Ingrid Michaelson, Salt Lake City, April 19, 2012

Last Thursday after commencement, some friends and I went to the Ingrid Michaelson concert at In the Venue in Salt Lake City. The music was fun, and Harper Blynn opening for her made the show extra special.

On several occasions, Harper Blynn was the backup band for Ingrid’s husband, Greg Laswell. They’re good friends. So it feels like a nice little community when the openers are friends with the headliners. Then I talk as if I’m friends with all of them. If only I were a smidge as cool.

I still tend to call Harper Blynn by their former name, Pete & J, and I have autographed Pete and J albums, but I don’t have any Harper Blynn ones. Which I need to fix. Anyway, Harper Blynn performed their cover of Beyonce’s “Halo,” and they did their usual brilliant job of it.

Ingrid performed a lot from her new album, Human Again, but she also played some older tunes.

My friends and I ended up standing behind two tall couples, whose PDA was pretty gross. We started out behind some shorter people, but we were also underneath a glaring hot light, so we wove our way through the crowd and somehow decided being behind those couples was better. At least it was cooler. And when one of the guys slouched to hug his girlfriend/wife, I got to see Ingrid on stage for about five seconds! I felt tall and amazing.

We sang along and laughed and despite being behind tall people who knew they were blocking our view, the concert was a lot of fun. Totally different than the last time, almost a year and a half ago, when we waited outside in line for over an hour and then walked into 5 inches of snow after the concert ended. This time we walked out into slightly cool air and clear skies.

If my camera weren’t broken, I would post pictures. Alas.

Here’s the setlist:

Fire
Palm of Your Hand
Soldier
Parachute
Do It Now
Blood Brothers
Ghost
Fools Rush In (Elvis Presley cover)
The Way I Am
San Francisco
In the Sea
This Is War
Overboard
Black and Blue
Ribbons

Encore:

Maybe
You and I
Chain

Last Night’s Setlist

So, the concert was a lot of fun. We waited for an hour outside while whoever was in charge was taking their time admitting the crazy long line. Once we got in, it was crowded. The show sold out, and while we stood next to a bunch of beehives and Mia Maids who talked the entire time (I actually think the father-chaperone was the fan and the girls were an excuse for him to go to the concert), Ingrid put on a fantastic show.

Soldier
Breakable


(A story about LeAnn Rimes tweeting Ingrid to maybe hang out sometime, and maybe Ingrid was completely starstruck and hasn’t responded yet, so instead at all her concerts she dedicates the next song to her.)
Once Was Love
Die Alone


Parachute
Mountain and the Sea
Everybody
You and I


(A story about covering the next song using a looping pedal at an R.E.M. tribute, where Michael Stipes approached at an afterparty at the City Winery and told her how original and inspiring her cover was, but she was too drunkenly, dumbfoundedly starstruck to say something dignified? so he walked away, but then she tried grabbing him by his far shoulder and ended up caressing his chest. Awesome story.)
Nightswimming
New song
New song
The Chain
Locked Up
The Way I Am
Maybe
Toxic

Encore (after hiding on stage while we cheered as if they left the stage and wanted an encore):
Be OK
The Way I Am – punk

Then, when we left the concert, this was waiting for us:

I like fun.

What I’m Listening To, and Why

One my seminary students mentioned reading my blog and wondered about all the boy talk and whether I’m worried these boys will ever read all this stuff. I said I wasn’t worried. I also said I do draw a line and that there are things I won’t write about.

This is one of my favorite Fleet Foxes songs. The lyrics are simple and dark, and this video is quite creative. It’s about blood and snow and wolves. … Or is it? I love the folky sound it starts off with, and then the drums kick in around the same time the mountain man starts cranking the seasons to pass more quickly. You know how much I want to usher winter on out of here.

 

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One day last week before seminary class, we discussed what swear words are in different countries. A certain adjective in Britain is essentially the mother bomber, and if you don’t want to get in trouble, according to one of my students, you have to say “bleeding.” And that made the class laugh.

I have no idea why we had that discussion. It’s probably the same reason we have all the marginally questionable conversations we have. They’re not all my fault, I promise.

Yesterday, I sent this link to a few my friends in light of the recent Ingrid Michaelson concert. It’s a good song, and I like the sparseness of the performance, even with the full band. (Sorry, the video wouldn’t embed.)

Swearing on this site is pretty rare, and today, I kind of became a sailor under my breath.

And today, little did I know that song would become my mantra.

And today, I have to acknowledge one of those things I won’t write about on this blog. It’s frustrating and a little scary, I guess. If I won’t write about it, it’s not for the public to know.

I’m trying to wrap my brain around it.

Winter can go away, but maybe time could pass a little more slowly. Maybe that would work.

No matter what happens.

All we can do is keep breathing.

At least it’s something, breathing.

Hell.

Dipping, the Skinny Kind

Wednesday night at Carnegie Hall was a tribute to R.E.M., where various artists sang their favorite R.E.M. songs. Ingrid Michaelson was one of these artists.

I went to her concert last night at the City Winery. She described her part in the R.E.M. tribute, and when she mentioned the song she sang, my heart leapt:

“Nightswimming”

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago,
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows.
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse.
Still, it’s so much clearer.
I forgot my shirt at the water’s edge.
The moon is low tonight.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.
I’m not sure all these people understand.
It’s not like years ago,
The fear of getting caught,
Of recklessness and water.
They cannot see me naked.
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday.

Nightswimming, remembering that night.
September’s coming soon.
I’m pining for the moon.
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
Could not describe nightswimming.

You, I thought I knew you.
You I cannot judge.
You, I thought you knew me,
this one laughing quietly underneath my breath.
Nightswimming.

The photograph reflects,
Every streetlight a reminder.
Nightswimming deserves a quiet night, deserves a quiet night.

I have never been skinny dipping. I’ve always wanted to. I hear other people’s experiences, and it sounds wonderful. Seeming vulnerable and nervous, yet empowered. This song is the way I imagine my experience when it finally happens, in setting and thoughts and  feelings. I’m glad Ingrid got to sing this song for Michael Stipe and friends. She sang it for us, and she did a bangup job. It was her and her voice and a looping pedal at the microphone and an upright bass. I loved it.

This song was part of a mix tape my friend, Sarah, gave me before I left for college, some 15 years ago, almost. It always stirs nostalgia. Its images haunt my mind. Its power draws me to the water’s edge, toes squishing in the sand, the water’s chilling air gently bristling my legs as I slowly step deeper. No one’s around, just me and the moon and a certain unexplained yet understood freedom, sprawled out, reaching out to each other just because we can. Splashing, gliding, floating. Goosebumps, then temperance, then utter and incomprehensible joy.

It’s one of the things I have to do before I die. It’s one of the things I’m definitely going to shave my legs for.

Be OK

I’ll continue with the weekly friend features after the new year. People seem to do other things, like gorge on food nonstop and spend time with friends and family during the holidays instead of reading my blog. What’s that all about? Oh well, I don’t blame them. Anyway, I don’t know if the spotlights for the next couple of weeks would get the attention they deserve if I posted them, so I’ll wait until everyone’s back on a quasi-normal schedule. I hope that’s okay.

Here’s a photo montage and a song. This is one of my favorite newish artists. She seems cool, so I’ll start off by calling her by her first name. And since I’ve been feeling a bit off-kilter, I’ve listened to this song about twenty times today to help me feel better. This is a shout-out to my friend Alicia, because she’s got to be just about the biggest Ingrid fan in the universe. And this goes out to all of you who might be feeling a bit down or discouraged or trodden underneath the steel-toed, deeply-grooved, thickly clod boots of life but were nowhere near a department store on Black Friday. This song is upbeat, it will pick you up. I was bouncing in my chair and bobbing my head about 20 separate times today at work. The melody is cheery and light and very, very catchy. This song will make you dance, and while the lyrics aren’t entirely shiny-happy, they are hopeful and encouraging, and they feel like a big hug. A big, bouncy, buoyant hug.  Thanks, Ingrid. And now I’m hugging you –  you, out there – you know who you are. I’ve caught wind of your situation; I’ve talked to you; I’ve read your blog.

I have incredible friends. Thank you for your support and strengthening words and prayers. It means so much to me.

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