My Sweet Hubband's birthday was back at the beginning of October, and I decided that I would get him concert tickets. I know he loves music, I know what music he loves, and TOTAL BONUS, I get to go too, and we get a date out of the whole deal.
So, knowing that he had just picked up Randy Newman's new cd "Harps and Angels", and seeing in the newspaper that Mr. Newman was coming to the Aladdin Theater, I snapped up a couple of tickets. They were pricier than usual, considering it's a general admission theater, but it's a smallish venue and I thought it would probably be alright.
I got a sitter for the night, which is a rarity around here, and met my sweetie in downtown Portland after he got off work. We ate dinner at a Brew Pub, and took in the brisk, beautiful evening and even managed to get some shopping in. Just like the old days. I snapped up some fantastic bargains at J. Crew, with my sweetie cheering me on. Initially I thought they might have an age limit there that we would surely exceed, but it turns out, I can still pass for under 40, and the sale they had was too good to pass up!
Then it was off to the Aladdin. Because we had taken our time, the theater was packed and we wound up in the balcony, right behind my gynecologist and her husband. (TOTAL BONUS: We'll have something to chat about the next time my feet are in the stirrups!)
As we found some seats, and took the measure of the room, two things were clear: With just the lone Grand Piano on stage, there would be no band, just Mr. Newman and his fantastic playing and funky, croaky voice; and we were NOT in the minority age-wise, for once. The sea of thinning hairlines and reading glasses was jarring at first, knowing as I do that these people, they weren't our parents, they were us. But after that first moment it was just plain reassuring.
When he took the stage just after 8:00, he really TOOK the stage - he tripped over something and nearly landed in the lap of someone in the front row. I thought it might have been planned, but it was clear it wasn't. Still it started the concert off perfectly, because it made him seem like one of us, and set up an intimacy that didn't feel staged. It was like hanging out with him in the living room, chatting, sharing fond memories.
If you don't know his work from anything but his work with Pixar, here's a little homework assignment for you: before you listen to the following tune, check out a few of these gems: First, there's Louisianna, 1927, and then Dixie Flyer. Oh, and if you are anticipating the election but still wondering if America's good name can ever be recovered, Uncle Randy has a few words of reassurance for us: A Few Words In Defense Of Our Country.
But it was this song, last night that got me. It's full of longing and the complexity of life with all the stupid mistakes we humans make.
Enjoy. Or don't. But I sure did. It was one of the best concerts I've been to, one I'll remember always. Thanks, Mr. Newman.
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