Music for the Masses


Rufus Wainwright, August 5, 2012, Louisville, Kentucky

Confession: I am cheap.  That’s not to say that I am not generous, as I support a number of charities, causes, and my alma maters, and I help others in whatever way I can whenever I possibly can.  However, ever since I was a little girl, I have been known to guard my money rather closely, and I do so even more now, as I am a single mom and a social worker.  That said, in recent years, I have come to part ways with my money readily when it comes to purchasing concert tickets.  As I shared in my recent “Let The Music Play” post, music is a passion of mine, and live performances are treasured touchstones in my life. 

Last night, after a 6-week hiatus since attending my last show, I had the pleasure of attending a concert at the Iroquois Amphitheater here in Louisville, Kentucky with one of my favorite friends and concert goers, Rebecca.  A light rain gave way to a beautiful evening, and we enjoyed listening to the music of Krystle Warren, who reminded Rebecca and me of Tracy Chapman; Adam Cohen, who is cool, sexy, and soulful, in addition to being Leonard Cohen’s son; and the talented, witty, and sublime Rufus Wainwright.  I wasn’t familiar with the music of the two opening acts, but now that I am, I am a new fan and look forward to hearing more from them.  They were unexpected, but wonderful discoveries.  I have loved Rufus since stumbling across his song “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” years ago, and he continues to amaze me with his unabashed talent.  It is one thing to listen to music with your ears, but a live performance gives you the opportunity to feast on the musical offerings with your eyes, ears, heart, and soul in a way that is lost when hearing it recorded.  To me, that experience is absolutely priceless, and it is why I will spend the money on tickets and, if needed, travel to see some of my favorite artists.

In addition to the absolutely incredible music that surrounded me last night, I was also struck by the crowd in attendance.  Seated to my right was a rather large man dressed in a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and trucker’s hat, who enthusiastically cheered and whistled after every song, even though his comments to his date led me to believe that he had never heard the music of Rufus Wainwright until last night.  Two rows in front of us, there was a voluptuous young woman who sang and danced wildly to almost every song, and she would survey the crowd with a scowl and seemed irritated that others were not responding in the same manner as she was.  In the section next to ours, there were two young women who annoyed the hell out of the people seated directly behind them with their over the top dancing that had them both spilling out into the aisle with moves that had to be seen to be believed.  It is my hope that they were drunk, as that would provide them with an excuse for calling more attention to themselves than to the show, and it would also explain their misguided attempts to get the attention of Rufus.  I had flashbacks of the girls who used to throw themselves at the stage when Morrissey performed back in the 1980s, but I digress.

In addition to the more colorful characters who entertained us, along with the actual performers, it was an eclectic crowd in attendance.  There were men and women of different ages, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, etc., yet we all were there for one common purpose: stellar music.  We sang, danced, laughed, cheered, and clapped in unison.  We all chose to spend our time and money to come hear the same artists at the same place at the same time on the same night, and for a few hours, we were one as an attentive and appreciative audience.  That may sound very trite, but after a week of people letting a chicken sandwich divide them and people being gunned down in a place of worship, it was a much-needed display of unity that I took in and embraced. 

Sometimes, we make life far too complicated and divisive, and music is a beautiful common ground on which we can all stand together.  Music touches each heart and soul in different ways, but it also connects us with one another in some unseen way, like an invisible force that you are inexplicably drawn to.  Whether you were/still are a member of the KISS Army, a Parrothead, a Deadhead, a Fanilow (a Barry Manilow fan, as if you didn’t know), or a fan of whatever other group or artist you profess your allegiance to, you are a member of the collective good that music provides.  In a world where so many people feel isolated and alone, music is a faithful companion.  Now, if only all of our companions were as loyal, enthralling, and entertaining as the music we listen to; what a wonderful world it would be indeed!

That’s another story . . .



Categories: That's Another Story

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2 replies

  1. As I shared in my recent “Let The Music Play” post, music is a passion of mine, and live performances are treasured touchstones in my life…………………………………………..

    Wow Kristi, it is as if you are reading my mind sometimes! Music is my passion. I am a go to person when someone needs to know who sang what song! I always liked landing on the pink (Entertainment) space during Trivia Pursuit games.

    The last concert I was at was Billie Idol. What an awesome event! He rocked the place and his guitar player Steve Stevens…..I could write a book on his amazing musical talents. I get such an emotional connection at live concerts that I grow sad after the last curtain call and the lights go on. I just want to go on feeling that feeling forever! Maybe I should have been a groupie. What do you think? Not to late to start 🙂

    • Mary Leigh, I absolutely love that you and I share yet another thing in common! I think we need to organize a trivia game at work and dazzle everyone with our musical knowledge:) That feeling you get from attending live performances is one I relate to, and I always linger in my seat when the show ends, even after the final encore, as I, too, have a bittersweet feeling. I am thrilled that I experienced it, but I mourn the end of it. It’s never too late to be who you are, so, go get ’em, Groupie!!!

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