The white-bearded rocker onstage at the Fillmore has lost no ferocity, no longing, and only gained in skill. He is a little stiff when he jumps on the big licks, but – what a relief! – he manages it. A white-bearded man in the crowd near us is not so lucky – he topples during a song, and can’t get up. His friends circle him caringly, crouching to assist him, talking quietly to assure him and themselves that his heart is not going to stop or burst yet. The rest of us stand tautly around, tense, alert, like herd animals when a predator is near.
Earlier, as one song built to a prolonged crescendo of dark and impossible desire, there came to me two impossible moments now deep in the past. Two bodies covered with a film of red sand in a rug-lined Berber tent in the Moroccan desert, a blind world of blowing sand outside the billowing walls. Two bodies on a straw pallet in a guerrilla encampment in the tropics, a tin roof thundering with rain.
Only dullness was ever foreseen for me by my class, my country, my time: sated physical needs, procreation, a responsible job. Dull privileges forever beyond the reach of most of the people i encountered out there in the deserts, the rainforests, or the busy slums between them. (Except procreation, which just about anyone can manage.) I did not escape the dullness entirely; almost no one does, but there were moments, and in the background somewhere when i think of them now will be the sound of an electric guitar reaching flawlessly for a climax with all the age-old impossible desire of youth in the world.