So after a few minor mishaps yesterday morning I made my way out to my hometown so we could take the train into Chicago together. There is something about hoping on a train and walking around downtown that feels so, I don't know... adult, to me. Maybe it's because when I was younger I couldn't be trusted to do such things and so when most of my peers were collecting ticket stubs I was staying closer to home. Or it could be because I'm navigationally challenged and on the whole the train system is intimidating to me, something you have to be an insider to understand. There never seem to be any signs posted and yet everyone but me seems to know inherently which side of the platform to wait on, which train their supposed to get on, where the darn bathroom is. But all of that is an aside from my story....
The show itself was awesome. Sublime played well and it took me back to some of the more pleasant memories I have of my teenage years, something about their music manages to put a positive spin on a negative time in my life for me so it was a very welcome dose of nostalgia. Really though, I was blown away by 311's performance. They have so much energy live and yet manage to sound so polished and practiced... flawless really, yet not that overproduced sound I'm getting so tired of from the stuff passing as music lately. They were absolutely real and raw and all of those great things that make music an experience instead of just entertainment. One of the few bands I've seen that sound just as good, if not better live than they do in their studio recordings.
Letting loose like that with such a close friend was so very awesome, and the whole concert on it's own was a great experience to be able to tuck away in my memory banks, but honestly my favorite part about the show wasn't something about the show at all... it was watching some of the people there enjoying themselves. One guy in particular who had a spot near where we were standing for the entire duration, and I could not stop myself from looking over and just smiling. At first I thought it was funny... in a "look at that crazy guy over there, doesn't he care that everybody is staring at him?" kind of way, but my initial reaction quickly changed. I realized that he wasn't, like some of the other people there, acting out under the influence, trying to escape from something or get attention or anything other than share the happiness he had, something I sensed was completely sincere and genuine. Refreshing. So I took his lead... and for the rest of the night I let myself express my happiness, and excitement without worrying about those who may think it was silly or awkward. I figured that maybe some, or even a lot of people would think I was crazy but maybe a few would look at me and find themselves smiling like I did when I looked to my left and saw this guy, slightly older than the majority of the crowd, dancing and singing by himself while those around him nodded their heads and pumped their fists now and again... all with a huge smile of his own spread across his face... or maybe it was just his spirit I felt smiling.
There were probably plenty of others like him, but it only took one person to inspire me to open up. I tend to guard myself quite a bit in terms of how much I show of my excitement. Not usually disappointment or upset. I tend to be most uncomfortable sharing my happiness with people, like if I am bubbly and enthusiastic my authenticity will come under question. I feel most awkward in those situations, the ones where I'm really enjoying myself but don't know how it will be received if I show it, and that my friends is a sad state of affairs. Luckily one that can, and will be corrected. Not starting now either; starting yesterday.
By the end of the concert my legs felt like noodles from jumping and my head was pounding but God did it feel good to just expend all the energy I had into a complete head to toe physical expression of joy. And my night was not even over...
From the concert Leanne and I were invited to stop by her brother's place of work to run up, grab his bag and look around real quick. What made that such a treat (albiet a somewhat bittersweet one) is that he works, or I guess now the appropriate term is worked, for Q101 and when we arrived they were in the process broadcasting for the very last time over the radio waves. It was sad, and awesome and momentous. We had roughly 40 people all crammed in the studio with Chris Payne at the mic. Everyone cheering, clapping, laughing, making toasts, cracking jokes... trying not to get too sentimental, but often failing. It would have been impossible not to get somewhat mushy here and again though, I am not a member of the Q101 family and I felt myself getting teary-eyed! You could just sense the camaraderie and love in the room. It was amazing to see; to get a glimpse into the heart of something like that. This strong sense of community, and not just between those in the studio, it was a feeling of connection with this huge family of people that were listening in that moment and also those who had built an emotional connection with the radio station at different points throughout it's nearly 2 decade run.
How do you put experiences like these into words? Because, seriously... I'm out of them and yet what I've written above does not even come close.