Sometimes amazing things happen to me. Saturday night was one of the most amazing nights of my life – the kind of night I have been dreaming of me whole life. Let me set the stage.
It is my band’s video premiere at Jim’s house, a subtle and intimate venue for something that is so close to my heart. And it is perfect. John is out of town for personal reasons, so Ryan and I decide to play our planned set of 14 songs (all off the new record) as a duo. I am worried that without John on drums, we will sound hollow. John also serves as kind of an eraser, complicating our sound so that our little mistakes are covered up/blended into the rocking beat he lays down. Tonight we will be on our own.
I show up at 8 p.m., and the first non-me guests arrive at 8:30 p.m.
Earlier I had convinced Marie (not her real name) to show up. Marie is one of the biggest supporters of my music and also good friend. She was worried or uncomfortable about walking up to Jim’s house. She really wanted to attend, and she ended up doing so after I promised to personally escort her from her car to the door – a red carpet treatment.
We start playing at 10 p.m., and people cheer during the transition from Firooz’s introduction to our first chords. Then Ryan realizes that we are out of tune, so he tunes up, and I ask Firooz to re-introduce us. People laugh at the ridiculousness of the re-introduction, but I feel it is necessary. Necessary and funny. Every band should have a smooth transition into its first song.
“Let’s get funky!” climaxes when Colin walks through the door with Lars, Ellen, and Erin just in time to hear his name sung in the second verse:
“The cops showed up and put Colin away! Those fucking cops ruined my farewell from this town today!”
Amazing. Perfect timing. It should have been planned that way.
At 10:45, after burning through half of our set, I introduce Firooz, who introduces the new video. I then introduce Firooz’s new director’s chair, and he goes bonkers. A perfect moment. The surprise in his face was worth a million dollars.
After the post-video applause dies down, Ryan and I start up again. By this time, we are loose and pumped. We decide to play a hybrid of new stuff and old stuff that gets my best friends all excited. We sing together, we sweat on each other, and even the people who are experiencing this for the first time enjoy the show. They don’t know that we do this every night. All that practice with Firooz, Mandy, Jim, and Kumars around my table singing and making beats to my songs pays off in the form of a brilliant experience.
I don’t know what other people are feeling, but I am feeling bliss.
Plus, Bavery is here. He has flown up from Chicago for the evening, and is having a great time. Soon he will be back in the mix of corporate America, doing things that only high-paid marketing executives can fully-understand. But tonight he is a rock star, a guest of honor, a best friend, a supporter, and if I go any further with this it will get uncomfortable. Bavery is singing, and I think he even danced a little bit, too. He also changed my broken guitar string mid-set. Amazing!
At 2 a.m., Lisa, Jane, Katy, Kelly, Baves, Mandy, Firooz, and I are all sitting around a bucket of taco-flavored potato chips singing some of my favorite songs – mostly songs I’ve written plus select Mason Jennings covers. Miranda and Damien are anchored in the space beyond the couch, enjoying the show. There is nothing more intimately flattering than a group of friends sitting around singing songs that I helped to create. It is an amazing experience and the effects cannot be quantified. I suppose it is something like a person might feel towards her golden retriever or his cocker spaniel. I believe it stops just short of what a mother feels towards her baby. It is an intense emotion that I wish I could capture in a bottle and share with people. Instead, I try to make a mental note of how my arms and chest felt when Mandy and Firooz sang in unison, “You’ve got to get down on your knees and pray…pray for someone like me.” It is a feeling similar to that felt by Michael Jordan after his first championship. But I am no Michael Jordan.
I am an average guy who converts the biggest emotions he has ever experienced into wave forms that come out of his mouth and out of worn-out strings on an acoustic guitar. I don’t take anything for granted. I am not famous and probably never will be. But who knows? Sometimes amazing things happen.