Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ladies, don't go home and get pregnant tonight.

So said Etta James this evening, just before she launched into "At Last." That was good, but "Sugar on the Floor" was even better. That woman still has pipes, I tell you what. Plus, she can shake her booty and her stage banter was topical: she referred to "that senator from Idaho" more than once. The first time, she said he just wanted to get some ta-ta. Which is true. Then she sang a song about ta-ta.

What I really want to tell you about, though, is how the Reverend Al Green is a radiant light. If he's ever in your hood, just go see him, because unless you are the world's most hardened, bitter, cynical asshole, you will leave the concert feeling really good about everything in the universe. He likes to fling roses, whip off his tux jacket, respond to audience applause by saying "I love you" sincerely, put his tux jacket back on, dance down into the crowd and shake hands, and basically break everything down. At one point he was about 15 feet away from us and I am smiling just thinking about the joy that dude exudes. He is an exuding dude. And seriously, his tour budget for long-stemmed red roses must be huge.

I don't go see a lot of live music, which is maybe both weird and stupid considering I am both a musician and a music lover. And really, when I think about the times I have felt the most uncomplicated, visceral joy (that didn't involve wonderful critters like nephews), live shows are at the top-tippity of my list, probably right after long hikes up medium-sized mountains on beautiful days. I am not even talking about the shows by the musicians I am most likely to listen to, either. I had, for example, 45 minutes of face-breaking grins at the Pet Shop Boys show last year.

I think maybe the shows I end up seeing accidentally are the most joyful ones. I got an email from the Brit this morning saying "we have the hookup for Al Green tonight if you want." Voila, the evening's plan was set, which was unexpected and great. And when the performance is exhilaratingly good, it's like getting a gift for no reason other than someone thinks you're wonderful. And I think concerts generally bring out everything that is best about people, and that makes me feel good too.

I can hear the fireworks from the fairgrounds now, which means that B.B. King is done playing. I know, what kind of a jerk bails before B.B. King? But I'm not really a big blues fan, and moreover I wanted nothing to dampen my post-Al Green joy. The only thing that could properly follow Al Green was mini-donuts. So I ate some. Now I feel bloated, but not in a way that interferes with love OR happiness.


  1. I'm glad someone I know went to that show! Awesome.

    (My word verification is ibduumm.)

  2. Yes! I like that unexpected live music joy, too, such as the night we last-minuted it to the Decemberists show. There were no expectations there to complicate it.

    When I saw Al Green in 1994 (tickets were a graduation present!), there was that same sweet routine with the tux and the roses. The thing I loved most was his ad libbing at the end of Let's Stay Together, when he murmured: "I still miss you, Knoxville." Oh, man! That still makes me laugh. Say that to me on my deathbed and I'll die happy.

    Also, yesterday I pulled out a mix I made called Oh My Soul, and I about blew a 50 amp fuse when I got to Tired of Being Alone. My gosh, it's good. Never gets old, ever ever. I need to send you a copy of it.

  3. Marigoldie, PLEASE DO.