ellen mcbee

She's always up to something…

In Which I Go To A Concert

I know…it’s been years since I’ve been to a concert. I was trying to think about that last night.

I went to Weird Al when I was 16 and again when I was 31. I saw Don Henley when I was in my early 20s. And of course I go to high school and mid school concerts, and in the fall I’ll be back in NashVegas to go to National Honor Band, because my son made the band. I go to the free concerts in Los Alamos several times every summer. And I saw…somebody…at the local brew pub. But I haven’t been a real concert-goer, not like the kids I grew up with who went to Journey and Rush and all those 80s big-hair bands and never got over it.

Last night, though, I took my daughter (13!!!) to see Rob Thomas, in Phoenix. Oh, and the hashtag: #2015TheGreatUnknownTour. At least, I think that’s what it is. They really should give out little cards with a hashtag, although I suppose that would defeat the whole wireless/paperless/head in your phone existence we all seem to be going for.

It was a good show in spite of Rob’s bronchial infection. (It’s weird to refer to him by his first name, like I know him or something. I guess that’s something that happens to singer/songwriters? And calling him Mr. Thomas would seem even weirder.) At least he went to see a doctor, so he’ll be getting better. He played for two hours, and talked about songs and thoughts and so forth. And the weirdest thing happened.

In the intro to one of the songs from the new album (I can’t remember which one), he said that some of the best times he’s ever had started with a bad decision. And that one of the themes of the new album is that the bad decisions don’t matter as much as what you do the next day; how you incorporate (or overcome?) the bad decisions you made yesterday.

In other words, it’s what I write about too. From my Scribophile account: “I write about mistakes–specifically I think the underlying message in my work is that you’re going to make mistakes and you don’t have to BE your mistake.”

And when introducing “Little Wonders,” he talked about how we should put down the phone and pay attention to real life. (Which is one of those things I probably say every fifteen minutes.) And then everyone around us lifted up their phones to take pictures and videos.

So I was a little weirded out by the matching philosophy. Whether it’s because we’re almost the same age? Or just that life teaches you if you let it? Maybe it’s not so strange that I like to listen to his music while I’m working.

Yeah, I know. And Nickelback, who mostly sing about getting drunk and chasing girls. No accounting for taste?

Anyway, the set list was varied and included old and new music. “This is How a Heart Breaks” was the encore piece; Rob was still energetic even at the end of the show. He was great fun to watch and I admit I’ve never even imagined “Smooth” without Carlos Santana, but it worked. Daughter had a good time, although didn’t dance very much (most of the crowd was on its feet throughout the show; with her tendonitis and Osgood-Schlatter she doesn’t like to stand for long periods of time). We were both excited that Rob came down the aisle and sang ten feet away from us for part of the encore.

I’d definitely go to see Rob again, either alone or with Matchbox 20. I just hope next time he picks Albuquerque!

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