I adore old musicians, rockers especially because they choose to inhabit a fierce, unrelenting world of sound and energy over the course of years and years. Darby Mills, Bernie Aubin, Dan McCafferty, all in their later 50s to mid 60s, have been performing for 30-40 plus years. Still, they fully inhabited all the onstage moves, solos, and vocally, they were more resonant and rich than ever. Even though this was Dan’s possibly last whole show with Nazareth, as he collapsed the following night and, suffering from chronic breathing problems now, it remains uncertain whether he will perform again, his evident frailty, exhaustion and pain at the Victoria show did not detract from the power of his song.
I argued later with my partner as to whether it would have been better if he had died on stage, in the core of doing what he loves. Not that we have this choice, but if we did, how beautiful. The heart exploding as the highest note rises and the crowd swells to its feet, feeling everything, but most of all, gratitude for a life given wholly to art.