Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Concert in the Park (1)

“Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
-Angelique Arnauld

Last evening Spouse and I attended a Lucinda Williams concert in our neighbourhood. In the days leading to the event we were muted in our anticipation. Ever since we held Bob Dylan tickets in our hands and had to surrender them due to a conflict of schedule, we tend not to believe something marvellous until we see or hear it.
Once, before Spouse and I met, I was blessed with a little extra money and had a choice of Lucinda Williams albums to buy: I chose one for its cover art and for the extensive reviews I had read about the singer.
Within roughly the same time period but of course on another continent, Spouse was presented with the same choice, and he bought the other.
How happy we were, then, to meet and put our albums side by side. We never considered that we might one day wander down to our local park to watch Lucinda Williams serenading the community with our favourite tunes.
It was a fine evening to witness the performance. However, halfway through the second song Lucinda Williams suddenly ceased singing and announced, as the instrumentals rolled on without a pause, that the lead guitarist had a bee in his shirt which was, as one would expect, causing him great difficulty.
Despite the presence of the bee the band maintained their composure and the song resumed once the creature had been dispatched to the night sky.
The song struck up again, only to halt shortly afterward when Lucinda Williams began to cough: she had inhaled some of the bugs which were thick in the air. After much spluttering and some sips of water and apologies she attempted the song once more, this time successfully.
There is a good deal to be said about seeing one's most beloved singers fight bees and swallow bugs like ordinary human beings do, then bravely battle on with the task at hand like the extraordinary people we have long held them to be.


hele said...

"we tend not to believe something marvelous until we see or hear it."

I love this sentence.

And I love that something marvelous can sometimes engage with something real.

polona said...

i love the quote, it's so fitting for the story.
great artists are humans, too, but they show their greatness in dealng with incidents like this...

Beth said...

I like Lucinda Williams, too. I first heard her on the Cry, Cry, Cry CD and thought it contained some of the most beautiful harmonies and words I had ever heard. I still think so.

Tom the Piper's Son said...

if anyone can battle bugs and bees to get out a song it's Lucinda!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I am hoping this was an outdoor show? We are fans of Lucinda here, too!

Jaime said...

I'm quite amazed by the power possessed by a few tiny insects!

Pappy said...

Sounds like a great evening's entertainment for you and Spouse. I love it when big time stars have to deal with the problems facing mere mortals. No bee proof recording studio here in bugville. Pappy

Unknown said...

That last sentence is perfect wrap-up to a beautiful evening

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Hele, we're been disappointed before- so until we saw her we didn't expect anything. It was surreal to see the person who had so far only been heard on a CD... very strange. Especially with the favourite songs.

Polona, that's what makes success, I think- ability to deal with troubles like that. It was awful- you could hear the bugs being sucked in on her breath even before she started coughing. She got over it so well.

Beth, we don't have that CD- we have Essence, Car Wheels and West. I like her slow songs best- she has such an amazing voice, and she's so soulful. My friend in Maine actually sent me a cassette with a couple of songs, years ago when I was in Ireland. That's how I first heard of Lucinda Williams.

Tom, she did battle with the bugs and won. I wouldn't have blamed her if she had to stop, it was that bad. To sing after choking on bugs is something amazing.

Pamela, It was outdoors, in an open park...

Jaime, those little things nearly ruined the show but she didn't let them.

Texican, I had so much more respect for her after that. It was a very good evening once we began to believe that we were really seeing and hearing her.

Kip, I think that's all we want when we meet celebrities- a combination of the ordinary and magical in one place.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

ah, outdoor concerts! You've got to love them despite the challenges!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Wayfarer, definitely- they're so much better. You sit on the grass, enjoy the night air and watch the sun go down. It's wonderful.

tangobaby said...

"The show must go on!"

Anyone who lives part of their lives on stage eventually learns to roll with many kinds of punches. Many times the audience is not even aware of the bees and bugs that might be causing havoc, which is not apparent to anyone but those on stage.

My sister, in her thespian days, used to tell me stories that were incredible. This post reminded me of a story of a guy who had a giant spider crawling around in his costume during an outdoor production of Fiddler on the Roof. The audience never knew, but he stripped down naked as soon as the scene was over (offstage, of course).

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Tangobaby, you're right, and I had no idea until she choked on one... she was definitely able to deal with it well.
I can't imagine anything more horrible on stage than having a spider in my costume. I'd not be able to think straight until it was gone.
That's what separates the ordinary from the special.

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