Before I sink // Ear down to the ground

MI0000411958Over the last 28 years I have seen hundreds of bands. Music has always been a dear friend to me and from a young age the majority of my spending money has been spent on paying my respects in person.  I’ve gone to shows with friends, with my sisters, with my boyfriends, with my cousins, I even go alone. People are sometimes puzzled when they hear that last admission but if you haven’t gone to a show alone I urge you to try it. That is the thing about music, you are never alone. When I was 16 years old I watched Eagles of Death Metal open for the Strokes. Chris Wooley and I made one of our many pilgrimages to San Francisco, and although I hadn’t heard of EODMetal before I immediately had a shit eating grin on my face when they launched straight into ‘I want you so hard/Boys Bad news’. I don’t know what song was playing when the gunfire began in Paris. For all the shows I’ve been to, it goes without saying that the notion that eight gunmen would come out and open fire has never crossed my mind. I don’t think terror that great is something those of us who have never experienced can even begin to accurately imagine. I don’t think anyone who lived through the attack would want us to. 29 minutes into the set I picture myself standing up towards the front of the stage, wearing my platform shoes to have a chance of seeing better, rhythmically dodging the taller person who always seems to end up in front of me, sipping the first of more than likely a few beers. There is no seed of doubt in my mind, no problems to be mulled over. When you’re at a show you have 90 minutes to be just another face in the crowd along side people who in turn share a little piece of you. Together you are the reason for the band being there. There is no sense that its all about you. The shows have always been what brings us together.

When I was 19 I went to Paris. When the rest of my Contiki group got in line to see the top of the Eiffel Tower, I set out to visit Jim Morrison at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.  One of the books I’d bought on the trip was Light my Fire: My Life with the Doors by Ray Manzarek. The best way I can describe my relationship with music is that when I love the song I don’t just want to hear it but I then want to know how many cups of coffee it was written over. I often refer to singers by their first names. Their music spanning through so much of my life that they’re some of my most treasured, strongest relationships. I know I am not alone in this sentiment and imagine many of the people at the sold out show at the Bataclan concert felt the same. An escape from our jobs, our problems, our relationships. Back then, that point in my life belonged to the Doors. I spent about thirty minutes finding Morrison’s headstone and another thirty standing near it.

When the musc is over, turn out the light

For the music is your special friend

Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
Until the end
 I silently thanked Jim from six feet above the ground. It is one of the moments in my life I remember most vividly because of the way in which it resonated with me. I might very well only be able to visit Paris once, but I would be damned if I spent it walking up the Eiffel Towers steps. When I look back on that day just about ten years later, I am perhaps even more firm in my decision. Remembering the somber demeanor of the dozen or so other faces standing around Jim’s grave. One hand on their mouths, I imagine also entertaining silent conversations with one of the men behind the music. It had brought us all there thirty years after he’d left us and it continues to pull people from all over the world. Music moves us to cities. To people. To decisions. To shows.
What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down
I hear a very gentle sound With your ear down to the ground
We want the world and we want it… We want the world and we want it… Now Now? Now!
Persian night, babe See the light, babe
Save us! Jesus! Save us!
Some of the people killed Friday night were at dinner. Some were watching a fútbol game. Some were listening to a band. All *129 of them won’t do any of those things again. Eat a meal. Root for their favorite team. Hear music. When you think about it in those simple terms, they’re faces rather than names. One of the victim’s shoes were visible outside of the white tarp placed over her body when I watched the news last night. She was wearing black boots like the ones resting under my television stand. A good two inches on the sole. I once again thought about all of the shows, all of the times I’ve stood close to the stage, next to the bar, tapping my black platform boots. There have been comments saying that it doesn’t do any good to post a photo, or a sentiment, or a flag. But for me, reading some of the things posted since the attacks has moved me not only to tears, but towards hope.
There is no reasoning for senseless loss of life. It is so easy to revert into fear. Let the bad guys win. But through all of this, there we are. I see us in the colors and the photos and the blog posts and the texts from our loved ones lucky enough to be able to say I love you. There ARE so many good people in this world. Friday night in Paris there were 8 bad ones. 129 victims. Millions of people sending their love. Billions of us still here.  Evil did not outweigh the good Friday night and it will not prevail in the future. My Rogers always used to say When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. I am humbled by the outpouring of love and heroism. Together we will mend our hearts, find strength in solidarity, hope that whoever is up there has mercy on the eight young men who committed these murders souls. Keep going to dinner. To games. To shows. For the 129 who no longer can, for the people who want to deny us that right, for the belief that we’re all here together. We will get through this.
                                                                     So when the music’s over
When the music’s over, yeah
When the music’s over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lightsWell the music is your special friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
Until the end
Until the end
Until the end!

One comment

  1. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to a show but I always loved going to them and making new friends while enjoying some of my favorite bands.

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