It might have been the counter-culture once but now it's a grannies-to- babies demographic that's wider than the one that saw Titanic. And when the well-mannered fans of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison get together, there's no rush to the life-boats.
Afew waited in orderly lines outside GM Place for the doors to open half hour before last night's show but most flowed in afterwards.
The near-by parking lots slowly filled with German iron and high-end four-by -fours, discharging greying parents and their shock-haired teens. Strolling the GM Place concourse inside were everyone from laidback, Birkenstock professorial types to hotwired, hyper-blonde Pamela Anderson lookalikes. And who'd be churlish enough to complain about the occasional scent of sourpungent smoke expelled from middle-class lungs? Not this crowd. As rock has aged, it has developed manners. They made their way to assigned seats, sat down and waited patiently.
Ditto the artists - Van Morrison took the stage right on time, launching into Burning Ground. There was an appreciative howl at his first appearance and another at the end of each song. The fans in front clapped for the first few bars of the up-tempo numbers but politely kept to their
seats. This was not a night for helicopter dancing. Darren Brown and Corry Matechuk could have been hippies if they were born a quarter century ago. With army fatigues and loose-fitting kangaroo jacket for him, peasant dress for her, wild red hair and piercings for both, they had that look down.
The couple came from Victoria for the concert, with Dylan the chief draw. Brown, a 27-year-old unemployed mechanic, said he'd been a fan for five years. "I needed a change from what I'd been listening to and Bob had something to say," Brown said. It was something Bob had said more than 30 years ago.
"His first four albums were great - the accoustic Bob." For Matechuk, a 26-year-old make-up artist, it went further back. "I got it from my Mom I've been listening to Bob and Van since I was a baby." The orderly GM Place crowd was a change for them both, they said. "It's my first concert of this kind - with an older crowd," said Brown, far from the more familiar clubs and halls. "I've been listening to a lot of punk rock."
Added Matechuk: "It's sort of a change of life period."