Thursday, February 25, 2021


I meant to post this earlier, but it's been a bit of a dumpster fire this week. Not in bad way (wait, how is that even possible?), just busy. I'm happy I remembered it today, though.

Jonathon Wood sent this to me last week in response to my post about special music moments and how those moments don't seem to happen anymore. I was going to edit it, but it's so beautifully written and genuine that, in the end, I didn't change a word.

Your post today about the lack of big moments in the modern age, is something I've been discussing with my (grown) kids over the last few weeks. The conclusion we've come to is that having this very personal, highly impactful kind of moment - be they music related or art generally - require a key component that is fleeting in the world of constant distraction. You have to fully invest yourself in the moment. With my kids, the only such events they could personally recall, all involve being at an event - concert, play/musical or festival, where they are completely in the moment. In every other circumstance, there are too many calls on one's attention to get that same immersion. 

The ones that stand out in my own mind share that same component of being totally in the moment:

Early August going into my senior year of high school, evening. Some close friends were over and were just hanging out in my (above ground) pool. "Nightswimming" by REM was on and it hit me that our collective childhood was about to end. This was one of the last times we would ever be together as a group without the pressures of adult life weighing us down. I can remember everything about that moment - what everyone was wearing, how the girl I liked had her hair pinned up, the smell of the hot summer day bleeding into the cool of the night, the slight crackle from the left speaker with the small tear in the tweeter.

Several years ago, working on a project in Honolulu - great place to be, but missing my family. Had a rough day at work plus dealing with some personal grief. I was sitting on my hotel room balcony, with a beer in hand, as the sun sank into the ocean. Across the road was a church and this evening the choir was practicing and the church had all the windows and doors open and circumstances were just right for me to hear them perfectly. That moment, with those transcendent voices, man... my worries and anxiety and fears just evaporated, for a little while.

Sitting with my wife at the CIBC Theatre in Chicago, as the opening number to Hamilton ended. While caught up in the euphoria of the moment, I recall clearly thinking how this was going to change everything - expectations of who the theatre is for, expectations of history being boring, new ways of looking at the circumstances of life and choosing to push boundaries. Some of that optimism has faded, but much of it has stayed with me.

One personal note I remembered after reading Jonathon's email. The first time I listened to the R.E.M. album "Reckoning," it blew me away. Maybe it wasn't quite in the Hall of Fame moment category, but it was really, really close. 

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