Monday, September 30, 2013

Going To See Ron Sexsmith

One of the things about getting older is how birthday present expectations change. I don't seem to get as excited, nor do I get as worked up about presents.

Boring of me, I realize, but there it is.

Anyhow, my birthday is not for another couple of months, but when I saw the ad in the newspaper announcing the (wildly joyful) fact that Ron Sexsmith was going to be in town, I decided that I wanted Ron tickets for my birthday. So I told Richard, who was hugely relieved at having A Great Birthday Idea, particularly since I'd already squashed his other Great Idea by buying a copy of Howl's Moving Castle after getting paid for a garden lecture I gave to a local club.

I really did - and if you don't believe me, click on this link. My MIL wrote that blurb, which is kind of nice given our - ahem - fractured relationship. I sound like a sensible holistic back-to-the-lander, don't I?

I won't ruin that image for you.

Tickets. Right.

So Richard buys the tickets. They arrive in the mail and I take great pains to remember where I put them (unlike the LEGO tickets I tacked to the pinboard and promptly forgot about). Last night we get ready, even though we're in the middle of a Severe Wind Warning that has all ferries to the mainland COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN and has already knocked down two garden arbors. We weren't completely irresponsible: we made sure the kids had working flashlights and gave them strict instructions not to fly their kites while we're gone. Then we drive through a deluge to the university. It is such a deluge that the gutters in the roofs are all overflowing, so hard and fast is the rain falling. Richard is a little puzzled when I demand to be dropped off near some form of overhang but he goes with it, because it is ostensibly My Birthday Event and he likes to humour me. We run through the rain to the university centre, me stealing one of the concert promotion posters along the way, and dash into the hallway with all the other sodden concert goers. There is no power outage, and really, truth be told, the wind has pretty much died down. Even so, I call the kids using the Courtesy Phone, mostly because I am excited to a) use a free phone, and b) call the kids and remind them that I am going to see RON SEXSMITH! (they humour me too and all take turns shrieking witticisms into the phone)

Then we sit in our seats and I take a couple of photos with my iPad mini, despite the arched eyebrows of my seat mate two seats over (who spent the first 10 minutes checking her stupid phone messages until I gave her some arched eyebrow action of my own). Jenn Grant, his backup act, comes out and sings. The sound in the hall is, for lack of a better word, sublime. It's clear and gorgeous and hauntingly beautiful and we all sit captivated. She sings with her husband, who has his head hanging so low I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering why. She tells some funny stories about emailing her songs to Ron and asking him to sing on one. At the intermission I go out and buy a CD from her. I ask her which one my 12 year old daughter will like. She puts her arm around me and we both laugh into each other's eyes. Then she signs it with a big heart. She's so friendly that I'm mildly regretful that we couldn't be friends in some alternate universe somewhere. We file back in, I take another photo. Then Ron and band mates come out. He is SO good and SO musical and SO mournfully sweet there is a collective shiver of pleasure from the audience.

And so we all sit for the next 90 minutes, with pauses for some extremely loud applause. I shriek YES! very loudly when he asks if his piano playing is okay, the audience all laugh and he hangs his head, sheepishly pleased that we like him so much. I wonder, not for the first time, why he isn't way more famous than he is. He reminds us that a certain song wasn't actually written by Feist, even if she HAS made it more famous than he did. After the concert, I buy his latest CD because I worry a bit for his pension plan.

Then it's home to the kids, the flashlights, the ruined garden, and the rain. What a spectacular birthday present.

(Although if you're reading this Richard, the Pacific Rim DVD is being released in, ahem, October...)

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