Monday, June 15, 2009

Coldplay Concert

I recently saw Coldplay in concert here in Indianapolis. They were traveling through Nap-town as part of their summer 2009 US tour, and I decided to gift myself with an early birthday present. Not long after Snow Patrol was added to the show, which only doubled my excitement.

So late on a Friday afternoon, the Mrs., The Drew Cooper and I gave Grandpa Joe and Grandma Lis a little bit of instruction for the kids, a lot of “thanks”, and pulled out of the gravel drive way of Farm Kendall. While Anna slept in the backseat – enjoying a brief respite from work and kids – Drew and I caught up while we inched the final five miles on I-69.

The concert was set to begin at 7:00 pm that evening, so when we parked the Scion at 6:55 we figured we had just made it in time. We walked up a hill and then back into the bowl of the Verizon Center laying down a blanket on a patch of grass – facing the sun’s last drive of glory and waiting for the coolness of dusk to take over.

While listening to the first group – the one before Snow Patrol – Anna, Drew and I noticed something. There were lots of young people around us. Lots. And we didn’t feel like we belonged with them. Despite the seventy-year old couple in front of us – he with his nice khakis, cloth belt and button-down shirt – and the occasional thirty-somethings, we were awash in a sea of adolescence and fraternity guys.

Since I didn’t care much for the opening act and because I don’t get the chance to “people watch” out in the country, I scanned the crowd in pure amazement. And within the first fifteen minutes I was particularly struck by a group of young “kids”, although they no doubt thought themselves very old. They congregated to the right of us. The guys greeting one another with hands clutched between them as they drew one another into a type of Centurion hug. The girls stood near each other, talking with one another and peering like their male companions out of the corner of their eyes, always looking for someone else’s interest.

These high-schoolers sported their various athletic and AE gear. That I expected. But, upon a second look I realized that one of the young men had not just an AE Eagle on, but one from the school of Zionsville, the very same where I spent my years of self-indulgent wandering and discovery.

I’ve said to many people that my own father cannot go back home because the place where he grew up has largely faded into history – families and classmates have disappeared to bigger cities for bigger homes and smaller yards. For me, the opposite is true. I can no longer go home because the community I once knew has turned into a suburban sprawl, a vast empire of subdivisions that are named – as Barbara Kingsolver says – after the very animals that were killed to make space for its inhabitants: e.g. – Deer Run.

So, I watched these young men and women with a faint memory of something past and a strong realization that a chasm had formed between myself and my childhood.

But, this I noticed as well: the young women were dressed in clothing that barely covered their forming frames. And, I – for the first time – grew frightened for my daughter. I kid you not … one of the girls mingling her way through the crowd of boys wore what I can only describe as her pajamas, and the irony and shocking reality of our culture – where children go so quickly from slumber parties to sexual discovery – stood right before me.

Oh, Wyatt and Elise. What sort of world have you been born into?

Snow Patrol finally arrived on stage, and for a brief time, I was drawn again to the stage. But, by now the sun still seemed dreadfully awake and my body felt weary for the fourteen plus hours it had been working this day.

By 8:30 Snow Patrol was done. I was revived by the prospect of Coldplay finally arriving on the stage and the cool calm of the sun’s exit. But, the tech’s just kept coming and going upon the stage. The night wore on. I languished and thought of napping, and the joy of a beer and a bag of peanuts began to seem a rather foolish investment for dinner.

Finally, though, with the grand blaring of a classical masterpiece, Coldplay arrived on the stage.
They began with the soft sounds of “Life in Technicolor,” the opening track off their latest album: Viva La Vida. And sure to form, the stage was decorated in what can only be described as Oriental French Revolution, the very same themes hammered into the album.

For the next hour and a half I would see first-hand a group that both my brother-in-law, Kyle, and my best friend, Andrew, told me was the concert to see. They told me it was an experience. Well, maybe my hopes had been raised too high because it was and it wasn’t.

What I did appreciate – what floored me and awed me – was the unbelievable energy of Chris Martin, the lead singer for the group. From the beginning of the show, he worked himself into his music – drawing up references in my own mind to Mick Jagger.

Drew was also mesmerized by Chris’ energy. And as the concert wore on we began to speculate: do you think he … you know … uses? I suppose it’s the obvious question given the history of Rock and their artists. I felt a bit ashamed asking the question though. Who am I to call Chris Martin’s life into question?

Well, unfair as it may be, I ask it again. How did he discover a fountain of youth? Where does he get his energy? And, indirectly but just as importantly, where is mine?

I would say that entering my thirties has largely been a lesson on limits. Or maybe that came with children. Either way, both children and my body tell me young people have it, and I do not have it like I once did. And, I grow more and more curious to find a source of life that can sustain me for the long haul.

Who knows what that is for Chris Martin and Coldplay? Maybe it is just finding a way to do something you really, really love with people you really enjoy being around. Maybe it is learning how to rest well in order to perform well. Maybe it is unnatural.

I don't know. But, I do know that I don’t want to follow death and all of his friends either, Chris.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Best of 2008 - #2

You never know how the Spirit is going to blow … or where … or when. But, like Al Green I was hoping for a long time that the Spirit might come and revive my weary soul.

2008: a geyser burst forth from deep in my soul and the joy of my salvation came back. And a reality so significant, so important, demanded a song. My soul needed to sing. No, not just sing. I needed to dance.

Well thank you Mr. Drew Cooper for giving me the song that embodied the renewal – a song capable of matching the movement of the Spirit within me: Believe Again by Delta Goodrem, the Tommy Trash Remix.

Tommy Trash is a DJ from Australia, and he took this relatively well known pop hit and gave it texture and depth.

I can already hear your comments. “Is he serious?” Yes, I am. And, yes I know it begins like something from A Night at the Roxbury. But stick with it. I promise the deeper bass beat will get you rockin’ in your chair, and what Tommy is doing is building …

And building …

And building …

He’s letting the belief rise in you and if you let yourself fall into the hypno-syntho-pulse … you’ll see.

Then ... listen to Delta Goodrem sing you into a journey:

“Have you ever stared into the rain, thought the clouds would never disappear? Have ever screamed out in the dark – thinking no one else will hear?


“I’ve lost my faith in love. Tonight I believe again. My heart was a broken place, and now I feel whole again. And you bring me honesty, and that’s worth believing in. And I believe …

I believe … again.”

Now sit with it. Let it go deep.

“I believe again.”

And here, this is the part I love … about two minutes forty seconds in (and then again from four minutes on).

Pulsing. Alive. Strong. Belief.

Do you feel it?

But maybe you won’t. Because you can’t control the Spirit. It blows where it wills.

And when it blows you best just let it have its way.


p.s. - Drew ... we will be hosting a rave sometime in the next year, right?

Soy Vey!

It's happened. The first dramatic loss of the growing season. Sometime during the night watch a critter from the country gorged itself upon a lush row of edamame. Presumably, the culprit was a bunny.

I now retract all sympathy offered for all Sylvilagus Transitionalis during this tragic situation.