Thursday, February 21, 2008

Simple Pleasures are the Best

Carnegie Hall is pretty beautiful. We were in the very top, so we got to see the detail of the ceiling. Its a lovely space. I'm glad that "they" didn't tear it down and build a really ugly red ceramic tile building. (I looked for a picture, but I couldn't find one for you.)

Alison Krauss was sick (with the flu, dumb flu). It was a little sad that she wouldn't be there, but it made me realize ONE reason I am glad we live here. When we found out she wasn't performing instead of thinking "Ah man, this was my one and only time to see her," I thought "Well, this is New York, she'll have to be here sometime in the next two and a half years."

Just so you know, even concerts at Carnegie Hall start late.

Bobby McFerrin is so pleasant. He had shoes on. (This is when I wish I kept a journal because I have a vague memory of seeing Bobby in concert, and he didn't have shoes on. And its so vague I think I made it all up.)

I am so glad that he shares his voice, and he experiments with it. The first two songs were just him. (in my vague memory/made up concert he had a peddle system set up to play different layers of his prerecorded voice.) Not this time. Him, and his feet, and his hand on his chest. The human voice is an amazing thing, but the voice of Bobby McFerrin is phenomenal. And to hear him makes me smile.

Edgar Meyer, if you haven't heard him you should listen to him. I have long been a fan of the double base, but I had no idea that a double bass could ever sound that heavenly. He only did one solo piece which left me stunned at his ability. It was the kind of music I could listen to all day and not get tired of.

Because Alison was sick, we got to see some improvisation between Bobby and Edgar. It was very organic, which I loved. I tire of the contrived and forced life and structure here, it was wonderful to see to musicians just trying to build something how it was naturally going to happen.

The girl that filled in the vocals for Alison was only 16. She was great on the mandoline, but was no Alison with the vocals (who could blame her, only Alison has that voice.) I love bluegrass music (especially when its not verging on country music). I secretly hope that it is in my genes, and one day I'll have the ability to yodel, or sing a bluegrass song and sound like I should be singing it. I know its in my soul to do it, so now its just a matter of getting my body to obey.

It was lovely to hear Bobby sing bluegrass. He did the bit where he does the call and repeat with the audience, where he goes through most of the verse and then the last section is long and he scats the last part and everyone laughs. (he did that in my vague/made up concert as well.) He asked if any one brought a mouth harp or harmonica, after telling the audience over and over he was serious a woman stood up and said she had one, after he invited her on stage she said she didn't know how to play it. And he thought it was funny that first she had it, and then she stood up, but she didn't play it. "Lots of people are standing with instruments they can't play."

One thing I love about music is how it happens. How it is formed and built, and this concert was all about that. Skilled people who can work together to develop beauty.

I also loved how "regular people" they all were. I think I've fallen into the trap of thinking extremely talented people are not real people. After introducing Edgar's solo, Bobby went back to sit on a chair that was set up, the spot stayed on him, while Edgar was tuning and warming up Bobby was pointing and trying to signal that the spot should be on Edgar. He said, "I'm not doing anything, I'm just sitting here." When the spot wouldn't move he got up and walked over to the side of the stage... the spot followed for a while, and then went to Edgar. (I realize I made it sound like Edgar was standing there in the dark, but its Carnegie hall, they have several spot lights, guys.) Bobby walked over to the side of the stage and sat down on the floor. Then when it was the fiddle and banjo song Bobby and Edgar sat on the side of the stage on the floor. There was something so nice about seeing extremely talented people sitting on the floor.

So, tonight I am glad I live in New York. I hope that Alison does another show here and that I can go when she does. and I am so glad I got to see Bobby for really reals, even though I think I did once but may have made that part up.

Now, for the part that makes this Cook Shack worthy: Here is my pet peeve... people who clap along to the live performances and don't have the ability to do so. Oh, I hate it! When we went to Lion King it was out of control, I blamed it on the fact it was a matinée Disney show and there were a lot of kids. But there were a few times tonight when the people I think should wear mandatory mittens tried to join the fun. It didn't last very long, thankfully. I get annoyed when the clapper gets off beat, or the musicians want to keep their own rhythm (you know the one I paid to hear) and the dumb clappers are dominating the sound waves. I went to a concert once (again I wish I had it written down who this was), but I'm pretty sure he was a black jazz musician, anyway... (s)he made fun of the audience cause they didn't know how to clap to jazz. Some people clapping on every beat, some people clapping on 1 and 3, and then the people (who were right) clapping on 2 and 4 couldn't convince those around them that they were right. Justin is sad that I won't let him clap, or tap me. He is almost okay about keeping the beat, but its the principle of the thing. If the performer isn't clapping his hands over his head to get the audience to join him then YOU DON'T TRY TO JOIN HIM. Unless you are at a rock concert, because honestly who goes to those to hear the music? So, just in case you go to a concert or musical with me don't clap during the songs because I will be embarrassed for you, and probably ask you to stop. You may tap your toe, as long as I don't have to feel your beat.

(April 10 is a Bobby and Yo-Yo Ma concert if you are in the area.)

Woah. Long post.


The Jones :) said...

You are hilarious!! I love it...thanks for your honesty...and if we ever happen to be together at a concert...I'll be sure to duck-tape my hands together!! :D :D
-Becki :)

emilysuze said...

I never clap at a concert because of that specific reason!

I've seen musicians get off beat because the audience's bad timing overwhelmed them and I don't want to be a part of that.

Boo to clappers.

Jed and Kate said...

I TOTALLY agree and am very peeved by that same pet...or petted by that peeve...I don't know? Anyway, I absolutely will NEVER clap at a concert unless invited to do so by the performer...and I feel like becoming physically violent with others who do so. Why are they so ignorant?!

Tammy said...

Oh Brecken - I'm glad you had such a fun night out and are glad to be living in NYC, even if just for tonight!

My favourite part of this post is when you said that when you listen to Bobby's music, it makes you smile. That's what I love about great music. It makes you smile. And it's an involuntary smile that just happens because you start to feel so happy and lifted inside that you don't have room for it all, and it has to come bursting out through a smile! I can float around on those kind of clouds for days after hearing the experience :) Whenever I do one of those 'write down the things I'm thankful for' exercises, music is almost always in my top three.

So PLEASE - go to the April 10th concert! I really, really love Yo-Yo Ma, and to see them both together? priceless!

GO! and then tell me all about it!

xo Tammy