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Concerts are back!  It’s the somewhat less exciting news however, that has my attention: so is new music.  Both are an inspiration to those who don’t necessarily have “retirement” marked on some far-off calendar.

My buddies and I are set to see a couple of shows rescheduled from last year, plus one new one.  Among the last ones I saw before the pandemic was Iron Maiden’s “Legacy of the Beast” tour.  They’re making a noteworthy splash of their own soon with the release of their 17th studio album “Senjutsu.”

When we see them touring in support, drummer Nicko McBrain will be blowing out 70 birthday candles.  It’s mind-boggling!  A new album is just as impressive to me.

When some bands reach this point in their career, they don’t “see a reason” to record new music.  Their catalogues are plenty massive to support a week’s worth of unique setlists. 

And that’s cool.  Fans will still pay top dollar to see their favorite tunes played by (mostly) those who recorded them.

Moreover, it’s not baseless speculation that “Senjutsu” is no more likely to become part of the Maiden lore than their 2015 effort, “Book of Souls.” 

From their self-titled debut over 40 years ago, to their masterpiece “Powerslave” a few years later, to the underrated “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son,” it was then, during the 1980s, when fans swooned and became hooked. 

That bond would survive the departures of vocalist Bruce Dickinson and lead guitarist Adrian Smith, and the rough 1990s that followed.

Since both were welcomed back at the turn of the century, Maiden has put out six new albums.  Almost 400 years of life amongst the six members hasn’t slowed them down.  Nor has cancer on one of the most recognizable set of pipes in all of music.

And when they tour, they don’t do so lightly.

Not only do they spend months admirably promoting their new albums, they take to the road in ‘off’ years to play nothing but classics.  This arguably endears them to their fans.

That’s not to dismiss the real possibility however, that new stuff could click with metalheads.  The most recent offerings from Metallica and Anthrax for example, are sure to be represented in future concerts.

That can’t happen though, without first putting in the effort to write, collaborate, and record.  Oddly enough, I’m reminded of my seventy-five year-old father. 

For a decade or so, he and my step-mother have been living an ideal retirement: pulling a 5th-wheel across the country.  They also sell RV supplies and accessories along the way. 

When I asked him about the latter, he told me “I feel like I still have more to give in life.”  It kind of made me proud.

I’ve never been one who’s had his 62nd or 70th birthday circled on the calendar as the day I’m simply going to stop.  Only in the last few years have I found a hobby/side-gig that I would love to do ‘in retirement’ (teaching).

Short of relieving Americans of the tax burden and paternalistic nature altogether, it’s clear that social security and Medicare, at the very least, need reform.  Nevertheless, we don’t have to tap them and tap out of productive activities at a prescribed time.  My dad and my bands inspire me in this regard. 

Now if I could just get him to appreciate the beauty of a galloping Steve Harris bass line ...  

Christopher E. Baecker manages fixed assets at Pioneer Energy Services, teaches economics at Northwest Vista College, is a board member of the Institute for Objective Policy Assessment, policy director at InfuseSA, a member of the San Antonio Business & Economics Society, and is a former candidate for San Antonio city council.  He can be reached via email or Facebook

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