Thursday, May 28, 2009

An evening at RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles

I've never seen a tribute concert before. They've always seemed vaguely creepy and sacrilegious. I mean, come on. The Beatles are...the Beatles. If you weren't around to hear them, well, at least you also weren't around to live through the Vietnam War. Tough luck, right?

Not so! Read on...

I won't describe the costumes or lights except to say they properly set the mood. The video content that helped put the music in historical context was an integral part of the evening. Musicianship and showmanship? Check and check. The show was well executed, without a doubt. It had a familiar, comfortable feel to it; like a visit to an old friend whom you have seen in years but with whom you can simply pick up old conversations.

Some thoughts that popped into my head during the show:

Hang on, WHY do I know all of these songs? My parents weren't hippies. They grew up in the 60's but they were not flower children. Did they listen to the Beatles when I was growing up? I'm embarrassed to admit I don't know. I remember that my school choirs sang Beatles medleys, anchored by Hey Jude and Let It Be. I bought the "Past Masters" albums. But that's not enough for all of these songs to sink so deeply into my memory that I recognize them with no more than a few introductory chords. How is that possible?

On the other hand, how is it possible that I don't know every word and chord of While My Guitar Gently Weeps? Mental note: buy the White Album as soon as possible.

Give Peace a Chance: Wow. What would I have been if I'd lived in that time? A peace-loving, pot-smoking hippie? A pragmatist who wants to be a peace-loving hippie, but can't quite surrender to idealism, like I am today? Or something else completely?

Imagine: Oh man. It's eerie to watch someone play John Lennon; almost like I'm spying on a ghost. I want to go where the music is taking us; down a road of protest and advocacy for peace at all costs. And it really hurts, in my heart, when I realize it's not that simple

A sublime moment, in the first stanzas of Let It Be, as a quiet, reverent blend of audience voices wafts through the hall.

Roars, screams, cheers, audience that really means that standing ovation.

A wonderful night of music and nostalgia for an era that passed before I was born.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What's behind your facebook update?

It's raining, for the 6th day in a row. It's Monday, with a week of chaos ahead. The day started poorly and went downhill from there. You slogged through it, dragged your sorry self back to the ranch after 10 hours in the office, and for some reason (narcissistic tendencies, maybe, or simply a need to share), you log on to facebook.

Now, you're faced with a decision. Do you post how crappy your life seems right now - which could potentially alarm your friends, co-workers, or even relatives (while secretly delighting the enemies you have friended) - or do you come up with a half-truth that hides your deeper issues?

Do you choose:

"God, my life sucks. I'm miserable at the moment."


"Had a long day. Glad to be home."

The answer to this question probably reveals some deep personal psychological tendencies. A grant-funded study opportunity if ever there was one.

Memorial Day

It's strange that one day, of 365, is designated as a day when we should remember those who have died fighting in America's Armed Forces. I would hope we'd remember them every day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Customer Service

Attention, airlines. In particular, USAir. This is no newsflash, but your customer service is abysmal. And I know it really doesn't matter, because we're all going to search for the cheapest fare when we need to fly. But I am hereby promising to do my best to avoid you at all cost, USAir. You did everything you could to make my life more difficult. That is the definition of a company that doesn't care about me. And frankly, I don't care about you. Yes, I'm thankful my plane landed safely. But that's your job, your core competancy. It's the other stuff that matters. And in that, you failed.

In contrast, I'm sending out a cosmic thanks to the waitress at the Charlotte airport Chili's, who took the few seconds, after asking me what I wanted to drink, to ask if I was having a good day so far. I lied and said yes. She got a big tip. USAir's getting a nasty letter. Not that it will matter, since they probably get hundreds a day.