Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tilt-A-Whirl and the Joker

     I bought tickets to see Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium in Times Square. First of all, the Iridium is legendary as Les Paul would play his famous sets with whomever decided to show up that night. The fact that I would finally see Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton was a dream come true.
     Of course, I imagined what the show would be like - what songs he might play. The days went by fast until it was finally October 21st. I made sure I had my camera and Family Style LP that he and his brother Stevie recorded together in early 1990. I walked through Central Park in anticipation. I would be happy with three songs: I'm Leaving it up to You, Texas Flood and In the Middle of the Night.
     I was seated next to two wonderful gentlemen who love music as much as Billy and I. Luck, coincidence or fate I do not know, but I would almost be on the stage our table was so close.  I couldn't wait for Billy to arrive to show him ... we were no more than six feet from the stage.      Those final minutes, tick tock tick tock until finally...ladies and gentleman...the Iridium welcomes Jimmie Vaughan. Chills. It was him. In awe, he had his white Tex-Mex Fender Strat to play for us. It was unreal to be so close. At one point, I must have been smiling from ear to ear and Jimmy looked right at me, smiled and winked. I could have left then. But...of course we didn't.
     He played a few songs, a mix of his hits from his solo albums before Lou Ann Barton joined him. She is a legend of Texas blues. The two rocked the room and Jimmie began to jam. The first set was over way too soon.
    As we waited for the second set, the gentleman sitting next to me said turn around and look who is in the corner. It was Robby Krieger from the Doors, sitting just below his guitar that hung on the wall.  It was so true that anyone can show up at the Iridium. But the surprises were not over yet.
    A few songs into the second set, he announced that another Texan was present and introduced Steve Miller. Steve Freaking Miller!!! What a surprise!! They played a few of Jimmie's songs together, before Steve took a seat and watched the rest of the show.  Lou Ann came onto the stage again and I got to hear I'm Leaving it up to You.
     I really was not prepared to hear what Jimmie sang next.  I thought I would be, but I wasn't: Texas Flood. It was the closest I would ever get to Stevie Ray Vaughan. A surreal moment, I admit I cried. It took me back to the first cassette I ever bought of Stevie's.  I remembered the picture of Stevie and Jimmie I had on my dresser mirror growing up and how their songs would keep my mind at ease after my father passed. I also realized what it must be like for him to play that song. The memories that must creep in between the lyrics.  At the end of the song, Jimmie paused and looked toward the ceiling, a moment between two brothers.
   And I got song number three, as he and Lou Ann sand In the Middle of the Night...a perfect night that I could not have planned. It is the emotion of music that I love. So many in that room were there for that emotion. So many people in that room knew what it was like to live for music.
     After the lights came up. I stood in line with my album and rehearsed over and over what I would say to Jimmie. My turn - finally. I held the album close to me and said, "I have been waiting for 2o years for you to sign this for me" as I handed him the Family Style album. He seemed a bit surprised but very touched. 
    The whole circle came to close that night. I personally saw one of the voices that I used to listen to when life seemed so complicated (remember, I was twelve). I listened to how they sang to the girls they loved and prayed that one day some one would love me that much too. Well, my prayers were answered. It was an honor having my husband there with me at the Iridium. He saw probably one of the defining moments of my life. I don't know if he realizes this or not, but his being there made the night complete. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nobody Told Me There'd Be Days Like These

The last two months have been crazy - busy crazy, stressful crazy, at sometimes, good crazy. Music hasn't been as much of a part of my daily routine as it should have. I have always said that music gets me through things. But what do you do when you are so tired that when you put the music on, you fall asleep before the first jam?
Let me fill you in. The first weeks of September were indeed trying. My firefighter husband was burned at work and subsequently needed a skin graft. Between the long hours at work and making sure I spent the rest of my free time with him at the hospital, I was more interested in sleep and making sure that he was comfortable (and an occaisional Jack and Diet Coke).

I did have one day of music I guess, on September 13th. I was able to see Robert Plant and Band of Joy perform on the Jimmy Fallon Show. It was a treat to see him interviewed and an unforgettable experience to see him perform in such a small venue. 

In this same time period, New York City was visited by two tornadoes - which created long hours at work. This was balanced with a healing husband, preparing for an exercise at work in six parts, a firehouse dinner dance and the Tunnel to Towers Run.
Seriously folks, I was tired. My iPod was neglected.

I must thank my husband who has the patience of a saint with my crazy work schedule of the last two months. I apologize that I haven't been home as much as I would like to have been. It meant so much to have you cheer me on as I ran out of the Tunnel on September 26th. Life will get back to normal - I swear, and it will back to the normal crazy that we  are used to.

To my wonderful girlfriends, thank you for the much needed weekend away. Music re-entered my life - so did sleep, laughs, and beer. There is nothing like telling stories next to a campfire, sitting under the Vermont stars, gossiping at the kitchen counter, or freezing your flip flopped toes off in a ski lift.

Things are slowly getting back to that crazy normal. I am so excited to see Jimmie Vaughan this Thursday.Yes, Stevie Ray's brother, guitarist from the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Friday may be My Morning Jacket performing the album Z, maybe Dave and possibly some Roger Waters at the Garden (and if Billy had his way, Phish at Toad's Place - yeah, we all wish).

Tonight, on the way home, I bopped to Franz Ferdinand, cranked Stevie's solo in Life Without You, and wanted to polka the Transcontinental Hustle when Gogol Bordello came on the iPod. 

The stories shall commence again loyal followers. Prepare to hear all about getting kicked in the head during Pantera, listening to David Gray in Belfast as helicopters hovered overhead and how John Lennon made me come to New York City.  I am back...