Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wish That I Knew What I Know Now When I Was Younger

It’s always a little sad when something you’ve been looking forward to for a long time is over. It’s like a little piece of you has died.

I had been looking forward to this Marah weekend for a long time. There are fans, and then there are Marah fans. They are the best people in the world. And when you have to go home to an empty house and work looms and you are tired and lonely, these are the people you think of to cheer yourself up. They are the people you want to hang out with, the folks who will accept you for who you are no matter what. And in quiet moments, you will remember their faces and smile.

Dave P., the proud poppa-to-be was so happy last night I thought he was going to burst. He has worked so hard for so long and it is gratifying to see everything coming together for him seemingly all at once. I’ve known him for a couple years now, and he is good people. It’s nice to see the world giving him some love in return.

And what can you say about Adam from England? He has spent the last few days sleeping on Dave’s couch. Said couch is not that big, and Adam is a tall drink of water. He gets brownie points just for that in my book. He has amazing songs and a mesmerizing stage presence, and he will go places. I hear he is staying in the U.S. for a while. Good for us.

I can’t get over how amazed I am that my dear friend Christine Smith is now a member of both my favorite bands. I had always seen a synergy between the two, but never dreamed she would be the link. She is the perfect foil, the true musician in Marah, and I can’t imagine them without her now. Her new record is truly dark and sad and beautiful, and I am a bit sad that this lovely, talented person whom I have come to know and love over the last three years is going out into the world and I will have to share her with others. She has come so far in that time that I barely recognize her, and that’s a good thing. I always felt there was something more inside her than what she showed to the world. This record tells us that story.

How to express the intensity with which Dave sings? That force that comes out of his body, the sweat pouring from his face, which turns red with the effort. The smile that says he knows something you don't know, and he isn't telling. The gesture when he raises his hand to acknowledge the audience—often with beer in hand, half toast, half fist pump—always gets me. Yes, I am at a Marah show now.

Kirk plays the trumpet. I have known that for a long time, but we have not been blessed with the dulcet tones much before this weekend. On Friday night, it seemed out of tune with guitar. Last night it was all power and fury and drama. That horn needs to come on the road with them.

And Serge—there are moments when I see him smiling up at Dave with such joy that I want to scream and shout and say, “Yes! This is what life is all about, right here, right now!” It is a smile of pleasure, of admiration, of bliss. We all need moments like that in our lives. Those moments don’t come often. Catch them and hold onto them when they do, because they will pass and your life will go back to the same dull drudgery. But you will have those moments in your mind etched in your memory, and they will get you through. I don’t know how to thank Serge for that smile, but it burns in my brain and keeps me warm when I am cold.

The night ended with Jesse and Tommy T. in the front pumping fists in the air to “History.” Jesse later told me that it was his favorite Marah song. The looks on their faces said it all: joy, transcendence, love. They were totally within themselves, totally in the moment, and yet part of the big beautiful family that is a Marah audience.

There are moments in your life you wish you could capture and put inside a bottle and let them out when you are sad and lonely and life has dealt from the bottom of the deck once again. The moment when Dave is on his knees at the lip of the stage strumming like a madman, completely lost in waves of sound; the moment when Dave P. closes his eyes and smiles from ear to ear and you think his face will crack in two, and he pounds away on the drums like he is powering the whole city of Philadelphia; the moment when Christine smiles her beatific smile shyly, almost to herself, sways back and forth, her tiny hands moving across the keys and filling the air with sound; the moment when you catch Kirk’s eye and he grins that shit-eating grin that tells you he wouldn’t trade being right there right then for anything in the world; that moment when Serge looks over at Dave and Dave looks at Serge and they all look at each other and they are suspended in time and space and music. You wish you could take a picture; you try to record the sounds. But those won’t do. Neither will writing about it later. You had to be there.

And then it is gone and you are driving home and The Faces are echoing in your head. And you feel older and emptier, and the melancholy hits you in waves. The wind gusts through the blue October sky, and winter will be here soon. But you have this night, this memory, and no one can take that from you.


  1. Hey Lisa,
    Great post.

    "The wind gusts through the blue October sky, and winter will be here soon. But you have this night, this memory, and no one can take that from you."

    That is it, exactly.

  2. Damn, I wish they'd come back over to England... your post makes me happy and sad.