Ended up at the Hollywood Bowl Sunday night for the Etta James, Janelle Monáe, & Adele show. (Etta James called in sick and Chaka Khan filled in for her.) A wonderful night under the stars in H’wood with the same big search lights EXing out the sky. I try to go at least once a year…it always brings back childhood memories of sittin’ in my Grandparents box-seats, on my best behavior, wishing and hoping the performers would see me and ask me on stage with them.
Well this night was a little different then those days. A large group of high school friends and my new housemate sat way at the top, with wine, cheese, and blueberries. My housemate and i attempted to ride our bikes, navigating through the scary LA traffic streets, but quickly thought better of it and hopped on the shuttle. …Adele came on just as the sky darkened- allowing her image to come through as clearly on the screens as her voice did through the warm night air. Now- i have Adele’s record, i’ve heard the hit tune…but i wasn’t ever a true captivated fan. But after Sunday- i was convinced- a true fan. She was charming in an endearing nervous human sorta way. She forgot the lyrics to her song and had the band start over, and was totally honest with the audience about it. We all loved her more for it. Her voice rang just as the record, even better in some places in my opinion. She did some great covers and we all sat, listening, loving her soft nature and her focused voice. It was a lovely night at the bowl.
Next night- Ani Difranco at the Orpheum Theater Downtown with my bestest friend Mika. Now…i cannot not even count how many times i have seen Ani. Me- 14 years old, 30 people in the audience, and me staring up at her, drinking in each word she said with such thirst to understand. Usually accompanied Mika, Eden, Tory, and my little sister Alessandra…we would convince one of our parents to take us to her show. We have all grown up since then, and so has Ani. We all relate to each other a little differently, but we still live by the same rules. If you don’t already know Ani- you can choose to make that discovery on your own. Ani. Ani’s show was filled with old songs, many new ones- even one to President Obama. So many good new lines to learn. It has been a while in all honesty since i have bought one of her albums, less driven to buy and commit to memory every line- over and over used to sing. Growing up on Ani was a great gift. Her show reminded me of the older shows- just her guitar, drums, and bass. She started her show with SHY, she played BOTH HANDS, and she finished the show with OVERLAP. What more could you ask for? My thoughts racin’ as i listen to her genius lyrics…she says things that seem so obviously true, yet, why have we never said it like that before? She speaks with a gift that she shares with us all. i sit listening- inspired to write new songs…and FINISH the 15 i have half written scribbled in notes on the bottom of my purse and car floor, and keyboard shelf. Inspired to smile more at strangers and to be more honest with myself. “…Honesty is the hardest part…honesty is the highest art…”- Ani Difranco. Lyric from last night.
Walking out of the show, I say to Mika, “Ani is like finding your pulse again…like coming home without the baggage of family dynamics…” To which she replied- “Ya…its like she refreshes and renews– like a good night sleep.” We laugh at ourselves thinking how funny it would be if Ani could be explained so simply as “a good night sleep.” Funnier still- that night i lay awake for 5 hours, tossin’ and unable to sleep- thinking…perhaps it’s because I already had a good night sleep. ha- thanks Mika.
2 shows 2 nights 2 artists 2 great friends- 1 LA. Right now, feeling fortunate.