Even so, I must say I was having some serious regrets after the first thirty minutes of stop-and-go traffic. I was inching along, riding on my brakes, debating whether it would be easier to cry, pound the steering wheel, or just turn around and go back to work. I don't especially like driving during good conditions, and these certainly weren't them. But I persevered, and eventually I found myself at the Ark. Neat place, lots of great music -- now if only it was nearer to home....
Anyway. I made it precisely sixty seconds before the doors were scheduled to open, and some lovely friends had saved me a place in line. I ended up a second-row seat and an excellent view. What a great show!
It surprised me a bit that "Dar" was one of the un-asked-about interests on my list. I don't know if it was too small to attract attention, or if it's just that everybody already knows and loves her. Just in case it's not the second, I will tell you about this lovely singer/songwriter. She does some beautiful songs, some funny ones, and some that just make you want to dance and sing. I'd also like to point out that she is the one and only person (other than me) currently quoted on my userinfo page.
"...and as long as she's got noise, she is fine....but I could teach her how I learned to dance when the music's ended." -Dar Williams
Lots of her lyrics hit me like that, in little one-line moments of clarity. That line, for example -- almost anybody can dance to music they can hear, but how do you keep dancing when you're in so empty and dark of a place that even the music is gone? I put that line on my profile because this is what I'm learning to do, trying to learn to do: keep moving, keep dancing.
Along with the lyrics, her music is also great. Some of it is fast and fun, and some of it is poignantly beautiful. The thing about music, of course, is that writing about it isn't really effective. It's like perfume. What's the point of visiting a perfume's web page, after all? Words don't really convey smell, nor do they really do much for music.
So, since I'm pumped up on post-Dar thrill, I thought I'd share that song with anybody who reads this. I've uploaded it here for you: As Cool As I Am. Download it, take a listen, and see if it brings you a smile! She has lots of other amazing songs; it was nearly impossible to pick just one to share. Mostly I selected this one because I've quoted it, so it's extra-relevant.
Another line from this song is, "And then I go outside to join the others / I am the others" It was really cool, because this was one of the last songs she did. Her whole band was on stage, plus the three (delightfully surprising in their harmony) singers from the opening act, Girlyman. When she got to that moment in the song, the music stopped for a moment and all eight or so people on the stage sang it in unison: I am the others! The audience sang it right along with them.
There was an instant where time froze, and I looked at the group on stage. Some older musicians, focused on their instruments, a new mom singing lead, an stunning keyboardist who couldn't stop smiling, the tomboy girl with the tribal drum, the awkward blond guy with face painted pale and lips a little too dark, the beautiful asian with chaotic hair, and briefly they all looked out at us through their souls. We were all The Others, and we were all together in the music.
Then I reconnected, and they all started harmonizing their way through the chorus. I stood up and clapped, relieved that I hadn't turned my car around earlier, that I'd made the nasty drive to briefly join the others for some music.