My wife said I needed to get out of the house. She was worried I don't see my friends enough anymore. So she bought me a plane ticket and sent me away to see the Replacements.

This is a good woman.

So I flew to Denver with three buddies, went to a giant music festival, discovered a new band, saw some bands I really like, saw a band I REALLY like that I've been waiting to see for more than two decades, nearly got into a brawl with a drunk who couldn't stop shoving, made too much noise in a hotel room, laughed into the morning hours, was evacuated from the festival's second day because of a freak electrical storm, got stuck outside our car without keys in said crazy storm, had to duck between cars because of repeated lightning strikes, wrote a ridiculously offensive song that obviously will become a smash hit, made a new friend, perhaps started a new band with an old friend I found at the airport and got in a nap during the flight home, despite being wedged between two strangers who had lockdown claims on the armrests.

Dave Minehan performs with the Replacements at Riot Fest in Denver on Saturday.
Dave Minehan performs with the Replacements at Riot Fest in Denver on Saturday. (Denver Post)

That's a good weekend right there.

Off to Denver

The particulars really don't matter, though for context: I went to Riot Fest last weekend, held in a giant field about 40 minutes outside Denver. Only a reunion of the Replacements, after a 22-year hiatus, could get me on a plane headed toward a giant, dusty music festival with tens of thousands of people eating and drinking overpriced everything.

They were brilliant, and it was worth it.

I missed the last chance I had to see the now-influential 1980s post-punk band in 1990 or '91, when I lived in L.A. and they played at, I think, the Whiskey in Hollywood. That's right -- a band that just headlined a giant festival that stopped in Toronto, Chicago, then Denver, was playing small venues just past its height of popularity. Part of the charm of being a fan of a band that was so good, but so self-destructive, was that we could pretty much keep them to ourselves. Obviously, the legend has grown.

My last music festival was at least a half-decade ago, when I was still a music critic (we like to say "critic" because it means we know more about music than you) and was getting paid to do such things. Since then, I've decided I don't really care for crowds. I don't like staying in one place too long around people who act in unpredictably stupid ways (wait -- I may have just described parenthood). I like getting to bed at a decent hour. I really do like hanging out with my family.

Whoa -- after reading that, I guess I've decided I really don't want to be a rock star anymore.

And that is fine. But it's also wrong -- dead wrong. Because when you decide you can't be a rock star once in a while -- or at least hang out with people who are -- you might as well find the retirement community with the best cable package.

Mind over matter

It's not age as much as it is -- OK, it's partially age. But not age in and of itself. Life changes with age, therefore you have kids, you have a job, you bruise more easily. You just don't have the time to go out and act stupid anymore. Plus, it hurts a lot more the next morning.

But, strangely, I didn't hurt as much as I thought I would after last weekend. My wife was right. I needed it -- not as much for the sheer idiocy of the need to get out of the house as for the need to reconnect with two of my closest and oldest friends. I even made a new friend (a friend of a friend who came with us).

This is progress. Part of my semi-isolation, I admit, is fear. I'm afraid of making new friends, and I'm really afraid I won't have anything in common with my old friends. I imagine I'm not the only 40-something person feeling this. Thankfully, last weekend gave both theories the beatings they deserve.

Now I just have to see about getting my new band on next year's Riot Fest bill.

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareagews group.com, Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.