anything but gray

I hemmed and hawed about David Gray. I couldn’t make up my mind. I decided a week before the concert not to go. I was planning the possibility with a teacher friend who adores David Gray and has seen him several times. In the end we said that the money, the travel, and having to work the next day so early were just too much. We said we’d see him next time ‘round.

Then Saturday came and my brother called, “Did you buy your tickets?”

“No,” I said.

“Why? We’re going.”

“It’s too much money. I just decided not to go.”

Then I went to see Coldplay and standing there, 20 feet away from Chris Martin I decided I had to go see David too. Once you get the concert bug, you’ve got to scratch that itch. I knew I couldn’t leave my teacher friend out so I made a last minute request for his presence. He declined. And then I called my brother.

“Can I still ride with you? I still need buy my ticket.”

“Let me call my friend before you buy your ticket.”

“Ok,” I said. I wasn’t about to turn that down.

The next day at lunch my teacher friend walks into the cafeteria. “You’re going to hate me,” I said.

“Why?” he asks.

“Because my brother got me a free ticket,” I looked up with hopeful puppy dog eyes.

“Oh, I’m just happy you can go. It’s a great show, better than Coldplay.”

I touched his hand, “You’re so sweet."

"I'm a little bit jealous," he said making his forefinger and thumb measure out an inch of air.

"Want me to get anything signed for you?”

“No, I got him to sign a CD the last time I saw him.”

“Oh, well, since you’re best friends...” I was joking and the guilt had been lifted.

It’s hard to explain how special concerts are, how they change the music absolutely. I think that David Gray was the most professional concert I’ve ever been to. It seemed to me to be perfect and flawless, apart from the time where David’s microphone went dead. And now, the concert repeats in my head, but his albums are so close to exact replicas which allow me to almost relive it. And that’s good to me because when live shows differ so much from the CD then you come away with two different kinds of love for that music and you can’t ever recreate the magic of the live versions.

David’s songs have new images now. I see him singing them. I don’t picture the story he tells in them, I see him and his bobble head, his perfectly tailored dark blue suit, his explosive drummer, his shadow projected 20 feet tall behind him, the bleached hair of his keyboardist that my brother knows, and the calmness of the seated crowd in front of him.

When my brother told the keyboardist of the near brawl that erupted over two twenty-something girls who wanted to stand while everyone around shouted at them to sit, his British reply was, “It’s not really a dancing show though is it? We have songs that are slow and slower.” And that’s what I love about David Gray and his backing band, they’re all mellow and that’s OK with me.

For you: my current favorite song.

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