I love The Hold Steady, and I particularly loved their last album, Boys and Girls in America – which is still the focus of their current tour. I also love the 9:30 Club, which is a mere five blocks from my home.

It is therefore unfathomable to me that I should cut out before the encore at the fantastic sold-out show last night. The band rocked the holy hell out of 1,200 joyful fans, with Craig Finn even pausing his Randy Newman-on-amphetamines act to give just props to the venue. “I’ve known about the 9:30 Club for about as long as I’ve known about rock & roll,” he grinned, “but this is the first time we’ve walked through the door and said, ‘what a great club.'” Between that, the bar-band guitar, and the anthemic set list, they did everything right. For good measure, bassist Galen Polivka even peeled $1 bills out of his wallet and threw them into the crowd, then switched to distributing cigarettes.

Yet by the time they closed the hour-long main set with “Southtown Girls,” I was exhausted. The sweaty, sardine-packed crowd, high-energy though it was, was beginning to stifle me. I was getting sleepy and starting to check my watch regularly. My feet hurt. I wanted to beat the crowd out the door. And I just thought “Southtown Girls” was the best possible way to end the night.

I’m 28. How did I get so old?