I have endured a hundred deaths by sunlight rolled into one.
And now come the feelings.
I want to write, primarily because when you come back from an event where you get to watch people you love, a succession of people you love, doing huge creative acts all over your face and eardrums, as a creative person, there’s a tsunami of energy within you (or at least within me) that responds. That wants to respond in kind, which, can be rough when you just came from a concert where 20,000 people surged and swayed and screamed while waves of musical virtuosity filled an entire mountainside with joy.
You can go for that, but you might also be mentally prepared to fall a bit short.
I want to write, but I need to talk about this weekend. I owe, I think, more than five hundred words today, anyway. For Friday and Saturday, if we’re being honest and if it costs me nothing, I’m fine with honesty. So we’ll see how far the tale of this weekend gets us.
It was, overall, a success. If only because it made me come to terms with certain facts about myself. I am only as tall as I am – five foot and a single solitary inch. Trying, with my passive nature to stay up front at a concert, will just leave me with a sunburn to beat all other sunburns. I am wearing it now as a testament to my love of music and my own reckless stupidity, but I am deeply glad that we ended up moving at the end so that I could at least see what we’d traveled to see. And that part was amazing. Thrilling.
We did it, but man. So, after my hotel room was not honored for reasons that have never been elucidated, we had to camp. I have also learned and accepted that I can camp, I can physically lay down on the dirt and sleep in chilly air, and wake up full of snot and survive, but that I don’t like it. Thankfully, our neighbor camper had a mallet to help us whack in our tent stakes otherwise we would have been lost. The car was parked about a half a mile away so we only took bare essentials, not the cushy mattress pads I’d bought the day before we left, but that also meant a lot of walks to the car to get things that ended up being essential.
Walking was a major theme, including flipping off the perfectly adjacent hotel we were not allowed to stay at as we went. After walking a thousand miles to find a restaurant I have eaten at twice before, or more, in the fog of memory, only to find it closed as the owners were retiring (and apparently disinterested in updating their social media with such news), we went to a little coffee shop. They were amazed as a huge line of wristbanded customers came in after us, all for the show. This coffee shop was well off the beaten path and I was pleased that the show seemed to be working as advertised, an attempt to bring folks into town to experience all of what made it charming and to do business. At least in that particular coffee shop, they couldn’t get the white mochas out fast enough.
Eventually, though, the music gained primacy.
-Jack Garratt? Be still my heart. He was our #1 takeaway artist.
-Tune-Yards were as awesome as I hoped from their videos and Merril Garbus’ voice just rolled through the mountains. Loved it.
-James Vincent McMorrow, another new surprise, much more intense and lively than expected.
-Jenny Lewis made a playlist just for me, I think. I cried for Jenny Lewis.
-The worst (and sometimes best) thing about concerts is, as always, the other people attending. Tall people, you have a right to be up close and see what you want to see, but goddamn it, get there early and don’t slide up and block people literally eighteen inches shorter than you who can’t move to get a better view.
-Marcus Mumford is an actual beast (we knew this, but wow). He was like a tiger, stalking the stage, like the energy was driving him out of his mind. If you didn’t know he was lying on his back on a wave of people whilst he was singing, you’d have never guessed. Didn’t drop a note. Funny, magnetic, perfect with a voice like a vibrator.
-Winston doesn’t have to say anything (we also knew this, but it was fun to have it confirmed yet again), just take that banjo/guitarist/Captain Morgan stance with his hair in the breeze, add some smoke and lasers and I am gone to the world.
-Ben and Ted as genuine, kind, and unflappable as they just keep the madness going.
Yes. Victory. Red as a beet. Burnt to a crisp. Love those boys and love these Stopovers.
My brain and my heart in separate corridors both did some curious aching. Staring at couples, watching a couple get engaged on stage, feeling the exile embedded in the countryside. Maybe it makes me want to scream and holler and yelp and keen and tear the stars out of the sky.
Mumford, of course, made any of the aforementioned trials and tribulations remarkably worthwhile. They are tonic. They are perfect, they worry me a bit having cared about them for so long, but they have notched out a place in my heart and that is where they set.