Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No cool title for this one

The sound of thunder crashing against his words sounded like song lyrics themselves. His guitar, dampened by the cool drops falling from the clouds above, glistened in the flashes of electricity shooting across the night sky. Both men and women with red, yellow, white, blue lighters swayed their arms back and forth slowly with their opposite hand covering the flames of their torches from the rain. Nobody talked. Nobody sang. They all just listened.

What a magnificent feeling it was. To know that there were actually people who were there to listen to the words he sang. As if he was preachin' from the Bible. And he didn't show any fear. Maybe that was what fueled the burning fire within him. Maybe not.

A scared child I know I am when I stand there. Full of worry if the people like me or not. Afraid of missing a chord, or breaking a string or just flat out forgetting the next line.

Not him though. No way. Every time he hit the strings on his beat up looking guitar, he did it with full comfort and assurance that he would hit exactly where he needed to. Without mistake.

He had no worries. Perhaps he just didn't give a shit what we thought. Maybe he knew that the only person that he was playing for was himself. And maybe, just maybe, he didn't even know we stood before him.

Tonight was the way it should always be. We were there for the music. And the stories that were being told in the songs that he played. We weren't there to meet others. Or get numbers. Or to find somebody to bang out with after the show. We were there to respect the music. And for the first time that I have ever went to a show, that was exactly the way it was.

The servers and bartenders talked in hushed voices when taking orders. Nobody wanted to disrespect the man playin' the tunes. Which shouldn't ever happen, but so often, it does. To us as musicians, and even people who don't play anything but still love music, when you go to a show, especially a show in a small, intimate surrounding, you don't carry on conversation all through the set. You don't talk on the phone with your buddies or girlfriends, begging them to meet you someplace after the show. You stand, or sit, or crouch and listen to the music. That's it. And tonight was the first time I ever watched every person in the joint doing nothing but listening to the music.

It kind of reminded me of that scene from High Fidelity when Rob Gordon (John Cusack) meets up with his employees, Dick and Barry (Jack Black and Todd Louiso), at some tiny dancer spot in Chicago to hear Frampton's "Baby I Love Your Way" being covered by Lisa Bonet's character. Nobody sang along with her. Nobody, except for Rob, Dick and Barry, talked about anything. Everybody just chilled and listened to the music. And they showed their appreciation when she was done.

Tonight was that night for me.

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