Thursday, July 8, 2010

music for a summer night

Rain soaked pathways, dripping trees, humidity heavy in the air, Joelle and I made our way through the pathways at the Minnesota Zoo last night.  Our destination was the amphitheater, located next to a small lake (or large pond, depending on how you see it).  We were there to see Mary Chapin Carpenter, one of my favorite singer/songwriters.

Not having been to a concert at the zoo before, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I had read all of the info on their website-show is rain or shine, no umbrellas, no refunds.  It had rained, heavily, much of the afternoon, which delayed things getting started, and once we were finally in our seats I could tell it would be an uncomfortable night. 

The concert is held where they have the outdoor bird shows, and your 'seat' is a 15 inch spot on the wooden benches that surround the stage.  The rows are so close together, I had less leg room than on an airplane, and felt bad that my knees kept bumping into the back of the man in front of me.  There were folks in our row whose bottoms took up twice the allotted fifteen inches, forcing the rest of us to squish our cheeks and turn our shoulders so we could all fit.  And you have to sit like that for the whole concert.  The slipped discs in my spine and the arthritis I suffer from left me in pain by the end of the night.

Thank god the music made up for it.  Mary Chapin Carpenter has the sweetest smile, and she truly loves to entertain and sing for you.  Due to the delays, the opening act only played a three song set, and Mary played straight through, with no 30 minute intermission.

Her songs include beautiful ballads, rocking, toe-tapping romps, and wistful views of life.  She played one of my favorites, she has written so many amazing songs I was thrilled when I heard the familiar chords of this tune begin:

Why Walk When You Can Fly

In this world there's a whole lot of trouble, baby

In this world there's a whole lot of pain
In this world there's a whole lot of trouble
But a whole lot of ground to gain
Why take when you could be giving, why watch as the world goes by
It's a hard enough life to be living, why walk when you can fly


In this world there's a whole lot of sorrow
In this world there's a whole lot of shame
In this world there's a whole lot of sorrow
And a whole lotta ground to gain
When you spend your whole life wishing, wanting and wondering why
It's a long enough life to be living, why walk when you can fly

In this world there's a whole lot of cold
In this world there's a whole lot of blame
In this world you've a soul for a compass
And a heart for a pair of wings
There's a star on the far horizon, rising bright in an azure sky
For the rest of the time that you're given, why walk when you can fly

It was a full house, and an interesting crowd.  Her band really made the evening fun, and they returned after a rousing ovation to play three more songs.  She talked about our giant mosquitos, and let us know we could come on stage and share her bug spray.  A panicked duck flew over the crowd for a bit, before finally flying right over Mary's head and out into the water.  A very loud tree frog accompanied the band most of the evening, she had great good humor about all of the spontaneous additions to her concert.

I left the zoo aching and sore, and glad to be stretching my limbs.  And more in love with her than when I arrived.

And Joelle-this ones for you!

Wooden benches
Sticky bodies
Croaking frogs
Pass the Poncho!

No umbrellas
Fowl drama
Large behinds
Pass the Poncho!

No raindrops
Cold lemonade
Darting bats
Pass the Poncho!

Thanks for such a fun night, it made for a great summer memory.

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