The other night, I was high and reading about Sinead O'Connor, doing so because I have been really into her lately and listening to a couple of songs on repeat over and over again, have been trying to find a copy of the "Gospel Oak" EP online, which for some reason is not on iTunes, and playing more specifically "Curly Locks" over and over and over again, and so I was looking up info about her, seeing if she was playing any shows in the near future. Her only scheduled dates, where she is supposedly going to play some of the new material she is working on, are a few dates at the Manchester International Festival. I went to the festival's website to read more info about it and then on that site also saw details of Bjork's series of planned concerts at this festival. I saw that tickets were on sale.
I needed to see this show. I needed to see Bjork. Had to. She was one of the first concerts I ever went to. Okay, so the first might have been a Billy Joel/Elton John concert with my mom when I was thirteen, but I don't count that as the first. I do and I don't. The first in some sense. But in the sense of going to a band or a performer because you wanted to, because you saved up some money and bought tickets to go, because you knew when tickets were going on sale, and made sure you bought them that same day from the Ticketmaster at the JCPenny at the mall on that exact same day (this all in those lovely pre-everything-on-the-Internet days), it was not in that sense. That is reserved for a few years later, the age of 16, in possession of a car and some burgeoning taste in music, an ability to become totally overwhelmed by an album, to play it again and again, the CD in my discman as I lay awake in bed thinking about all that life was and all it might be. Bjork's albums were often those albums. She, probably more than any other musician, played such a tremendous role in my adolescence, really giving summoning up in sounds a life that I dreamed of as possible and she confirmed. She has survived with me through my adolescence, through my twenties. Very few of those musicians from that time period are still here with me; many fell along the way. I am still listening to Bjork and still being blown away by her music. I have not outgrown her. I do not appreciate her in some ironic oh-this-is-what-I-listened-to-when-I-was-a-teenager sense. It's still beautiful stuff to pump through your headphones on dreamy days as you wander around the streets of whatever town you live in and think about your life. And when I was sixteen, oh man, this singer totally made me so emotional, did something magical to me.
So that is why when I think about my first concert, it is Bjork I often think to and not Elton and Billy (despite how much I sincerely love both of their bodies of work). This was also in the smallish venue of Capital Ballroom, not huge RFK Stadium. It was my first time really entering such a venue. It all seemed so adult, so cool. I remember being wowed by the fog coming off the stage, by how dark the venue was, how moody it all felt, part of a nightworld that when you first experience it really seems cinematic, intriguing, but with years of going to see shows and going to dark bars and dance clubs, it holds less and less magic. This night, it held all of that shine though still. I was out in the bad part of DC with my friend Elaine and we were seeing this person that I was absolutely obsessed with at the time, she touring in support of Homogenic. The show was spectacular, though I only saw the first half of it, saw only the first half for those reasons of being sixteen. My friend, Elaine, was in trouble with her mom about something or other and had to be home at x time. I can't even remember what it was. Ten, maybe eleven, and Bjork had really just started to play, had just played a few songs when Elaine started really insisting about how we had to leave. I begged and got her to stay for another song. I was ready to cry. This singer meant the world to me at that point in my life. It was that time in one's life when singers so easily have that capacity to. I did not want to go, but I did. Holding those moments with me forever, that feeling of ecstatic giddiness always what I hold as the bar for what an amazing concert is, that you need to really take me to that state.
And so I read about a thirty-foot pendulum that created rhythms out of the earth's energy or some such thing and read about how these shows were in a venue that fit only 1,800 people. I had to buy them. No question. Had to. I purchased tickets to the only show that seemed to still have tickets, sure this a sign that I was meant to go, that this show was not sold out yet, that I had gotten to this site in such a roundabout fashion, by originally looking at Sinead's dates (which, sadly, were not near the date I ended up purchasing tickets to), that I clearly needed to buy these.
And so I am going to see Bjork play again. I am going to see her in a foreign city I have never been to. It is going to be just as magical and this time I am going to get to see her finish her set. I am so excited about this and I am already having nightmares that I won't receive my tickets in the mail or some such other calamity.
Jacob and I are now in the midst of planning a European vacation spurred by the purchase of these concert tickets. We have still yet to even buy our tickets to Europe, probably won't do that until Friday (aka payday), but are already buying these other tickets. Today, we committed ourselves further to Europe and bought Eurostar tickets from London to Paris that are nonrefundable. Tomorrow, I am probably going to buy tickets to an opera about Marina Abromovic with songs by Antony. Um! The plan as of now is to fly IcelandAir because of their free stopover program and fly into London, head up to Manchester for a couple days, back to London for five days, five days in Paris, back to London, and two days in Reykjavik before flying home. I am so excited!
I am using exclamation marks! I am that excited!
I have been to London before but none of these other places and I am so excited about seeing new places and new things and old things I have only seen in pictures and videos. So now it is time to start saving money, start making money. Thoughts of all these things, other thoughts, bowels that feel all types of crazy.