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9.17.2012

WE ARE ALL PERFORMERS OF SOME KIND



Over the weekend my husband and I went to see Jason Mraz in concert.  I am a huge Jason Mraz fan.  It was a great night for an outdoor venue concert; clear skies and cool temps in the low 60's. 

Arriving about an hour before the concert, we ate dinner in the VIP make-shift tent/restaurant.  Can life get any better than a Caesar salad pre-made served in a clear plastic take-out container, dressing packet on the side and a vodka with cranberry juice served in a plastic cup - mostly made up of cranberry juice.  Doug's Chardonnay wine tasted like it may have come out of a box that had sat around opened for months.  But the what the hell, it was Jason Mraz, right? 

A 60-ish year old woman crooned out elevator music in the corner of the restaurant for an entire hour.  I wondered if it was a bit disheartening to sing to a crowd that has; 1) absolutely no intention or desire to pay you any mind, 2) came to see someone who is NOT you, or 3) you realize that at 60 years old your musical career has peaked at venues such as this quasi VIP restaurant tent where you are relegated to singing in a bit of a Bill Murray-ish lounge singer style of voice.  She stood on a stage in the corner with a huge shiny gold tripod which held a large well-made professional sign that read:

KLIPSCH MUSIC CENTER PROUDLY PRESENTS...
SUSAN BOOTS
 
No one noticed, listened, acknowledged her, applauded or connected to her cover songs of all things elevatorish. I did not google her name, but rather doubt she is known much beyond the local Indianapolis area.  What do I know is that I loved the show "Kath and Kim" and it got cancelled after the first season!  I also think the show "The Bachelor" is assinine. But obviously at times, what I like and what others may like, are worlds apart!  In my opinion, canned music would have been just has effective, if not more so.  I saw VIP tent singer Susan Boots and her husband after the concert when the masses were exiting.  They had stayed to imbibe in the musical goodness of Jason Mraz as well.  Maybe that's why she sang - free admittance to concerts!
 
Jason Mraz is a mix of musical styles really.  A lot of jazz rhythms, phrasings and scats mixed with folk.  His music is not necessarily easy to dance to as jazz beats are everywhere at times.  It is creative music though instrumentally, lyrically and vocally.  I appreciate the freedom of interpretation of play and the level of instrumentation he uses.  He is around 35 years of age and a self-proclaimed vegan, love the earth sort of guy.  His closing comments to us, the crowd, as he exited the stage was, "Be kind to the earth, pick up anything you brought in with you and dispose of it kindly."  He probably is a bit of a modern day granola and would have fit as a hippie of sorts.  He performed like usual in a pair of blue jeans, a simple cotton shirt and barefoot while standing on a big area rug.  I love that as I too hate socks and sometimes shoes!
 
Concerts are interesting to me.  They are a huge melting pot of people who love that particular artist.  Some audience members, by merely looking at them, you would not imagine that they had a love of music period.  That is what makes music an amazing medium.  It brings people together, connects us universally over notes and lyrics. 
 
There were two empty seats between me and the two women at the end of the row.  It appeared one was my age or older (45+) and the other one, possibly in her early 20's.  I couldn't figure out of their relationship dynamics; mother/daughter, aunt/niece, friends, etc.... What I easily found out was they had no sense of rhythm.  None.  Now mind you, Jason's music as I stated earlier, is a bit hard to dance to.  That didn't keep them from dancing.  Personally I can't call it dancing unless you also call what the character of "Elaine" from the TV show "Seinfeld" tried to do in the episode about her dancing ability.  These two women were off and awkward, but seemingly unaware.  They were lost in the music. 
 
Not only was their dancing horrific and muddied the quality of Jason's music, but the older of the two seemed to want to pretend she was 16.  In the middle of about every song she would just scream.  Many times it was in the midst of a slower more ballad sort of song.  Her scream broke the continuity of the song but fit perfectly with her inability to dance rhythmically or technically well.  I found myself mesmerized with watching them.  It was pure hysterical entertainment!  At times I glanced behind her to see the reactions of the people near her to her awkward and blatant singing, dancing and screaming.  They too, like me, were highly amused and couldn't keep it off their faces.  She was beyond oblivious. 
 
The very overweight couple in front of me sat during most of the concert, though the crowd stood for the vast majority of it.  Evidently they didn't care if they saw anything but their smart phones which they played with pretty much the entire three and a half hours!  Technically, she played with her phone non-stop and he just stared straight ahead unmoving for three plus hours.  I was beginning to get disturbed by Jason's quality and caliber of fans.  Could I continue to love this guy's music when it appeared awkward people flocked to him?  Was I one of them too?

I began to frantically search for more normal, middle of the road or high class fans.  Definitely not him, the other fat guy two rows up, who showed us his entire large and gross butt crack while trying to stand up to let someone down his row.  Doug and I, and the two women seated next to him, lost it in out loud laughter combined with a few "ughs".  His butt crack forged a relationship with those two women for the next couple of hours.  They were a class far above the "Elaine Benise" dance impersonator, the fat sit down smart phone couple in front of me, and the butt crack man.  So that least there were 4 normal people at the concert:) 

What I did realize was that no matter who you are, music is leveling - a barrier breaker.  It is something that no matter what you look like, your socio-economic class, IQ, education, lack of rhythm or dress style, connects to all people.  It is one of those things in life that meets us all where we are.  Music was not just to be enjoyed only by those that were smart enough to get it and treat it right.  It met all people wherever they were, including the rhythmically impaired and chunky butted plumbers who showed their cracks.  That also included the two overly emotional crack pot girls several rows up who stood the entire concert.  One of them conducted the music with her left hand, much like a symphony conductor, occasionally touching her ear with that same hand in a weird kind of emotional showing.  I think she cried several times.  Her counterpart writhed aimlessly and did the long live rock-n-roll symbol with her hand high above her head.  Lady, it is Jason Mraz not Led Zeppelin!!  I wondered if Jason Mraz was radical music for her very, very conservative style of dress and hair even though she appeared to be under 25 years of age.

A cool starry night, good music, sitting by my Love, and being entertained by the masses made up for anything that may have been lacking concert-wise.  I got entertained far beyond the music!  There were performers on and off the stage.

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