Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dear Indigo Girls,

Tonight was your annual concert. I waited all year for June 19th to arrive. I tried my best (without being too annoying) to convince you that you could make the waiting less painful and the exhilaration longer lasting if you did two shows in my city in 2009 (yep, that was me, yelling my suggestion for next year from the sixth row).

I would BE THERE two consecutive nights, even THREE. I don’t even care if you wear, say, and sing the same stuff. You can do whatever you want as far as I am concerned. I’m yours.

This year five friends and I splurged for the dinner-and-ticket package offered by the waterfront hotel/restaurant venue where you took stage. The extra cost and meal ensured tickets in the first seven rows. WORTH IT. We had prime rib, halibut, soup, salad, bread pudding and cheesecake (okay, and also wine) in a restaurant filled with other hardcore fans. But dinner was really just the whipped cream on top of being so close to you on stage that I could see the sweat and spit flinging into the air as you sang.

The best news of the night is that you have a new album coming out in February. My paranoid fears that you two will suddenly quit singing together and stop touring were immediately allayed (for a year, at least). I've been wanting to tell you to keep on keepin' on, because I would love my daughter(s) to become fans, to come to concerts with me, to understand how important a community of women is, and how powerful love and the best of intentions are. I want them to know why I have been following you, appreciating your lyrics, and admiring all you do and portray, for so long now. I need a few more years--while the world needs you forever.

I've watched several gifted young artists launch their careers on the road with you (Kristen Hall and K's Choice are notable examples) and last year and last night Brandi Carlile filled the air with her incredibly rich voice and sweet stage presence.

I am so excited for your new album. I've used your songs in my English and Creative Writing classrooms because your use of metaphor is unmatched (example from your song "Ghost": "The Mississippi's mighty/but it starts in Minnesota/at a place where you could walk across with five steps down/And I guess that's how you started/like a pinprick to my heart/but at this point you rush right through me and I start to drown..." and the song "Virginia Woolf" explains why it's worth studying art and literature: "They published your diary/And that's how I got to know you/The key to the room of your own and a mind without end/And here's a young girl/On a kind of a telephone line through time/And the voice at the other end comes like a long lost friend..."

So I wasn't surprised to hear Emily's new song about the sea and Poseidon and safe harbors and stormy allusions abounding. And then Amy sang a song with an almost Spanish melody, and lyrics about having "blackest boots" and "whitest skin"--a soldier blues, perhaps. The most gorgeous melody and words.

I loved that you celebrated the California Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage while you sang "The Power of Two" ("the steel bars between me and a promise/suddenly bend with ease/The closer I am bound in love to you/the closer I am to free...").

That's the thing: you have strong convictions, and they're clear in your music and the organizations you support. But you also understand the human side of the other side--which is often being middle American, being stuck.

I have joked with friends that your concert is like going to church for me. I don't mean to minimize religion or to deify you. But I think it would be nice to find a church that made me feel the way being at your concert does: that I am in good company, that what I am hearing is true, and that the mission is pure and simple.

So, I guess what I really want to say is, Thanks Y'all.

P.S. There's also the amusing restroom situation at your concerts, where all bathrooms become women's loos, except for some Porta Potties over by the smoking section. This area had the shortest line, of course, which is why I headed there during the break between Brandi's performance and yours. One guy leaving the head and walking past the long line of mainly females, declared, hands up, "I just want all you ladies to know: I put the seat up...and then I put the seat BACK DOWN."

No one clapped. But we laughed, for sure.

No comments: