A week ago, I went to see Southern Soul Assembly
- a musical collaboration of southern rock/blues artists Luther Dickinson (North
Mississippi All Stars), J.J. Grey (Mofro), Marc
Broussard and Anders Osborne.
I know what you're probably thinking - even you huge music fans - huh? Who is that? I hadn't heard of them either, nor had most of the music-lovers in my life.
This concert came about, as many of them lately do, because of Jacob. His next level knowledge and commitment to seeing concerts has forced me to question what I thought was a healthy and sincere love of live music. Every week, I sit in annoyed anticipation of what new artist(s) I've never heard of will be coming to town - I can almost guarantee that he's heard of them, loves them, and is dying to see them live.
There are far worse boyfriend problems to have, I know, and Jacob has proven time and time again, he knows good bands and good concerts. I almost always end up apologizing for my resistance somewhere between the second and third songs. Southern Soul Assembly was no exception. The show was awesome.
Like, "I feel like I'm in my friend's basement drinking canned beer and everyone can sing and is playing random shit on guitars and telling stories and making fun of themselves," kind of awesome.
After his iPad malfunctioned at the start of the show, Anders Osborne was forced to sing the songs he knew from memory, which according to him, wasn't that many.
"I did too many drugs," he laughed with the audience, "I can't remember shit."
J.J. Grey started to play one song when someone from the audience yelled out, "Slow, Hot and Sweaty." He paused, put down the guitar he was playing, and said, "Oh, alright," fulfilling the fan's request.
There were lots of self-deprecating, funny stories told about wives and kids and traveling together. But mostly the night was full of amazing musical moments that made for some serious head-nodding, toe-tapping, and for a handful of middle aged women standing in the front, a whole lot of booty-shaking.
Despite not knowing a lot of the songs I heard, I left the show with a huge smile on my face and a pep in my step.
In fact, I likened the evening to those blissful first months of a new relationship when you're first falling in love; when every conversation is flirtatious and fulfilling, every date is more exciting and fun than the last.
Which each song, the adoration between the musicians on the Soul Assembly Tour seemed to grow. There was no competition, no disagreements, no egos - their energy and
chemistry was sky-high. I pictured the four of them trying to end a phone conversation and imagined hearing a lot of, "No, you hang up!" If they all weren't so cute and talented
and entertaining, I'd want to roll my eyes at them.
There truly is no other feeling quite like the "new relationship" feeling.
What musician wouldn't want to experience that kind of love fest on stage?
I had to wonder, though, if like settling into the day-to-day normalcy of a stable relationship can feel like a let down, if these musicians returned to their regular gigs and thought to themselves, "Oh, you again?"
My desire to "chase the new" is what started this blog in the first place, so I know that worry and the anxiety that comes from worrying that I might wake up one day and realize that all I've done with my life is the same old, status quo. The same is true of relationships - I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss that "new relationship" feeling that ceases to exist after being with the same person for a long time. Maybe that's one of the reasons I'm 33 and not married?
On the other hand, there's something about someone who knows you well
-someone who knows the song you're going to play before you play it and knows every word by heart.
Just one day after the Southern Soul Assembly, a few of my girlfriends and I went to see George Strait at Phillips Arena. This country crooner's performance couldn't have been more different than Friday's show - from an intimate venue in Center Stage to a sold-out Phillips arena; from new guys jamming on multiple instruments, to one guy, with one guitar playing a perfectly timed show full of his greatest hits.
There was part of me who wished George Strait would do something crazy or bring a special guest out on stage to play "Baby Blue," but besides a Tom Petty cover that wasn't very well received, he pretty much played the same decades-old songs he's been playing since he started. I knew every word and sang along. Loudly.
That too, was awesome.
In relationships, my job, my life, I struggle with the constant desire for things to be new! different! better! - like the Southern Soul Assembly. I never want to stop trying new things and challenging myself personally and professionally, but sometimes the classics - the same old - are comforting and exactly what I need.
Just like a George Strait song.