Saturday Six #20: Concerts

Even though I love music, I’m not a huge concert-goer. I can’t really explain why. Music often moves me to tears, especially live music, but for some reason, attending concerts was never a priority for me. Even so, I have been to a handful of good ones (some of which will prove what a nerd I truly am).

Sarah Brightman. I had a tiny obsession with The Phantom of the Opera when I was in junior high, and I was lucky enough to see the musical twice in Toronto. But my dad also took us to an outdoor venue to hear Sarah Brightman sing a whole slew of Andrew Lloyd Weber songs, and that felt pretty cool, too.

Five Iron Frenzy. I saw this Christian ska band in concert twice during college. Yes, I had a punk/ska phase, which really went no further than wearing short-sleeved band t-shirts over long-sleeved white t-shirts, woven cloth belts, and flare corduroy pants. But I loved Five Iron Frenzy, knew every word to every song, and to this day appreciate how deep and thoughtful their lyrics could be.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Christmas Concerts. During and after college, my best friend (whom I met when I was four) and I used to attend a Christmas concert each year at Orchestra Hall in downtown Detroit. We played clarinet together in band, and this annual tradition was one of my favorites. We chose a variety of different shows, from Handel’s Messiah to carols to The Nutcracker, and the evening always included dressing up and going to dinner.

The Lord of the Rings. I’ve already mentioned my past obsession with The Lord of the Rings. With my same clarinet-playing friend, we went to a live performance of music from The Lord of the Rings films, complete with a massive slide show of concept art from the movies. That’s right, concept art. It was incredible and moving and the perfect place to wear my elven pin.

Paul McCartney. When I worked for an insurance agency, collision centers and clean-up service companies would often drop off free gifts because we made referrals. I’m sure this was all legit and not any sort of bribery or rewards program…right? Once, our office got a pair of tickets to see Paul McCartney, circa 2006. I don’t remember the exact circumstances of how these tickets fell into my hands, but they did. A friend and I went to that concert together, and it was a really unforgettable experience.

Michael Bublé. The same friend with whom I saw Paul McCartney managed to get two tickets for a great price to see Michael Bublé…in row M. Or some other ridiculously close row. Man, that was amazing. He’s such an exuberant entertainer, even back when he was still a bit “new.” Oddly enough, I also learned that he wasn’t the most, shall we say, “family friendly” entertainer, which was scandalous to me back in those days! She and I saw him again years later, and we almost saw him together a third time before COVID shut down the world.

I hope I have more concerts in my future, when it’s safe. Maybe I’ll even get to be one of those lucky tween parents who takes their screaming daughters to hear the latest craze in music. But most importantly, I will always be thankful for the ways music moves and inspires me, whether it’s live or not.

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