Music lifts the spirit, touches the heart, and breaks it at the same time. Singing out loud is cathartic but only done is safe places; the shower, a car with the radio at full volume, a karaoke bar, or at church. I wish I had musical talent. I hope before I leave this planet I could be a lounge singer in a piano bar for just one night. Hopefully, where all the patrons are drunk, so they don’t care I am singing off-key.
Tonight, I heard and saw Lyle Lovett and his “BIG’ band in a very small venue. The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHPAC), “a former 1932 movie house, was renovated and restored in 1997-98” with a 425-seat capacity. So, when I saw early this summer that Lyle Lovett and his BIG band was playing I initially baulked at the ticket price of over $100, plus fees, etc. I bite the bullet and bought a single ticket for $140+, and glad I did. The concert was worth every penny. Live music in a small venue, there is nothing better. I won’t go to concerts in baseball stadiums, or hockey/basketball arenas. I would love to see Billy Joel, or Bette Midler live, but they play ridiculously HUGE venues and the tickets are exorbitant. What is the point to watch a performer on a huge trinitron screen from the nose bleed seats. NAUGHT. I have many musical performers on my bucket list, but only in venues of less than 500 seats, or outdoor venues like the New Orleans Jazz Fest. I can snake my way through a crowd like nobody’s business, as long as I am flying solo. No news there.
So, my purchase of one ticket to hear Lyle Lovett and his band consisting of 4 horns, piano, drummer, steel guitar, violin, base, cello, mandolin and guitar; and, Francine a fabulous vocalist (in the tradition of Darlene Love), 13 in all, plus Lyle. It was possibly one of the very best concerts I have attended.
But the real point of this blog is that music is a catalyst. In the 60’s anti-war, civil rights and economic justice fights had anthems. Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Country Joe, Woody, Arlo, etc. We marched for justice to great music. What is missing today are songs we can all sing together “as we go marching, marching…”
I thought for sure Lyle was using this concert to spend a weekend in the Hamptons, but his buses are pulling out tonight because they are playing in Massachusetts tomorrow and crisscrossing the country non-stop almost every night until January 20. Check your local listings.
Sitting in an audience of aging white people, with bladder control issues, made me think of the 60’s and how we are the music generation. Our music moved us.
I hope the X, Y, Z, millenniums and whoever the younger activist of today are can find their music to match to, that motivates them, and will spear them onto ‘the arc of the moral universe…that is long, but bends toward justice’.
Lyle is not a social crusader. But he was a weird kid with big ears who obviously marched to a different drummer. His music is about misfits and longing for love. I don’t know why I thought to write this blog tonight, but I was anxious to get home and put my thoughts on paper, or more to the point the world-wide web. Maybe it was because I spent most of today reading the “failing” New York Times and the “Bezos” Washington Post reporting on the QAnon and the Manafort trial. I was happy to spend a couple of hours listening to music and watching 13 musicians perform enjoying their work and create happiness.
We need more singing and less talk, and certainly more action on the streets, but with good tunes. Music is a powerful weapon, we need more uplifting music today, more than ever.
Can you hear me singing?