Tremor: 0.7, Depth: 9.8 miles, Location: Somewhere along the San Andreas Fault in the San Francisco Bay Area.
So I’m here with a quick update, but first, just a notice that the updates will be very irregular. This isn’t a blog in a more traditional sense, but rather a conduit for emotions. If there isn’t anything standout happening, there isn’t anything to write about.
Friday afternoon, around 12:30, I arrived at my friend Forrester’s house. Within five minutes of my arrival, we were back on the road, on our way to a concert in Oakland. Dirty Projectors, with Wye Oak opening. I expected it to be standard fare, but on the drive, as we were listening to the latest Wye Oak album, something changed my mind. I realized this would be something more, as I was so in love with the music of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, and they were just opening. We arrived, and were second and third in line, behind a nice guy about our age named David. He’d been a huge fan of Dirty Projectors for years, and was excited to be seeing them again. As we waited, we actually saw the members of the band walk by at various times, and through our encouragement, David stopped a couple of them, and got his copy of their latest album signed. Around this time, the fourth person entered the line. His name is Brayden, and the four of us had conversation enough to last us the ensuing four and a half hour wait until the doors opened. The concert itself was fantastic, with the warmth of the latest Dirty Projectors material punctuated by the beauty of Dave Longstreth’s experimental nature (Not to mention Wye Oak, who are consistently fantastic). After the show, however, was when the real beauty of the event revealed itself.
Dave Longstreth has a reputation for being like a cult leader, with the other band members his disciples. Honestly, I have always found this to be an unfair characterization of Dave and the band, but if you were to see the crowd of about twenty people outside the backstage entrance, you would have thought just the opposite. As we waited in the crisp evening air, Wye Oak emerged, and the crowd largely ignored them. However, being the fan that I am, I approached them, asked them to sign my CD, got my picture with them, and chatted for a second, before they left to get tacos at the Mexican place down the road. As I returned to the Dirty Projectors fans waiting eagerly for some sign of movement from the musical genius they worshiped, I noticed something. Few, if any, of the people in the crowd knew each other from before this event, but you’d think they’d all known each other from birth. Laughing, chatting, joking, everything you’d see from the gang at the high school reunion that never lost touch. It was strange how their interactions were formed from a simple shared musical interest, and the circumstance of being the few diehards in a sea of indifferent hipsters and those dragged there by the lack of better things to do. It made me really hopeful for the next year. Even if I arrive, and everyone I meet on my first day just has issues with me, for whatever reason, I know that there will always be the Braydens and the Davids, who you can form an instant connection with, and the Forresters, who will give up their Friday nights for you in the name of friendship. In that moment, I almost didn’t want Dave Longstreth to arrive, because it could easily ruin the magic of the moment. On the contrary, when he finally did step out, he was one of the nicest people I had ever met. He must have took five pictures with everyone, signed everything in sight, gave hugs out like candy, and answered every question and declaration of love with the same smile and good humor. Finally, as Dave was finally preparing to go back in, Forrester offered to take a group photo of all of us. He was handed my camera and the camera phone of another girl. He used the camera phone for a regular picture, and when it came time to use mine, told us all to make funny faces. Half of us (including Dave, I think) heard him. The other half did not. But we all walked away with a renewed sense of hope in humanity, and I walked away with a fresh optimism for the nine months that lie ahead, after I board that fateful plane in just under 31 days.