Friday, August 10, 2012

The longest I've smiled in ages

As I mentioned in yesterday's entry, earlier tonight we went to see Sarah and Ben, in their guise as The Camaraderie, play at the Deep South Bar in Raleigh. They were the first of four bands and the only one I had the chance to see. (We had to leave not long after their set due to some previously committed and important early-morning obligations.)

I know I'm biased, but still:  Their half-hour set was great.  I enjoyed every song, they were tight, the mix was well above average for a club, and they made very few missteps.  Each time I hear them, they get better.

Seriously, if you live around here, you'd be doing yourself a favor to catch them any time they're playing out.

The club had also done a good job of turning a somewhat run-down space into a neat performance venue by simply painting the walls solid colors and then writing on those walls snippets of band lyrics in mostly bold, white letters. 

Sarah came up to me before the set to point out that she would be playing on a stage whose front contained a few lines from one of her favorite bands, The Hold Steady.  Check out the writing on the black riser in the lower right of this photo.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

The full text may be hard to read, so here it is:
and I'm pretty sure we kissed
gonna walk around and drink some more
I had to point out to her the Jim Morrison lyrics that you can see in the upper right of this picture.

Yeah, I liked the place.

About halfway through the set, as I was listening to the music and watching them play and sing, I realized I had been smiling for some time.  The smile stayed on my face for almost the whole time they were on the stage.  I realized that seeing my children excel at something they love is a tremendous source of joy for me.  Watching Sarah on that stage was simply wonderful.

You may have noticed that I said the smile was on my face for almost the whole set.   The only time it wasn't came when they finished the song, "The Ladder," and in rapid order I remembered 
My mother loved that song.

My mother would have loved to see this show.

My mother is dead and never will see Sarah and Ben on stage together.  
My vision turned watery for a moment, and my heart felt slow and heavy, but then I recalled the times Mom got to see Sarah perform in orchestra concerts and in recitals.  I reminded myself that Mom loved Sarah and Scott, and she was incredibly proud of them.  She missed this show, and I am sad for that, but she saw a lot. 

I also know for certain that she would have understood exactly how I felt, because even though we couldn't really afford it, she somehow managed to scrape together the funds to take me to see Richard Kiley in the road show of The Man from La Mancha when it came to the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg when I was a teenager.  She and I loved that show, and she gave me a gift that on that night helped define me, that made me always and forever want to be a better man.

Then Sarah and Ben started a new song, my grief retreated to the hole it will probably always occupy in me, and the smile returned to my face. 

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