I’ve become the bloke who listens to Heart’s Alone just to get me in the mood for gigging. And I just can’t get Roger Daltry’s Waiting For A Friend out of my head.
Welcome to the decidedly depressing new world of concert-going sans mates.
I’ve done it once or twice before. Turned up at a show on my tod only to rush off a few texts and discover old acquaintances dotted across the venue.
It used to be strangely exciting wondering who would emerge as my gig buddy in the dark recesses of a rowdy rock club. But only because I always knew someone would be there to rescue me from no-mates hell.
That all changed last month when I arrived at a gig without a pal and failed miserably to find one all night.
It all started when Plus One turned me down – imagine Alice Cooper circa 1978 refusing a drink and you’ll understand the magnitude of that snub.
Dave Merch claimed he was in Manchester. Voodoo was playing hoops. And Self Made Man would have laughed me out of town had I invited him to this particular event.
But I headed on over confident enough that someone would respond to my heartfelt plea for companionship and perhaps, even, buy me a beer.
No such luck. For starters I was twice the age of most of my fellow giggers. And I don’t have many mates under the age of 14…
I was wearing a white hoodie and flared jeans. Ninety-nine per cent of the people in there were wearing tight black clothing from head to toe and sporting more piercings than Def Leppard has sold records.
None of my text best friends msgd me all nite. And after 20 minutes I started to get some pretty weird looks from security staff and the pockets of parents stood at the back in ‘discreet babysitter’ mode.
Why on earth they were interested in a bloke with a beard on his own at a gig billed as ‘over-14s only’ is anyone’s guess.
I started humming Terrorvision’s Pretend Best Friend as I ambled towards the bar to give the false impression I was mates with the lad serving energy drinks to the kids and pints to their parents. Then there was the mood of defiance when Accept’s Glad To Be Alone suddenly resonated with me after all these years (and I never thought that would happen).
But let’s face it. I was only putting on a brave face. For myself or to myself, I couldn’t decide. I started revelling in the cheap rounds and the fact there was nobody shouting in my ear while I hummed along to my favourite choruses.
I could buy a T-shirt safe in the knowledge nobody would roll their eyes at the throwing away of another 15 quid in the midst of a recession. And I knew I could leave when I wanted and go where I wanted.
Of course that didn’t hide the fact I had no mates. I had no mates at a gig where groups of friends outnumbered saddo loners by 100-1 (at least). I had to stand for two hours without uttering a word to anyone and the only person I could share this harrowing experience with was…me.
I don’t intend to listen to Alone again anytime soon. But if you see Dokken’s Alone Again flashing up on my iPod then feel free to take pity – or a guitar to my head.