Sunday, September 28, 2008

It Echoes All Over the World

I love Dar Williams, and have loved her for some time now. She was one of my "Morning Show" with Dale and Jim Ed discoveries, I owe a lot of my musical preferences to my dad and Dale and Jim Ed. If you have not heard of Dar Williams, or heard any of her songs you should go listen to some right now, so this whole post doesn't seem like I am blowing things out of proportion, because as far as I know, Jana is the only fan of Dar who reads my blog.

Justin bought tickets to the Dar Williams concert at The Fillmore at Irving Plaza. Its a stage in the Union Square/NYU area. We dropped Reuben off with some friends and made our way down. We grabbed some pizza and went to get in line. It was general admission, and we weren't sure what to expect, so we stayed in line, and when we got in we discovered a large room with a stage at one end and a bar at the other, and NO CHAIRS. We went up near the stage and sat on the floor for 50 minutes, and Shawn Mullins came out to do his part of the show.

Do you remember Shawn Mullins from ten years ago? How about Rockabye? Well, he was fine, and of course hearing Rockabye was pretty fun for that sliver of me who is still a sophomore in high school. But, you have to remember that we were standing, in a crowded room, that was starting to get hot and was already humid. I had known about three of the songs already, and he is a great guitarist, but I'll be honest... I was there for Dar.

And let me tell you, it was worth it! The most uncomfortable venue I've been to, and having to be in a crowd standing for three hours, and the aching feet and back at the end of the night would be enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth... but Dar is so sweet it made it all doable.

We were two rows of people, a monitor and microphones away. It might just be my imagination, but it felt like the only thing that could have been better was sitting in the living room with her. She just seems pleasant, like she really is kind and genuine. She has an explanation for every song, sometimes insight into what inspired it, sometimes an experience she had when playing it at a different concert. She has a wonderful way with words, and listening to her talk is almost as great as listening to her sing.

I sang along. I did what little dancing the standing in the crowd would allow. I held Justin's hand. And I realized that I love Dar Williams a lot more than I thought I did. She is basically amazing. Some of the songs that I liked but didn't love now turned into love because of hearing her story to introduce it. The songs I heard from her new album are pretty great.

One of the songs that never really spoke to me until last night is "The Hudson." Something about being in New York, and having her sing it like I knew what she was talking about, and realizing that it was true--all true. "But even for us New Yorkers/there's a time in every day/the river takes our breath away." I really do go look at the Hudson every day, its my sanity, part of my beloved Riverside Park. "And as it swings through Harlem/it's every shade of blue/into the city of the new brand new."

I am also glad I can really be a fan because I knew what she meant when she said "Richard Serra...leaning like cinnabons" and "The Milgram experiment."

Jana, this is for you: She said that she used to say her hobbies were running and reading but she decided to just stop lying. She writes long lists of ways to save the environment in small worried handwriting. When she spilled her water on her face she said, "well, that's what you get when you refuse to drink out of plastic." and after trying to wipe the water off her face she asked if she "didn't look like a rabid dog."

I loved that she played "Mercy of the Fallen," and "Echoes" because I really love those songs. And it was great fun to sing along to "As Cool as I Am," and "The Christians and the Pagans." And, as an encore we got her hair down and "The Babysitter's Here."

I'm still sore from standing in that crowd for three hours, but SO, So glad I got to see Dar!


charrette said...

AHHH...I'm so jealous! I doubt she'll EVER come to Provo! (heehee)

I just emailed you an NPR interview with her talking about the concert and her new album. I was wondering if you have the new one yet, and if you like it. Sometimes they have to grow on me for awhile, and then they become my favorites. I never get sick of them.

My favorite is that she spilled water on her face. I do that far too often to admit anywhere.

I, too, love Mercy of the Fallen and Echoes. A few other favorites are The One Who Knows and What Do You Hear in These Sounds? And of course When I Was A Boy. (Yes, we've been listening since The Honesty Room came out, ages ago.)

And I was glad I understood the lyric where she rhymes enemy with hegemony. Classic!

I think the standing for three hours is the wave of the future for these smaller venues...Most of the concerts Josh goes to are that way now. Not sure how long I'd last. But I'm SO glad you got to see her! Thanks for the report.

Jed and Kate said...

I think I know (and LOVE) the Christians and the Pagans it about them having Thanksgiving together or something like that?

reno said...

Now you have another friend who knows/loves Dar Williams - me! I saw her in Seattle a few years ago and was totally blown away. I love Mercy of the Fallen... I might go listen to it right now.

charrette said...

Guess who's coming to Salt Lake? I just saw the poster yesterday. She's coming October 15th. The sad part? Is I seriously doubt we can go because it's a school night and YM/YW and....oh, and then there's the money.

But I really want to go. How can I successfully drop that hint to Jeff?