Friday, October 15, 2004

Last Night, In Concert

We saw Norah Jones in concert last night. From the waist down.
In case you were kidnapped by space aliens and unaware of any recent news not focusing on the word 'probe,' Norah Jones is a young woman whose first two albums have sold fifteen million copies or so. She has one of the clearest, most poignant voices I've ever heard, and I listen to her frequently when I'm writing (as well as Bebel Gilberto's Six Degrees).

Thus begins the slippery slope. Commence downwards.

The opening act started at eight, and that was the first problem. Between age, Eli, Gloria, work, working out, the book, and the blog, I'm tired by eight o'clock. In the morning. So a night where I'm out past eleven o'clock is a Herculean proposition.

Clearly, I'm not Hercules.

The first sign of trouble appears when we're two miles away from the venue. Stopped. A raccoon hit by a car is moving faster than we are. There's nothing else out here, so ninety percent of the cars must be headed the same place we are. Since we're stuck, we start checking out the other people who are going to the concert. We're feeling pretty hip, being out after eight o'clock and going to see live music. Rock on, rebels.

Then we start talking about who we're seeing in the cars around us.
"Do we look that old?"
"Is that a ten-year old in the back seat?"
"That van is from an assisted-living facility."
"Is that a bookmobile?"
"That guy is wearing an actual smoking jacket."

This concert might be slightly less hip than we thought.

Norah is appearing at The Backyard, a name that evokes an intimate, personal atmosphere. Which it is, if you're less than ten miles from the stage. Unfortunately, as the site has grown in popularity, the stage has progressively moved to increase seating, and when I say moved, I don't mean a few feet--I'm talking London Bridge here. We're sitting in the back--last-row back. There's a huge video screen above the stage, and that's what we see, a live-music video in an 'intimate' venue where to the naked eye the performers are the size of colored dots.

She's excellent, of course, even in the telescopic distance.

On the way out, I pass a woman whose face is streaming tears. From the look on her face, she's just been dumped. The ex-boyfriend is walking beside her, involved but detached, in that bastardy thing we do.

What exactly do you say to break up with someone during a concert? Was the guy singing the lyrics to 'Come away with me, tonight,' then turned to her and said "I mean, not you, specifically."

We hiked pack to the parking lot, which was a dead ringer for the pit at the Slaterock Gravel Company (Fred Flintstone's place of employment, in case you're wondering). Didn't get stuck, didn't get hit, exited without incident. Big win.

On the way back, I see a new Eckerd's drugstore in the finishing stages of construction. Then I look across the intersection and I see a Walgreens' drugstore already opened.

It is on. Drugstore war.

How does that work? Do they flash pharmacy-gang hand signs across the intersection at each other on their smoke breaks? Do Walgreens' employees tag Eckerd's brick exterior with 'Walgreens: The Pharmacy America Trusts'? Do they go on drive-bys and lob bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol into the parking lot as a deadly warning? I see an Eckerd's employee picking up the bottle, pointing at the Walgreen's delivery van, and yelling "It's on, bitch!" Then they can all start singing and dancing, just like West Side Story.

I almost did lyrics. Consider yourself spared.

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