While I was home, my dad and I went to see Stevie Nicks live at Mystic Lake in their outdoor amphitheater. (Incidentally, my ticket was supposed to be for my mom, but I took when my mother failed to name three Stevie Nicks songs… actually, she failed to name even one.) Before the concert started, when we were sitting in our seats, my dad announced that he knew his youth was over. “How?” I asked.
He took a big inhale through his nose. “Smell that?” he asked.
I smelled the air. “No… I don’t smell anything but maybe a freshly mowed lawn.”
“Exactly,” he said, “I’m at an outdoor Stevie Nicks concert and the only grass I smell is the lawn. My youth is over.”
Now, fast forward to tonight…
Brandi Carlile was opening for Ray LaMontagne at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, an outdoor amphitheater. I wasn’t originally going to go, because while I’m a fan of Brandi’s, I’d only heard two Ray LaMontagne songs and all the good seats were sold out anyhow. But this afternoon I found a seat dead center in the fourth row for face value on craigslist, so at the list minute I arranged to meet some strangers from LA whose friend had canceled on them and buy their spare ticket.
Brandi was great… played some new stuff which seems to be leaning more country than her old stuff. Then Ray came on… and well, things got aromatic. And it wasn’t just me who started smelling things. After two or three songs, Ray started to talk and introduce the band, but quickly just started laughing, “Sorry, Berkeley, but all I can smell is your pot.”
So there you are, Dad. Your youth might be over, but it’s alive and kicking in Berkeley.
And despite not knowing much about him past the two songs Pandora keeps playing for me, I’m now a definite fan of Ray LaMontagne. In particular, I have new favorite song of the moment: Like Rock and Roll & Radio. He played it as his final encore and I liked it so much I bought his new album.
I have a suspicion that not all youth is over… just mine and the atypical Stevie Nicks fans. We’re going to see Alison Kraus on Tuesday night and, well, that will just smell of bluegrass. And the crowd won’t be much younger.
In spite of the Tea Party, I’m still of the bent that this country needs more Berkeley and less suburbia, but that battle is pretty much over as well.