Thursday, April 24, 2008
Last night I went to what is probably the best concert I have ever been to, Swell Season, at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix. The Swell Season consists of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the stars of the Oscar winning film Once. I am a huge fan of the film, and had high hopes for the concert which featured music performed and written by the actors from the film. Needless to say, I was not let down.
The concert started unlike any I had seen. Glen walked to the edge of the stage by himself, holding his guitar. He waited for the hundreds of people inside to quiet down, and began to play a song, entirely unplugged, to delight of the utterly silent crowd. I was in the last row in the balcony, as far back as you can get in what is a big theatre, and due to the amazing acoustics I could hear every word and guitar string resonating perfectly. The rest of the concert was wonderful, and I can only liken the beauty of the music (featuring a guitar, piano, violin, mandolin and perfect harmonies) to what amounted to nothing short of a spiritual experience for me. After the show, my girlfriend, my friend Jared and I sat still in our seats as everyone around us left. It was almost as if we didn't want to speak for fear of detracting from the profundity of what had just transpired. As if we were playing back the last moments and notes of the night, praying that the melodies and harmonies would remain fresh in our minds and knowing that mere rhetoric could never encapsulate something that can only be expressed and understood through experience.
Anyway, after the show I performed my classic "kelley ambush" and was able to talk with both Glen and Marketa after the show. They are both really nice people, and after going to the Czech Republic (Marketa's home) I actually found something substantive to talk to her about. So it was the perfect end to a profound night, and if you have not seen the movie Once, get out and see it, or at least buy the Swell Season CD, its awesome.