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the queen of California

July 23, 2009

I wish I could show you what the Greek Theatre looked like last night, but I am lazy, camera-less, and shamefully reliant on the Flickr community for all my photos.  And I can’t find a shot that looks exactly right. So I’ll have to tell you.

The Greek is an outdoor theater nestled up in the hills of Griffith Park.  It has a prim little stage and wings of red seats that spread messily backwards up the tree-covered slope. On concert nights, it smells like sun-warmed chapparrel, beer, and weed; and when the lights come up the stage loses its square propriety, crackling out of the darkness in gold and fuchsia.

We went to see the Counting Crows. There were some other bands there, too (Augustana and Michael Franti & Spearhead, for you musically inclined types), but the Crows were the real draw. Their shows are never the same twice.  And Adam Duritz….oh, Adam.  He is a giant, bleeding ball of emotion, kind of a wackjob, and looks a little like an exotic plant:

The amazing Adam Duritz, originally uploaded by gtvone.

and I love him madly, in spite or because of all this.

It was a concert that talked a lot about places. They did Augustana’s “Boston,” of course; they also did the Crows’ “Omaha” and “Miami” and “Goodnight, LA” and a snippet of “Raining in Baltimore.” Duritz shares my preoccupation with the idea of home: what it is; where it is; what you find when you leave it and what you find when you come back.

Molly, who was with me, commented that she likes concerts because the audiences are full of people who are there to see the same band you are, but who look totally different from you. She was quite right. It’s amazing that such weirdly disparate people love the same music — and sometimes, songs are so private and so emotionally charged that it’s amazing anybody else knows them at all. It’s the strangest feeling to listen to “Another Horsedreamer’s Blues” — the song you always hear alone; the song you had on permanent repeat that winter of 2007 when you were letting your whole life stall out and couldn’t quite get it started again — in a crowd of 6,000. It’s stranger when you realize that everyone else is singing along like they understand.

There’s also something magical about being in that theater, just above Sunset Boulevard, with the clear pink of a July sunset fading all around you, listening to those lyrics:

And it’s one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California
Think you should.

I think you should, too.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 23, 2009 6:59 am

    It was all good until the last line. For God’s sake, please don’t invite any more people to LA !


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