This is a great memory and I’m going to share it with you in hopes that it will stir something inside of you.
Music moves me. I mean, really moves me, in like an energy/spiritual way. I forget what year it was, but the place was Merrillville, IN. A theater right at the intersection of I-65 and state road 30. I was going to see, not one, but two of my favorite groups; America and Three Dog Night. I didn’t know what to expect. The tickets were cheap by today’s standards. I had high expectations, but these groups had been around for a long time and I didn’t know if live performances would change the beautiful songs in my mind.
The studio versions of the songs we’re firmly burned into the Tracks of My Mind. I rarely liked live albums; the sound was not crisp and clear, the screaming at the end of songs took away from the places the songs moved you to, and the artists would add solo parts that conflicted with the words and music we had memorized and sang for our own pleasure. I’m older now and better understand more sides of this: for instance, these musicians have played the songs we want to hear thousands of times. It has to be very difficult to make it sound fresh and energetic when the performer has done it for so long. I get it.
We sat in comfortable theater seats. We waited. The theater was moist and warm with all the people. The start time had passed by 10 minutes and there was chanting in the crowd. I don’t recall what the chant was. I think they were saying “let’s go, let’s go.” The lights were on and the last-minute people were still strolling to their seats. “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” All these people wanted to see these groups perform. They were excited. I was excited! “Let’s go, let’s go!”
All of a sudden, the lights went out. Total blackness. Cheering. The smell of perfume, weed, alcohol and humanity. Cheering. There was a brief announcement over the sound system that the show was about to begin. Dim lights came up and the crowd hushed. The heavy velvet curtains were still closed. My heart was pumping. The room went black, then a beautiful, calming, dark blue light shown on the stage before us.
Who would play first? I mean really; America or Three Dog Night, both were HUGE superstars. What would they start the show with? I was starting to sweat a little and feeling a little claustrophobic amongst all the humanity. Then it happened. The moment I want to share with you. Zone out. Be in this moment with me…blackness all around accept the mesmerizing dark blue light on the stage. Complete silence in the room. The heavy beat of drums fills the room. The song they started with was Money for Nothing from Dire Straits performed by both America and Three Dog Night! It sounded like Dire Straits. It was pure. It was a wonderful night of fantastic music and performance! Favorites were played and we all sang along. The energy and love in the room was incredible. No one wanted it to end, especially me. I can still feel and hear the drums that started thst show.