I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've tried 'em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.
Susan Sarandon in "Bull Durham"
The most amazing religious experience I ever had occurred after graduating college. I was visiting a friend of a friend at an all-black, Seventh Day Adventist college in Huntsville, Alabama. We all went to church on the Sabbath and, as you can imagine in a southern church, there was singing. This was not the typical white church Sunday morning murmmerings. This was calling out to the Lord to come down and sing next to you- and he would be a fool to NOT answer your call, singing. Solos that curled your toes. The choir raising the roof. The congregation standing and swaying and singing along.
I had goosebumps. I felt God all around me. I sang along, and clapped til my hands were sore. (My friend, also white, clapped on the off beat at one point and we both looked at each other, giggling, hoping no one noticed!).
It was the music which helped bring the religious spirit home to me.
During the 90s, we'd visit the Gospel Tent at the Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans when Aaron Neville (The Neville Brothers) would guest sing with a local choir. Hearing that man belt out "Amazing Grace" in his unique way was always a highlight for me (and Scott would always sing from his commercial- 'the touch, the feel of cotton'). Those 4 days of music were always so spirit lifting.
After much soul searching and without being blasephemous, I can honestly say that I believe in the Church of Live Music. (It doesn't matter where you feel spiritual, as long as you do). For me, seeing a band play enlivens my soul and that is where I always feel the most alive. I married a man who, well, we've never actually discussed this, but I think he may feel the same way. I felt so lucky to have found someone who shares my musical inclination, and who was as willing, if more so, to be in a mosh pit one night then at a Dead Show the next, smiling all the while (or perma-grin, as we call it).
When Scott & I took our very young kids to see their first live band- a U2 cover band (one of my all time favorite bands-U2, not the cover band), the kids were jumping, clapping & having a ball. Scott & I were both so proud. It's genetic! They ARE little US!
At a concert this summer, a man was in the row in front of me. Let's describe him as being a rather large man; of generous proportion. The show started and he got to his feet with the crowd. I watched him jump and dance and clap for the entire time the band played. It had to be the most excercise he'd had in years, and he was dripping sweat by the encore. But he was blissful. He is clearly a member of the flock.
While I am an admitted music snob, I do always get excited when someone tells me they are seeing a band (even if the thought of seeing that band myself would send chills of horror (snob, I say!) up my spine.) I always want to hear about their experiences at the show. What they sang. How they performed... (Wendy, I'm looking at you seeing Brittany Spears, but I heard all about the show!).
My favorite hair cutting gal Laura was all excited to see a show with her high school BFFs. They were all going to see 'New Kids on the Block' and 'Backstreet Boys'. I could not help but laugh (nose in air), but the next time I saw her, I asked how the show was. She gushed for 15 minutes about the people in the crowd and the bands performances. She was totally feeling it, even weeks later, and loved it.
My friends the MacKenzies get the 3-Day Lollapalooza passes and this year, brought their 3 and 7 year old girls in for free on Friday night. I love that their youngest Lilly told me that the last band she saw were The Kills. What an experience!
What concert has stayed with you? Why? And if you feel like sharing- what are your top five concerts ever?
Nirvana at Aragon Ballroom
Sonic Youth at The Riv
The Head and the Heart opening for The Decemberists at Interlochen, MI 2011
Pearl Jam opens for Smashing Pumpkins & The Red Hot Chili Peppers- at Aragon 1991
Paul Simon with Ladysmith Black Mombazo 1991
I wonder who will be Sam and Zoe's favorite? I hope I get to go with them!