On our last evening in Colorado, we took the shuttle into Aspen. During the drive through town, we saw scores of young people spilling out of bars, their way of relaxing after the huge bike race that went through town earlier that day. We chose a more sedate option, and dined at Campo de Fiori, which I mentioned in a previous post.
Dan, Scott, Dick
The Fredericksen Boys
After dinner, we still had plenty of time before we had to catch the shuttle, so we meandered aimlessly down the cobbled sidewalk. Outside an art gallery, we found the green-overalled, see/hear/speak no evil bronze monkeys seated on a bronze bench. We got as far as persuading the Fredericksen boys to pose behind the monkeys, but they stubbornly just WOULD NOT imitate them. Spoil sports, I say!
After the photo, we continued our meanderings. As we reached this beautiful plaza, we could hear the music of a Rolling Stones song. We were drawn, Pied Piper like, to a nearby park. We found a live band and a singer who looked, sang and Moved Like Jagger, to paraphrase Adam Levine. We thought it was great, but we were even more wowed as the next song began with the slow lyrics of the first verse:
"There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven."
Aah, "Stairway to Heaven", pitch perfect, voice perfect, Led Zeppelin perfect! We later learned that this was Anthem, a tribute band devoted to performing all of the best songs of the 1970s!
Anthem has been described as "the ultimate 1970s tribute band, selecting songs based upon their ground-breaking influence during the period."
As the music segued from slow to fast, the singer screaming like Robert Plant - "And as we wind on down the road/Our shadows taller than our soul" - I looked around me. It was almost dark, but still just light enough to see that we were ringed by Aspen's beautiful dark blue mountains. The air was no longer hot, but still comfortable. Little children were tumbling on the grass, older kids were waving glow sticks and teens were being - well - teens.
The six of us Fredericksens, ranging in age from 59 to 66, had grown up with 70s rock, some of us in our teens, some of us in our 20s. None of these kids had grown up with Led Zeppelin, but there they all were, rocking away and, I think, enjoying it to the max.
Unhappily, the band announced that the next song would be their last. It was one of my most favorite songs from the entire era, Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird". Like the previous song, this one begins slowly:
"f I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now
'Caus there's too many places I've got to see"
I thought, I WILL be leaving here tomorrow, this 8,000 foot high paradise that blogger Brad Pierce describes as "a magical place where everyday life feels like a distant place, like you’re experiencing living in a bubble a million miles away. It’s a place where fantasy is reality, where everything is perfect and life is good."
And Aspen won't remember me. And unlike the Free Bird, it's not new places I'll be going to see. Instead, I will be returning to the mundane world of home and work.
But I was going to enjoy the moment. We three couples - Dan and Julie, Scott and Dana, Dick and Bonny - were each arm-in-arm, gently swaying in unison to the slow beginning of the song. As it picked up tempo, we turned to leave, because we had to catch the shuttle back to Snowmass.
But on the walk back, with the music still playing loudly behind us, I did a little bit of head banging, because I had a spot of wine in me, because "Free Bird" still affects me the way it did 40 years ago, and because I still can.
Good night, Aspen. Good bye Aspen.