28 May 2010

If I had a wish, or even a choice, I'd wake up to the sound of your voice

I finally got to use my birthday present this week: Tickets to the Barenaked Ladies concert in Northern California.

I had to drive 4+ hours each way, but it was SO worth it.

I went with a great girlfriend, which always makes everything better. We had a terrific "girls' get-away" and tons of fun just visiting and hanging out.

But the concert itself was absolutely the star of the trip.


I swear I love BNL even more every time I see them live.

Like I said last fall, every time I see BNL perform, I get the same feeling: These guys are having so much fun! And they just want everyone in the audience to have fun, too.

It helps that so many of their songs are fun and quirky and that damn near everyone in the room is dancing and singing right along. But, even with the more "serious" songs, the atmosphere of a BNL concert is just FUN!

A couple of funny side notes about BNL fans and this particular show:

If you're a BNL fan (and I know that a couple of you are! As for the rest of you, I don't even know why you're reading this. Oh, wait, you probably aren't. Never mind.) Anyway, if you are a fan, you know that Ed Robertson, Kevin Hearn and Jim Creegan are all multi-instrumentalists (as opposed to some modern rock bands that are, well, rather one-dimensional for my taste). Anyway, in addition to the traditional guitar and bass and drums and keyboards, BNL concerts include a stand-up bass, a full piano, banjos, bongos (Tyler Stewart) and, yes, even an accordion.

At this show, one enterprising BNL fan had presented Kevin with a hand-made "accordion" made of balloons! You can see it in the photo above (Sorry for the poor quality, snapped it with my iphone), because Kevin whipped it out to "play" during "If I had $1,000,000". It was a very funny moment. And a very impressive balloon sculpture! ;)

Another thing that was brought home to me at this show was the diversity of BNL fans! Sure, there were a lot of people like me: 30-somethings who have been fans since their college days. (Yeah, I'm old. This is news? Get offa my lawn.) But, I was also - literally - surrounded by examples of BNL's wide appeal:

To our left was a bubbly little 21-year-old who had never been to a BNL show and "kinda knew" a few of their songs. She and her friend had ended up with free tickets through some strange series of events. We had fun talking to her about the band and their music and by the end of the show she was bookmarking songs and albums on her iphone to buy later.

On our right side, was a lady who had to be in her late 60s or, more likely, early 70s. She was there with a woman in her mid-40s that I'm pretty sure was her daughter. When we first sat down, I thought, "Oh man, I hope poor Grandma isn't in for some culture shock tonight at the 'rock-and-or-roll-music' that her daughter dragged her to." But I'll be damned if "Grandma" didn't spend the whole damn show up and dancing and singing and clapping right along with the rest of us! How awesome is that?!

It was a really fun show.

Rock Gods forgive me for my blasphemy - I think I might like BNL even BETTER as a foursome. I know! But it's true.

I admit that at least part of that is because I've been half-in-love with Ed Robertson for 18 years. So, yeah, I'm loving more of him on lead vocals. But it's not just that.

They've said in recent interviews that, while they were sad to see Steven Page leave, his departure was also something of a fresh start for them as a band; that the remaining four members had recommitted themselves to each other and to their music and that they were feeling an exciting new energy.

You can really feel that "new" energy in their new album and in their live performances as a foursome. Ed, Kevin, Jim and Tyler have done such a great job sewing their Steven-sized hole, you can't even see the stitches. ;)

I can't wait to see what their next new album brings. I also can't wait to see them live again! There is a small chance that I will be in San Diego at the same time they are for their late summer tour. *fingers crossed* Wish me luck. ;)

(Still) Feels Just Like I'm Falling for the First Time,

EDIT: Had to add this video of "Sound of Your Voice" from the Santa Rosa show!

07 May 2010

From the Vault: Nobody Told Me

In honor of Mother's Day, I'm recycling this post from my archives ...

When my first son was only a few weeks old, another mother said to me:

"Being a mother is like having your heart walking around outside of your body."

I agreed. But I didn't fully understand at the time.

I stood there with her and I thought of my beautiful new baby. I thought about how the surprising depths of my love for this itty bitty new person ... I thought about how becoming a mom throws all of your priorities out the window ... and I thought about how I would do anything for this amazing child of mine.

And I thought I understood what she was telling me.

But I didn't. Not yet.

All I knew in those precious, priceless first months was that my son was the new center of the universe. I knew the joy. I knew the excitement. I knew the overwhelming love. I even knew some of the nervousness and fear.

But I didn't know about the pain. Yet.

I didn't realize, then, that a Mother feels everything her child feels - only magnified.

I didn't know that when my sons were hurt, I would bleed.

"Being a mother is like having your heart walking around outside of your body."

Nobody tells you these things before you're a parent.

Nobody tells you that when they fall down, you feel the impact bruise your body. Nobody tells you that when they get sick, your skin burns with fever. Nobody tells you that when someone breaks their hearts, yours rips open, too.

Nobody tells you how joyously painful it is to let your Heart wander out into that big scary world every day, knowing that you can't protect them from all of the dangers they will face.

Then again, maybe they do tell you. Or try to. Maybe we just don't hear it. Maybe it's one of those things you have to learn on your own.

"Being a mother is like having your heart walking around outside of your body."

Happy Mother's Day,

02 May 2010

Adventures of the Toy Spartans: At Home

We have some new recruits at Casa de Zen. And the kids and I (okay, mostly just me) have been having a blast documenting their adventures.

Adventures of the Toy Spartans, Part 1: Making Themselves at Home