Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kristin Hersh, Old Town School of Folk Music, Dec. 7, 2008

This was the reason for my trip to Chicago, as anyone who's spoken to me in the past few months knows. (Sorry, everyone. I promise I'll have more than two conversation topics again.)

The concert itself was amazing. I went with a friend at the University of Chicago, Before, I met up with some TMO folks at the Grafton. Making it to the place was difficult enough because the neighborhood is wonderful - it's everything I had wanted the Loop to be. There was a street fair of some sort inside a tent - a Christmas celebration, with live jazz music, refreshments, and a few booths. I was this close to buying a necklace as a Christmas gift.

Anyway, dinner was great and everyone was really friendly. There were live musicians there - being next to the Old Town School, they probably get a steady stream of them - which only enhanced the atmosphere. Afterwards, we walked to the Old Town School and I picked up my tickets. There wasn't a bad seat in the auditorium, honestly, but I still think my table was pretty decently located.

The opener, Daniel Knox, was pretty good, amusing at times (I mean, it was intended to be funny; I don't mean so-bad-it's-amusing.) Then Kristin Hersh played her set, and it was great. The first part of the show was all folk songs. One or two were on "Murder, Misery and then Goodnight" but the rest were new. I was transfixed. It went by so quickly, but she did come back for an encore, mostly her songs - "Pearl" was one of them, as was "Sno Cat," and - this one had me especially transfixed since it's in my top five songs of hers - "Tuesday Night."

After the show I loitered around the stage area for a while, feeling a bit bemused and also a bit speechless. The show was that good, after all, and there was the prospect of meeting Kristin. Billy was on the stage selling lots of CDs. After the crowd cleared up a bit, I went over and said hello - and he remembered my name! Even stopping here would have made my day, but a few minutes later he invited the rest of the loiterers down to chat for a bit before they headed out.

Anyway. Anecdote. It was Chicago, of course, and it had snowed. I don't own any scarves (although I should rectify that); Nebula, living in Chicago, owned plenty, but the one she had chosen that day was a Harry Potter scarf - you know, the maroon and yellow striped ones. She was a bit worried about this. Anyway, we go down to meet Kristin and she practically exclaims "Hey, that's a Harry Potter scarf!" Cheerfully. Not irritatedly.

I wasn't too speechless. OK, that's a lie. I sounded ridiculous. Fortunately, everybody was so nice. It was as if I had stepped into a magical world, for a day, where the world forgot that it was supposed to have problems, and people forgot that they were supposed to be inherently flawed or subject to whichever failings they've been rebuked for this year.



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