Todays Music:Decca – Quintet of the Hot Club of France
Todays adventure: Buying a Surfboard off Craigslist.com
I love music. Even when I don’t like a particular genre or song, I still appreciate the skill, talent, artistry of the performer(s). Even if I think they suck, hey, they’re making a living through their music, while I can get as far as a decent blues progression and pentatonic lead.
So when I get to to go to a live show, I stay for the whole thing. Maybe one of the songs will blow me away. Maybe an improvised riff will make the hair on my neck stand up. Or the frontman will tell such good stories that it doesn’t matter that the music wasn’t to my taste. And maybe one of the songs performed will introduce me to God.
I get into live music, waiting for that transcendent moment, when the music will take me away.
So I don’t leave live shows. Except once…
These tickets came to me by way of IrishPaul.
“Hey, I’ve got tickets for 2 shows tonight. You want the ones to Damien Rice?” (IrishPaul does that alot.)
“Sure”, I said. “Happy to take em off your hands”.
Like I said, I love going to see concerts, and I’ll see anyone. Damien Rice was the It boy of the moment. He was a local indie radio station’s Golden Boy, and since I generally like that station (unless they point me to Raul Midon), I thought it would be good to check him out.
So my girl and I went for an evening at the Beacon Theater. And to Damien’s credit, the show really didn’t start that late.
He took the stage with his band, and played a few songs. I didn’t get into it right away, but the crowd seemed to, so I thought I’d give it a bit more time, see if I could pick out anything I liked, anything that got me excited.
In between songs, Damien would tell stories – about dives he played on his way up, some of the troubles of life on the road in strange cities, confusion at being mistaken for other musicians. They were funny, fun stories, and he told them well.
But the music wasn’t working for me. At all.
As the set went on, I think the people immediately around us realized that my girl and I weren’t enjoying the show as much as them. they looked a bit put out by that.
Not that we were worried. The people I could see clearly all looked like 20-something yuppies or yuppie wannabes filled with their own importance, following the man who spoke for them. When the man who spoke for them spoke, he was very entertaining. But the music fell flat to us. They were all slow minor tunes, all about sadness and woe.
And the crowd loved it. My girl and I looked around, then at each other, then back at the crowd and again at each other, each of us with the same mystified “what the hell are we missing?” expression.
Then came Damien’s apparently big hit, Eskimo
And the crowd went nuts. 3000 people swaying back and forth, more lighters flaring than at a Bon Jovi concert. And my girl and I looked around again, then back at each other, this time trying not to laugh – as 3000 (minus two) people sang along for the chorus “I look to my Eskimo friend“, looking rapturously at their prophet.
I looked at my girl. She looked at me. And we both realized that if we cracked up now, there would not be a happy ending. So we grabbed our stuff and ran for the doors, making it to the lobby just before we both exploded with laughter. We stood there for a few minutes, just laughing. When we slowed down and looked at each other, we started all over again.
We didn’t go back in. But we did laugh all the way home. And for the next few weeks, whenever one of us would say “Hold on – I’m looking at my Eskimo friend”, we would start laughing all over again. As I sit here typing this, I’m laughing quietly to myself…
It makes what was an otherwise bad show a fun memory.
So maybe Damien Rice isn’t the worst show I’ve ever seen.
But Lord, it wasn’t good…