Better than a shoe dream was a dream gig. Saturday night we went to Tarrytown to see Ian Hunter play.
We drove two hours through blazing fall colors on the Taconic Parkway, one of the loveliest drives on earth, unless it’s raining or snowing at which point I think it becomes pretty treacherous. We were taking the road at peak leaf-changing time, so that every bend and dip and rise led to yet another “aaahhh” and “ooohhh” at the golds, oranges and reds. From me, anyway. Eric, being English, confines himself to curt nods.
Tarrytown is a monied version of small town America – lots of strollers and shops and the Music Hall dominating the Main Street. We went into Sweetgrass to say hi to John Wesley Harding who was opening the night’s show. I almost gasped when I saw he was dining with Eleanor Friedberger from the Fiery Furnaces. The sweet indie princess said “hey, we have the same hair” to me and I immediately felt cooler than I have in probably ten years. If you feel like an anachronism…just wait it out.
We marveled at how quickly we were served, and how good the food was – in France we’d gotten used to judging the quality of a restaurant on whether we’d get food poisoning or not. I did miss those low-cost pichets of wine though – the price of a simple glass has nudged up to nine or ten dollars.
Tarrytown Music Hall is an antique vaudeville theatre – you can’t call it “restored” because it looks like they didn’t have enough money to do much more than clean the place up and turn on the lights – it is glorious in its untouched shabbiness. As we were picking up our tickets, a nice man came up and said he knew we’d be there because I’d written about it on my Twitter! A fan of both Eric and I, he made us feel like secret stars. I didn’t even feel bad that the ticket envelope misspelled my name.
We were admiring the decorative touches of the theater when we ran into James Mastro – he plays guitar in Ian Hunter’s band. Next thing we knew we were whisked backstage to meet the man himself and he is such a sweetheart, such a nice man. I felt like I was in my own version of Rock Dreams, seeing him and Eric chatting. It was good to see the other guys in the band that I knew from back in NY, Andy Burton ace keyboard player and Mark Bosch.
Wes did a great job opening and Eleanor came out and sang a song. When IH and band came out to play I realized we were sitting right in front of his piano – a perfect spot even though I loved when he picked up the acoustic too. Wow, he still has total charisma and one of the greatest voices – the way his melodies fall and then climb is so tied with that voice, to hear him now in person was almost too much for me – how many drives have Eric and I done to “Mott”? Lyrics that contain all the wisdom of the universe, he just tosses out there with a knowing laugh – hell! He is 72. There is hope. It was great to hear all the old favorites but some of the newer songs were just as powerful, Man Overboard especially.
I was so captivated by his performance I was almost able to ignore the texters, talkers and bathroom-goers all around (at least I think that’s where they were going – they all looked like they took too good care of themselves to be smokers) – when did people become so constantly busy at concerts? And the dad with his ten year old sitting right behind us, giving a song by song commentary until the poor tyke was practically in a coma. Let the kid have his own experience, if that’s possible in this day and age! Still, the band managed to inch the volume up. And in end there was enough devotion and focus in the room to bring about two encores.
We hung out way too late and the two hour drive after was longer without the fall foliage. Eric did the driving while I looked out the window at moonlight on the Catskills, wondering if it was all true, that we were really here in New York, or would I wake up back in France, wishing I could be out in the world?
An orthodox Jew in khaki shorts emerging from a rest area men’s room and a crumpled envelope in my coat pocket reading “Rugby, Amy” confirmed that this was real life.