They say you can never go back in time — but last week I discovered I could buy a pretty good piece of the old times for about $40.

A friend and I were visiting a nearby town when I ran across the listing for a band playing in a small club around the corner.

Well, just not any band — one that I’d paid good money to see perform in one of those “epic arena shows” while I was a college student.

In contrast, next weekend my friend’s son graduates from college. In my house, we’ve one out of college and another wrapping up her first year. My friend and I are age-qualified for AARP, losing the battle against gray hair, and freely share the contents of a bottle of ibuprofen like we might’ve once split a six-pack of beer. We are, quite simply, getting older.

What, I wondered, could be these guys’ secrets to still touring?

With a quick payment via a smartphone, we soon found ourselves standing in the general admission line outside a small building on the south side of town.

As the doors opened, however, the screams and pushing from the concerts I remembered were noticeably absent.

As a matter of fact, several of us offered polite apologies as we bumped into each other or routinely held doors for the person behind us. This was, to say the least, not the crowd of my youth.

As always, a newly minted band did a quick performance to warm up the crowd.

Looking at the lead singer dance around the stage, the thought crossed my mind that when she found out who she was opening for she probably had to text her parents to find out who they were.

Finally the main attraction hits the stage — at a bit after 8 p.m. Apparently even aging rock stars need to get to bed earlier these days.

With my fingers dancing across my phone, I discover one of the lead singers is 67 years young.

The drummer, the one with salt and pepper hair, is his son. I wondered if taking off my glasses might be the best way to see the past more clearly.

Scrolling through the music downloaded on my phone, the album art comes up from the band’s best-selling album.

The faces on the cover are unrecognizable — but in all fairness, so am I.

Rock shows from the bands of my youth have always been about the art of illusion. Big stages, towering speakers and rolling walls of fog.

The music, well, that was many times secondary.

Looking around the space the size of a modest convenience store, I turned away from the stage. Lights flashed behind me, illuminating the faces of those around me while the music vibrated against my back.

For a moment, regardless of age, we were all time travelers.

Outside the dark building most of us had mortgages, standing prescription orders at the local drugstore and retirement accounts.

But inside — through the fog of both theater and memories — we were all young again.

Truth be told, those musicians put on a really great show.

They say you can never relive your past … but it is amazing what $40 can do.

Leonard Woolsey is the publisher of The Galveston County Daily News. You can reach him at

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