Watching my son watch Great Big Sea at Wolf Trap
Sorry it's been so long -- if any of you are still out there, of course. My old friend TJ mentioned in comments that were devoured by my spam filter that he's running for the General Assembly. Consider it reposted. If you can vote for a Libertarian, I can vouch for his character as long as we're not talking about dorm room games of Earl Weaver Baseball.
I'm sitting in a Courtyard by Marriott. An exhausted, unconscious six-year-old in a hide-a-bed told me this morning that this is the most amazing place ever. He's worn out from a great deal of jumping up and down and socializing in rows C and D at the Filene Center, his closest vantage point ever for GBS. Watching him dance in place -- as I sometimes danced with him -- I felt inexpressable joy, such happiness generated from his own. Great Big Sea is not kids' music. Certain innuendo flies over his head (for now, thankfully), and I'm finding little ways to remind him that their drinking songs are not exactly role model moments. But the melodies and beat are so accessible, it's hard not to get swept away by them. The family of four behind me -- the elder son eagerly showing mine his parents' iPhone lightsaber -- seemed to have a similar experience.
All that is to explain that I spent most of the time watching Will watch the concert, and not focusing as much on the stage as I otherwise would have. That and my despised-but-necessary ear plugs probably reduced the impact of the show. That aside....
Much like their current album Fortune's Favour, the Wolf Trap gig presented a band in transition: uneven, but undeniably powerful. The between-song rambles revealed some fatigue, and that plus the gigantic album-cover backdrop made them seem oddly smaller on that Filene Center stage than I'd ever seen them before. Their mailing list just sent an e-mail breathlessly reporting that "The boys are performing in Vienna, VA right now and are making an important announcement to the audience.... Great Big Sea will be at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore, MD on October 25." Someone should have reminded "the boys" to announce it.
Their new music was potent and drew a positive response, however, particularly "Love Me Tonight," "England," "Here and Now," and "Walk on the Moon." The latter thrilled my son, who a few hours earlier stood in awe at Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's actual space suits at the Smithsonian. Several of the classics were represented as well. Typifying the night, Sean McCann began "General Taylor" strongly, then wandered the stage without an apparent plan, before reasserting himself, sitting on the edge and blowing the roof off.
It wasn't a perfect night. Then again, it didn't have to be. I was there with my son, wolfing down hummus, veggies and flatbread after having danced and sung with him. I'm better than content. I'm happy.