There are a growing number of musicians, legends if you will, who are either hurtling towards, or are currently on their respective journeys through their ninth decade on this planet and depending on the artist in question, we watch in awe, bemusement or horror as they potentially add to, besmirch or trash their respective legacies with each release or public pronouncement. Regardless of our opinions though, there's no doubt that they are trailblazers of a sort and you can be sure that there are a few artists in their 40s, 50s and 60s looking on and taking notes for future reference.
Last weekend provided two examples of fabled singer/songwriters confronting the aging thing head on, when Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon each played unannounced sets at the Newport Folk Festival, in Joni's case her first live performance of any kind in 20 years. She may be physically diminished after long periods of illness, but as the 78 year-old Mitchell hesitantly felt her way through 'Both Sides, Now', the emotional response was palpable. Similarly, when the 80 year-old Simon, his voice little more than a hoarse whisper, stepped to the microphone and sang '...hello darkness my old friend...' the couplet was clearly open to quite a different interpretation in 2022 than when he wrote 'The Sound of Silence' way back in 1964.
I've watched both of these remarkable performances a number of times over the past couple of days and still struggle to make it all the way through either of them without welling up.