Sunday, September 7, 2008

how it will be

When I first began to tour, and the shows got bigger, and the stakes seemed higher, I began to develop a visceral stage fright. 

"You never know how it will be until you get on stage," I would tell myself.

That mantra crept into my days, and began to apply to other experiences -- nothing occurs the same way twice.  Everyone realizes that in their own way, I think, but I tend to forget.

Last night when we arrived to the smell of cheap beer and 1,000 red plastic cups, crushed cans and empty liquor bottles, I had planned not to drink, planned not to stay long.  I had been bombing recently you could say, and I didn't want that hangover, that shipwrecked feeling of being wasted and wanting to drive somewhere, wanting to read something, wanting to string together full sentences.

Six hours later, when we were standing on the top of the hill, looking out over the lights of the bay area, like circuits in a vast motherboard, and the whiskey had been passed around, and I had been talked into playing half of my songs, and volunteered all of the covers, all the hits from the nineties, and after the shots of bourbon and Jaeger, and after following my ride across a wet suburban lawn to the car, drunk clear to that place where you feel sober again - and everything feels important, my shirt was still wet from breaking up the fight between the two covered in liquor, bleeding from the arms and mouth. And standing there beneath the silhouette of a telephone pole against the sky, dusted with stars, and the long black strands of power lines --I had to say that I felt pretty good.

You really never know how it will be.