Friday, September 7, 2007

When You Come

"She came out of the water / into my horizon / like a cumulonimbus / coming in from the distance / Burning and exploding / like a slow volcano... "

"And when you come / to cover me with your kisses... / I'll know you by the thunderclap / pouring like a rain of blood to my emotions"

Every time I hear this song, my insides go all wobbly. Crowded House played it last night during their spectacular show at the Jubilee. My insides went predictably wobbly. I had given fair warning to KPAX a few songs into the show that if the band played MY song, I would lose it. And I did. [Sorry for any inadvertent bruising on your arm there, Paddington. Good thing you're a quick healer.] They also played KPAX's favorite Crowded House song, but he didn't lose it. Psh. Boys.

I first heard MY song 20 years ago when my "cousins" Allan and Alex took me and my brother to the Crowded House concert at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington, DC. We sat in one of the boxes in the upper terrace balcony. It was my very first grown-up concert. My cousins grew up in Winnipeg, so unlike the average American teenager, they were more aware of things happening outside North America. They always had their fingers on the pulse of new music and they had a profound influence on my early musical taste. On my 13th birthday, for example, they gave me my very first record: a-ha's Hunting High and Low. Hip older cousins rule!

The song didn't really make an impact on me until a few years later, when I fell in love for the first time. Then I was thunderstruck. I wanted a man, my man, to say things like the words above about me. I imagined that Neil Finn wrote this song after seeing his love emerge from the roiling ocean, her hair dripping wet and her body glistening with salty water. I imagined that lucky woman striding toward her man, her face half-shadowed by approaching clouds, like Amphitrite Incarnate. He must have been so awed by her ferocious beauty that he had to write this song. Sigh... Huh? Oh, yes. Hi! You're still here!

When I first saw them in concert 20 years ago, Crowded House only had two albums out, but even then it was clear they are consummate musicians. Their songs are multilayered, complex compositions and they ROCK as performers. Their stage show last night was really quite fantastic. They used lighting and stage design in clever ways, with stage props that mimicked the cover of their new album Time on Earth. Audience interaction was rife with impromptu songs about the prairie [and buses and Kitchener, ON] and some fun, naughty bits. During the encore, KPAX and I moved to the front of the auditorium, just in time to witness a crew member's full moon from the camper van stage prop. Crowded House: all class, all the time.

In the vein of Laurel's "Today's Treasure", I had an Unexpected Delight at the concert. Before the show, KPAX and I were enjoying our very expensive Bailey's-and-coffees [the best effin' Bailey's-and-coffees ever, dammit!] and I spotted a familiar jolly Scotsman near the merch booth. I whispered, "Is that Andy Donnelly?" KPAX discreetly turned around to look. "Not every jolly man with long hair is Andy Donnelly," he said, in his "Silly Cookie" tone.

I saw maybe-Andy again at intermission and this time, I had the courage to approach him and ask if he is who I think he is. And he was. I was starstruck. I gushed about his Celtic show and then gave him A Wee Celtic Cuddle (TM). SQUEE! I confessed that I wanted to say hello to him at Folkfest, but lost my nerve. He told me that the next time I see him, I shouldn't be afraid to say hello. HEE! [Yes, I do know he is a LOCAL EDMONTON RADIO personality. Shut up.]

Crowded House [now with Lil' Liam!] + my most favoritest Paddington Bear + a wee Celtic cuddle = Best. Early September Thursday. Ever.
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