30 October 2006

Sometimes good things do happen

I often think of my life as a comedy of errors. Sort of Murphy’s Law, where whatever can go wrong will go wrong, you know? And if you know me, you know that this is absolutely true.

Well, every once in a while something happens to give me a little bit of hope.

I don’t go to many concerts, but decided a few years ago that I would do my best to see my favorites at least once. I saw Angie Stone for free on Summer Stage in Central Park on my 31st birthday. My mother and sister-in-law tagged along, after the concert we had lunch on 72nd between Columbus and Amsterdam at one of my favorite spots in NYC, Dinastia China. Ecuadorian Spanish/Chinese food. Then I saw Erykah Badu at Radio City the next year on Valentine’s Day. I paid $75 for the ticket, put on all black, wrapped up my head, and went alone. It was worth the money. The last person on my list was India.Arie, and as chance would have it she played at the Wilshire on October 20th and a friend told me about it.

I am a FAN of India.Arie. Not fanatical, but I love her music. She is a brown girl singing my life. I’m worried that she will outgrow me, fall in love and leave me behind by singing of nothing but her joy and the wonderfulness of her man and their love together. So far I’ve been super lucky, the road she is on is still bumpy and I can still relate. Although I’m about 5 years older than she is, we seem to be living in unison, and she sings my life, my pain…and on this last album my hope.

So, it was supposed to be Viviana, Joseline and I going to the concert. Viviana went to the box office and we ended up with the $60 tickets. We were in the back section of the first level of the theatre, to the right of center. The seats were good. Viviana's grandfather passed away and she had to go to Tijuana for the services on Friday so we had to find somethign to do with her ticket. I called one of Kasan's friends to see if he wanted to buy in but he couldn't, he was going to DC for a wedding, and I couldn't think of anyone else who even knew her music. So Viviana decided to give it to one of her co-workers, Van. She's in Administration at a Charter School in South LA and he's a teacher. So he met us at the theatre, which is right around the corner from my school.

Robin Thicke opened for her, and he was okay. Everything was too loud to hear his voice clearly or make out any of the lyrics so it was just okay.

After Robin Thicke finished Van said he was going to get a beer. So Joseline and I just chit chatted. Van came back right before the show started with bottles of water. He said that the line for the bar was too long so he went outside to smoke and when he was coming back he ran into two of his students and they gave him water for all of us (he teaches high school, algebra, pre-algebra and geometry). The lights dimmed and the band started with a Stevie Wonder song...I can't remember which, and the audience sang along. All the lights were out and the band had their cell phones open and were waving them and eventually so was everyone in the audience. Then the lights came up and she strutted out in all sorts of clothing. A robe like thing over a dress with long sleeves and her hair wrapped up into this wild afro puff and she started with “I Am Not My Hair” and as the song progressed she began to disrobe. She took off the sunglasses, then the brown robe and when she got to the part about shaving it off like a South African beauty off came the a hair and the crowd went even wilder than they had when she strutted out initially. Her hair is about half an inch long and twisted into little beadies, dyed a deep auburn with a red strip that went from her right temple to the left nape.

Then she sat down in her white outfit...it looked like a dress, funky sleeves that were long and flowy. She did the very last song on her new album, I think of it as This Too Shall Pass (but it’s “Untitled”) while playing the piano. Then she did “These Eyes” and one of the lines in that song is "these arms are letting you go" and she would wave her arms out to the side like she was doing the break dance move where they pass the move off to the other person....and the flowly sleeves looked amazing. Then she did a song called “Private Party,” at which time she got out of the top with the flowy sleeves and the skirt, and had on all white. Pants, a tank and under the white tank what looked like an orange sports bra, an orange scarf wrapped around her hips with what looked like a net with little gold coins on it and knee high at least four inch cognac brown boots. She was fierce.

After that it's all a blur. She sang for two hours straight. She told about how she worked thru her emotions & issues to write each song. She talked about meeting Nelson Mandella. She sang one verse of “Tell Me Something Good,” she started to play another song (I think it was a Bill Withers song, but I'm not sure) and this harmonica started to play off stage. She was alone on the stage at this point sitting with her guitar, and then Stevie Wonder came out of the wings. She must not have expected him because she was super excited. She walked him off stage after telling us how much he loved her. Then she came back and sat down and said "I know I'm asking too much, but do you think you would...maybe when you hear this," and she started to strum Redemption Song. So I got to see/hear India.Arie and Stevie Wonder sing a Bob Marley song.

In the midst of all this madness Van's students came into the theatre and he came back from talking to them and said "give me a hug on the first day you met me." So I hugged him and he said “I got backstage passes.” It was too much, I swear I got a little light headed. She did most of her new album, and the two songs with Stevie Wonder, Tell Me Something Good...I think there was another song she did that wasn't hers....then she went into her old stuff. Brown Skin, The Truth, Strength Courage & Wisdom, Video....I don't know what else and she left the stage and the crowd did the standing O…So, she came back out and said that she had to come back because we wouldn’t stop clapping and she sang “Ready for Love” to close the show.

I would have been happy with that for my $60, but we had BACKSTAGE PASSES!!!!!

Then we waited for her to come out to the VIP section. We didn't have any cameras, nothing for her to sign....johnny come lately unprepared! In my defense, the tickets said no cameras and I've been to places where they confiscate at the door....not this place. So here come Van's students again with a small poster AND a magic marker. After we said good night and thanks to the students Van turned and handed me the stuff. I asked quietly, “I can have these?” He said: “Girl, you knew every word to EVERY song she sang, you deserve these.” Needless to say Van got another hug! So she finally comes out, it's my turn in line and the body guard had already said to keep it short and sweet, he didn’t want to hear about how you fell in love with any of her songs or how they'd changed your life, she had another show to do the next day and he wanted her to get her rest. So, I'm thinking what can I say? What can I say? What can I say?...I've got so much to say....I shake her hand and I say how are you. She says I'm fine. I ask her if she'll sign the poster for me and she says of course and signs it. Then she gives me a hug and as she hugging me I say: “You sing my life.” And she lets me go and looks at me and I smile and say: “And I've cried thru every album.” She looked like she didn't know how to react. She put her hand up to her chest and I just sort of moved off because the body guard was right there watching me, and there was just too much more to say. She signed Van's t-shirt and spoke to Joseline for a minute. It was GREAT!!! I didn't get home until almost 1am and had to force myself to sleep at 1:30 and was dragging my arse the next day at school.

She started the show by saying she didn't believe in coincidences that everything happened for a reason, perhaps she's right because the stars definitely aligned for me to meet her. If any other person had Viviana's ticket, if he hadn't gone to the bar, if he hadn't gone to smoke...you know?

So, that was a week ago and I still get a buzz thinking about it. I’m going to have to work on my 6 degrees of separation to get some sit down time to talk to her for real.

As for the stitching, it’s plodding along. I’m still working on the afghan from the 30 yr old acrylic for Carol, and I started a pair of socks out of the fake Fixation for my aunt while waiting for the concert to start…one sock done, the other one I’m half way thru the heel flap…pictures to follow.


Blogger Toni said...

Wow! The planets lined up for you that night--awesome!

30 October, 2006 16:20  
Anonymous Dixie said...

I wandered to Pandora to listen to some India.Arie (finally). They start you off with one song by your requested artist, then play 3-4 songs by a similar artist, then back to the one you requested.

So it's non-optimal for hearing a lot of music by one artist, but it's really good for finding music you like but didn't know before. Anyway. The point of the story -- the first song Pandora served up was "I am not my hair." What are the chances? :]

31 October, 2006 08:32  
Blogger Clare said...

that's an amazing story. how lucky you are! and Stevie Wonder! omg. are you going to stripe your head? i will if you will.

31 October, 2006 12:39  
Blogger Danielle said...


01 November, 2006 18:32  
Anonymous daniella said...

what an amazing concert night you had. I love the way you kept it 'short and sweet': " you sing my life" what a great, heartfelt, honest and beautiful thing to say.
the Comments section is not glitching up on me today: glad you liked your b-day yarn amiga :)

01 November, 2006 20:52  

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