is not available, so Queensryche decides to open. What? Decisions decisions, am I that much of a metal fan to risk COVID with thousands of other people?
Yes, I am and we went. The lead singer of Judas Priest is 70 and the bass player is 73 for fuck sake, surely I can risk it and enjoy myself. In my pockets was a credit card, a face mask, lip gloss (that no one may see depending on the face mask choice) and ear plugs. Once we were at the venue, I note that not a single human had on a face mask. I succumb to social pressure and remove my mask. But I’ll be damned if I’m not going to use my ear plugs. As I’m looking around for face masks, I notice everyone, well almost everyone, is wearing ear plugs.
Even better the guitar player who survived the ruptured aorta, Richie Faulkner, was wearing a Fitbit. He had it on behind his old analog watch. Hmm, maybe a nod to grandpa. The Fitbit gave me some comfort in that if his heart rate jumped up considerably it would possibly send a warning or maybe a fall signal to his iPhone which would ping the EMTs for rescue. This is a great way to get help without wearing a Life Alert. Good news there was no emergency incident. Bad news would have been that the venue is not close to a heart hospital. Dallas is really big, and an incident like that would require a helicopter just to get across town.
Three years of a lock down and the ultimate decision comes down to ear plugs or a face mask. We live in a crazy world.