Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Living the Dream


I saw the Killers in concert the other day. Before 06 began, I had never been to a concert before in my entire life. But now, in 10 months, I’ve been to 5. Sitting in the theatre at Madison Square Garden, while sipping on a Dewar’s on the rocks double, I waited for my fifth show to begin.

Brandon Flowers stepped on stage for a disappointing 45 minutes to play material mainly from his new album “Sam’s Town”, a place I certainly don’t want to visit after his concert. The Killers are considered one of the top modern rock bands in America, however, the lack of passion and energy in their performance left me convinced that they were undeserving of such a title.

Now here’s a man who’s living the dream.

Brandon Flowers is a Mormon member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (yes, that stupid ass church we saw commercials for while growing up) who was born in Vegas a little more than two years after me. During college, he realized he wanted to become a musician, thus pursued it and never looked back. Now here I was, watching this Mormon mildly rocking out on stage, for a screaming crowd of thousands, and I searched for an emotion. Something. Anything. I reached deep into my gut, into my soul and pulled out: envy.

I saw Nicola perform the other day. Nicola’s the lead singer of an aptly named band called “Nicola”. She’s a graduate from the LaGuardia School of the Performing Artists. She has a beautiful voice, and she’s a struggling artist from New York City, who’s living the dream. I knew who she was because of Myspace. She’s one of those artists who use Myspace as a means to promote her music by adding friends and gaining support. I happened to stumble upon her page one day and listened. And now here I was, watching her perform live.

It was one of those early fall Saturday afternoons when Winter teases you with a cold breeze, but the sun keeps your skin feeling hot. I bolted out of my apartment with only 10 minutes to catch the LIRR. Whenever someone’s running frantically in the middle of Manhattan, I always assume they just did something illegal. The way I was running, people must’ve thought I just committed murder. Sweating profusely, I ran down the escalator with a minute to spare, and saw that the line for tickets was longer than the line at most DMV’s. I frantically ran from line to line, looking for the shortest one, and found on the far end a ticket booth with only one patron. I tapped my feet. I obnoxiously looked at my watch. I huffed, I puffed, I blew my tact down, and when she finally left, my fingers skillfully navigated through that touch screen ticket machine with the grace of Beethoven. I snatched the ticket, and made a mad dash for my train, just in time to see it pull away. Then I did the customary sigh, the loud one that announces that you missed the train to all in the vicinity who are spectators to the crazy running man. By this time, I was sweating like a 4th quarter Shaq. So, feeling defeated, I plodded over to the deli in the station to grab a drink.

After purchasing a Gatorade, I heard it: the unmistakable sound of a musician checking to see if a guitar is tuned. I couldn’t really tell where it was coming from until I heard her start singing. I spotted her near the back of Penn Station and got closer to hear her better. There she was, a lone girl, strumming on a guitar, singing a song called “Don’t Take it Personally”. She was awesome. She sang with so much passion. I could see in her eyes the wear and tear of the city. I could hear in her voice that she’d give anything to live and die as a musician. And here I was, watching this fellow New Yorker rocking out to a silent crowd of 1.

After she was done, she looked up at me and we locked eyes for a second. I fumbled backwards, feeling awkward, and started walking away. As I walked, I felt oddly numb, and so I searched for an emotion. Something. Anything. I reached deep into my gut, into my soul and pulled out: pity.

Don’t take it personally…


Blogger Barbtender said...

I have to say B, that's one of your best posts in a long time. Glad to see the writer's block has lifted.

Great live music is an amazing experience. Just saw Jose Gonzalez and Zero-7 perform a couple of months ago at the Commodore ballroom in Vancouver, BC. Awesome.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey B,
I love what you wrote in your blog, and how you were affected that day by my music...that is why we do what we do... and am so happy to know that you posted this and we could spread the word to our fans...you are indeed a wonderful writer!
Hope you can make it down to our big CD Release Party this Friday, Nov. 17th. @ 10pm (Bowery Poetry Club - 308 Bowery) I can guarantee you a show and a half of excitement!

8:34 AM  

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