Thursday, February 2, 2012

The show lives on ... in my mind

It's been more than a year since I was able to attend a live concert and I must say I am jonesing a little. The last one was in July of 2010 - the Reverend Horton Heat in Cheyenne. Damn, what a great show that was.

The Rev. was someone I have wanted to see for a while, so when the opportunity came up, I took it. My wife, brother Dominic and my friend Rob Maes all went. What made the night even better, the show was free! Good times.

Before that it was Flogging Molly that May in Denver. This was perhaps the best concert I have been to. I was able to get a photo pass for the show and Ben, my older brother, let me borrow one of his Nikons. For three songs I was able to photograph my favorite band. I was elbow to elbow with other photographers, fighting for a shot. In the end I was very pleased with what I got.

I have always lived in a town that is more than a couple of hours from any decent venue; Kimball to Denver, Concordia to Lincoln, Fairbanks to Anchorage. So, the inevitable drive home tends to be a couple of hours. My typical partner in crime for these music journeys is my wife. So, although we might have idle chit-chat about our kids while we drive home, the first few moments are usually pretty quiet. She understands that I need to work through what I just saw.

Perhaps our throats are horse from the screaming and yelling; perhaps our ears are ringing from the cranked up sound system; perhaps were are reveling in the electricity that has yet to drain from our bodies and we just want to hang on to that moment for a little longer. For me, it is a combination of all three but mostly the last one.

When I leave a concert I am sure I have a silly smile on my face. One of quiet serenity, reflecting on what I just saw, savoring every detail, remembering every word spoken, gesture made, everything. Doing everything I can do to hold on to that feeling that is oozing away.

The darkness of our dive helps, so too does the desolate country side that we must drive through. Let's face it, aside from some fields of grain and maybe some cows there isn't much on the high plains of Nebraska or the wheat covered fields of Kansas.

Eventually the silence is penetrated by one of us daring a question. Typically it's me.Typically, I am asking what she thought of the show. Typically, she enjoyed it as much as I did. We discuss the performance. I ask what she thought of this or that, did she laugh at this point, did she understand the meaning here, did she like the way they performed this song? And, in the end, the big question, "Would you go see them again?"

Sometimes the answer is, "No, I would rather go see someone I haven't seen yet." With Flogging Molly the answer was, "Yes, I would go see them again."

Returning home we try to move quietly through the house. We say good night to whomever was kind enough to watch our kids, do our subsequent check on the kids, peel off our smoke and sweat scented clothing and collapse into bed.

As my eyes close and I do my best to fall asleep but the stage explodes behind my eyelids me and the music kicks up again in my mind. The smile slowly returns to my face and I do my best to quietly relive the show. Sleep eventually wins out and I drift away but not before seeing the performance of my favorite song once again.