I might be too old for concerts. This point was driven home to me a couple weeks ago when Liz Phair (who I hadn’t thought about since about 1996) played the Metro (which I also hadn’t thought about since about 1996). 

One of my friends had to pass on her ticket because her kid was sick (this would not make me feel old except that she had to stay home not because he couldn’t be left with a sitter, but because he’s 16 and couldn’t be left with the pain meds alleviating his sports injury) so I took the spot. 

Outstanding start to the evening: I got a great parking space. Like, so good I was suspicious it was reserved for Liz’s tour bus. The psychological boost of a world-class parking spot cannot be overstated. This was like finding a ten on the sidewalk; just a monster good-mood bump right out of the box. 

I needed the bump, because concerts start much later than they used to. The ticket said 9 p.m., which was tolerable, but when we arrived the sign on the door said Liz would go on at 10:30. 

Why can’t they put the real time on the tickets? I’ve never really understood the opening act idea. When I go to a restaurant and order a sandwich they don’t make me eat a different sandwich that I didn’t order before I can have the one I requested and paid for. 

We got in line to go in with a lot of people that seemed very much older than the Metro crowds of my memory. Liz must be popular with old people nowadays. Maybe she had a song in a Tom Hanks movie or something. 

There were guys at the door patting folks down and checking IDs. I was neither searched nor carded, which is a delightful aspect of aging I had not previously considered. 

Obviously I’m over 21, so scrutinize the photo ID all you want, but not sweating awkward questions about the e-cartridge tucked where a collar stay normally goes was a nice change of pace. 

Prime evening for crowd watching. Most of the folks were older than me (I hope) but they were clearly excited. My favorites were the couples in Wayback Machine mode who had clearly dug out their outfits from concert dates 20 years past. So charming to see Gram and Poppy in vintage grunge. 

Eventually, whoever the opener was finished and Liz came out. I remember Liz as fairly cute, which she still is, but now in less of a rock-girl way and more of a hottest-veteran-teacher-at-New-Trier, Stacy’s Mom kind of way. 

She’s aged with her audience, but well. Warmly approved, including the double-pleasing detail that she was wearing rock-chick stage clothes with orthopedic gym shoes. Time takes its toll on us all, though it rests lighter on Liz than some other rock stars I could name, Steven Tyler.

I considered a beer, since the last time I was at the Metro I couldn’t have gotten one, but by that point I was perfectly content with the concert state of mind my collar stay had provided. 

We were hungry by that point – no surprise – and went off looking for the usual post-show snack, but with that search came one last marker of age: None of the traditional late-night options (tacos, pizza, hot dogs, shawarma) can be consumed past both the hour of midnight and the age of 40 unless you’re chasing bites with swigs of Maalox. 

We got in the car, waving at the children in line for the next show (good god) and leaving them to wonder who those well-dressed people were to warrant such a rock-star parking space.