Friday, June 20, 2003

Iron Horse

    It's Grand, or so I'm told.

The trick about the Iron Horse is that although the doors open at 5:45 for a 7:00 show, there's really only about 30 good seats in the 200-seat house.

You're particular about such things, so you get to Northampton at 4:30, and park right in front while you can. If there's no line yet -- and usually there isn't, not until 5:00 or so -- you can walk over to Faces and check out that t-shirt that says Not All Who Wander Are Lost, and then go down to the Raven bookstore and browse the cybersociology books but buy yet another copy of Heinlein's Time Enough For Love. You people-watch -- there's nothing quite like Northampton sidewalk traffic; you think about coffee but don't get any.

When you get back there's a small family in front of you and, soon, a couple behind you, and then the line gets long behind you but you don't notice it at all. You can hear the soundcheck muddy through the glass, see the drummer's blackshirted back through the cracks in the "coming soon" broadsheets.

When the doors open you sit at a table two back from stageside, you back to the wall. It's the same table you sat at the last time you came down to the Iron Horse, almost a year ago -- too long. You order a small Pale Ale, and, later, a small order of BBQ wings.

You wait for your father.

Your father is coming from Boston; he'll miss the opening act. Erin McKeown will bring a drummer and second guitarist; together, they'll play an uneven set, at times beautiful beyond belief, at times muddy like the sound through the glass from outside. Your father will buy you the new CD on the way out; the two of you will have espresso together upstairs at Haymarket before the long ride home. You'll drive home in silence -- in thought, and, anyway, there's no CD player in the powder blue Grand Marquis you inherited from your mother's parents.

But now you wait and watch the people trickle in two by two behind the hostess, and test the waters of your soul, and find contentment. You attain a kind of nirvana, still in the middle of the music and the crowds and the chaos. And as nirvanas go, there is none so grand, really, as waiting for your father in such circumstances, nor so precious.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:36 PM |

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