when the dream came

This is a continuation of my post from earlier today. I’m jotting down some things I remembered from last night’s Bridge School benefit concert. I left off in between sets, and while Letter and I were away from our seats on another stroll around the amphitheater we heard a few cheers and people shouting. He said, “something happened in the game”, but people we asked didn’t know anything. Eventually, we heard an authoritative source (some guy in the line for the gents) say “Uribe went yard”. Giants lead, 3-2. After we got back to our seats, the radio man got us caught up; we’re in the ninth, Brian Wilson is pitching, and there’s one out. Then the MC comes out to introduce Billy Idol. I’m not that familiar with him, other than his big hits from years ago. The first song was a Billy Idol song. We were more focused on the Giants game, frankly. Radio guy holds up his right hand with his index and little fingers extended; the infielder’s sign for two down. One out away from the World Series. Now, we’re mostly watching the radio guy as he relays the count. The Phillies have guys on base, and Wilson appears to be pitching carefully; the count goes full. Now, radio guy leans forward, holding his radio earphones close. No information. We’re all thinking; single, tie game. Or double, two runs score. Basically, we’re all adjusting to the reality of game seven. He’s still leaning forward, dismissing any attempts to contact him. What’s going on? Billy Idol’s first song is still going on. Suddenly, radio man jumps to his feet, arms thrust to the sky. High fives all around. In the amphitheater the crowd is rising to its feet. Billy Idol and his band must be thinking; we have some fans here in the Bay Area. His set continues in its nervous, energetic manner (what Mr. Idol referred to as his “crystal meth set”) and yes, we’re all Billy Idol fans now. Let’s give credit where credit is due; even without inserting a National League pennant win to his set, he was very entertaining. He finished with a Rebel Yell. The next act was Elvis Costello, accompanied by Emmylou Harris. They did a few Gram Parsons songs, including Sleepless Nights, which Emmylou dedicated to Ben Keith. Ben and L.A. Johnson were two close associates of Neil Young who died in recent months. The night had a few remembrances for both, L.A. Johnson was a key figure in the Bridge School, as well as being a long-time friend of Neil’s. They met at Woodstock. After Elvis and Emmylou’s set was Pearl Jam. They’ve been at the Bridge shows many times. Eddie Vedder mentioned that the night before was the 20th anniversary of their first show as a band. He also said that they probably would have only stayed together for a few years if it hadn’t been for the support of someone he referred to as “Uncle Neil”. Vedder has such a great voice. Their set was well architected; at the Bridge shows the main guys probably get to play 6 or 7 songs, much less than a regular show, and so they have to choose carefully. The Pearl Jam set was like one song, with a rich variety of sound and emotion. Now, another break before the final set. I have to admit to you that I had low expectations for the Buffalo Springfield reunion. It’s been a long time – 42 years – since they’ve performed or recorded as a group, and their canon is not particularly extensive. Their fame might have as much to do with what Stills and Young did after. I told Letter this. He looked at me funny. Then the music started; On the Way Home. The guitars were bright and brilliant, the harmonies were clear – it was like they had the spirit of their music preserved all these years, and unleashed it using 2010 sound systems. Letter said; they’re awesome. No argument here. I’ve seen Neil a bunch of times, but never with Stills. They had their ‘opposites attract’ thing going on in several of the guitar solos. I hope there’s a good video or audio of this set available someday. They did a nice swamp rock version of For What It’s Worth. I like how Stills would toss his guitar pick out into the crowd after each song. The last song was Mr. Soul. If this wasn’t an old song, and they weren’t old, I don’t see how this song wouldn’t be hugely popular. The song ends with Neil asking us repeatedly, “why don’t you ask her?”. That’s one of those questions that’s hard to answer. And that was it. I could see Neil talking to Steven just off stage after the song, maybe asking him if he wanted to play one more song. In any case, I saw Steven shake his head no and walk away. After that, everybody came out to sing Rockin’ in the Free World. Bridge 24. I’m so glad that the Letter and I decided to go this year. It was a great night, and I’ll never forget it. Now that I’ve written it down.

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