Saturday, November 2, 2013

Things Have Changed

Music is an inherited passion. My dad is a guitarist; my mom is a singer. My siblings and I grew up with Devo, Frank Zappa, The Beatles, The Cars, and even Adrian Belew blasting from the record player and eight-track.

Music is more than soundtrack for me; music is memory. It's the reminder of the first boy who said he loved me and gave me "Something." It's the mad heartbreak that drove me to "Precious Things" and the loneliness of "Circle." "Marrakesh Express" is my sister dancing with a green sweater at the thrift store. "I Want You" is the hope of a life I never lived with a boy who gave me more disappointment than faith.

As a teenager I gathered friends who shared my musical passions: The Beatles, Tori Amos, Grateful Dead. I once collected CDs---singles, rarities, anthologies, anything---from my favorite artists. There once was a time when I would follow the careers of a several musicians and make sure I never missed out on new albums or concerts.

Last year, about ten days before Baby Rah was born and our lives went into a tailspin, I went with my sister, Kirstin, to see Garbage . . . and an unbelievably happy/drunk Shirley Manson forgetting the lyrics to her own songs.
Kirstin in her Garbage shirt

Despite, or because of, Shirley Manson's whiskey-inspired declarations of love for her band and lying on the stage with a drunken cat caller and explaining "this is my show," the concert was unforgettable.

Two days later Kirstin texted and told me Aimee Mann was performing in Salt Lake---that night. I've never seen Aimee Mann in concert, even though I've been a fan for more than a decade. That was the first time she had come anywhere near where I lived, and I had no idea she was even coming.

Check out my favorite Aimee Mann video (from her latest album):

Aimee Mann "Charmer"

I hadn't really thought about concerts this past summer, but then at my dad's birthday party Kirstin mentioned that Bob Dylan was coming to Salt Lake . . . in five days.

The first time I saw Bob Dylan in concert was summer of 1999 when he was touring with Paul Simon. I woke up early on a Saturday and stood outside Smith's with my boyfriend at the time, waiting to get tickets first day they were available. I was nervous the show would sell out before we made it to the ticket window.

This time we bought James's ticket at the door.

Bob Dylan doesn't play guitar anymore. He didn't talk to the audience. He didn't jump around. He never showed any enthusiasm. He played piano. He sang. He changed the tunes and lyrics of his songs. I'm not even sure he ever smiled.

He opened with an unfamiliar rendition of "Things Have Changed," the Academy Award-winning tune from the Wonder Boys soundtrack. This was the first new song Dylan released after the end of a relationship that I had thought would be forever. All other Bob Dylan songs were connected with the boy who had gone. "Things Have Changed" helped me move forward, accept the change of plans---maybe in the most cynical possible way. (The chorus is, after all, "I used to care, but things have changed.")

But on this breezy, summer night, I felt it. I found the change all around me---in the wind and the scents, the arms around my waist. Things have changed. Everything had changed. In the fourteen years since I first saw Bob Dylan on stage, I have discovered which things really matter: God, family, stability, confidence, real love.

We stood on the grass and fell into the music. I was wrapped up in James's arms and feeling the words seep into my skin, pulse through my veins, and tangle in my hair.

The power of the moment didn't come from the stage. It came from the intimacy of sharing my self with the man of my life, willingly giving myself wholly to another, sharing the songs of my past with the present and letting myself be led to the future.

I hope eternity is as beautiful as that moment with my love.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you found your unicorn man. It gives me hope that I'll find mine :)