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Music makes me happy.

Even when it makes me sad.

Because music points to feelings that are worth feeling and things that are worth thinking about. Music connects your present, when you listen today, to your past, when you first heard that song or a period of time. The music becomes a shortcut to memories. It can even illuminate the reality unfolding right in your midst if you’re paying attention. (We’ll get to that in a moment…)

I like many species of music. But there are certain artists that capture me with both their sound and their message. One such band is Dawes. They’re from Los Angeles and I had made a passing remark to Meredith that I would love to see them live. Less than a minute had expired when she exclaimed that they were playing about an hour from our house in just a few days.

Would you look at that?

So she scooped up some seats and we made our way to the show.

We got there a little early so that we could entertain some heavy snacks and usher them properly to their seats with a couple of refreshing beverages. This was done from the parking lot, of course, while seated behind our vehicle in camping chairs. This is a typical scene at a concert, or the ones we attend at least. But we were lone tailgaters this evening. We had no neighbors to share our Italian meats, olives or grapes with. We commenced nonetheless.

Skipping over a bunch of other details, we are now about a song into Dawes and it becomes clear that this is a “no-standing” concert venue. Which is a little odd for a rock concert. But given the venue, the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater, it made sense. We have never seen a show here so we go along with it like everyone. Because if you stand a security worker will intervene. There’s a family of four that mustn’t realize the deal with being seated. The little brother and sister, both toddlers, want to dance. They start in the aisle with Mom and Dad. They end up front at the fence between the stage and the first row. It’s a beautiful moment and everyone watching has a smile on their face, including the band. But they’re asked to sit down, of course. Which bums me a little.

A few songs later the band takes a break but the lead singer stays back to play a few acoustic jams. During the first, there occurs a spat between two women sitting in the row in front of us. The woman to the right wearing the denim jacket is leaning a bit too much, I guess, as she attempts to take a photo. She’s just avoiding the heads of the folks in front of her. But she does encroach on the woman to her left who is quick to communicate the transgression. They exchange a few terse jabs and then sit 6 inches from each other for the rest of the concert. This tussle is during the first acoustic song, “Crack the Case,” which is about how we all need to extend a little more understanding to each other. I wonder if they connect these dots or not. (I didn’t see one, but I’m believing that, when I wasn’t looking, they apologized and shared a good hug.)

The show ends with the chorus to “All Your Favorite Bands” played to a mostly-standing audience. It’s perfect. I think it’s a good way to end this, too:

I hope that life without a chaperone is what you thought it’d be.

I hope your brother’s El Camino runs forever.

I hope the world sees the same person that you always were to me.

And may all your favorite bands stay together.



A little more about Erik Eustice...