Friday night, we went to a concert, because we are cool like that. (No really. The opening act guy looked RIGHT at my half of the room and said we were cool. Even though I didn’t know what a “merc table” was. But, and this is the important thing, I figured it out) (Merchandise table)
We went to see Rodrigo y Gabriela (with Bonus DVD), and they are amazing. You need to buy their album, if you haven’t already. They play acoustic guitars that are plugged in (if you have questions, call our friend Mark, who was there, and he can explain it), but that doesn’t really begin to describe it. Their style is called “Flamenco nuevo” which, if you are like me means nothing to you. Their fingers fly over the guitar strings; their hands beat out intricate rhythms on the guitar bodies; their music is fantastic. It’s like nothing I’ve heard before, so I can’t really compare it to anything.
We heard them on the radio, and liked them so much we looked them up and bought the CD. It comes with a little concert DVD, so we already had an idea of how incredibly fast their fingers are, but live was so much better.
It was my first American concert in a very long time, with the exception of some summer outdoor concerts that were very casual. We arrived before the doors opened and stood in a very orderly line. There were no seats inside, which was new, (even in Africa, there was seating) so we had to stand. We were early enough that we were in the second line of people. However, I am somewhat height challenged, so even with that I was worried about being able to see.
The opening act was okay, not great, but he gave me time to take stock of the people around me. Directly in front of me, a frisky lesbian couple rubbed each other’s necks and backs, constantly, urgently. Next to them, a 60ish hippy couple, he with long grey ponytail and she in jeans, Felt the music very Deeply, in their Souls. They grooved in time, together, to the beat; they were Profoundly Moved and shook their heads Intently.
After the opening act, nothing happened for a long time. My feet began to ache; I felt the mermaid in the fairy tale who gets legs but with every step it feels like she’s walking on knives. I subtly tried to shake some feeling back into them and discovered a little ledge, about three inches high, attached to the barrier in front. I was able to gradually insinuate myself onto this ledge, along with the frisky couple, the hippy couple, and others who were squeezed alongside them. This helped a lot, especially as I was a bit down from the frisky couple, who had the habit of putting their noses together while I glared at the backs of their heads which completely cut off my view. (I just didn’t get it. Am I not romantic? This music was not slow mushy music, nor was it Deeply Felt music. It was fun, dance music)
Finally, what seemed like hours later, Rodrigo y Gabriela took the stage. They played a great concert. Everybody got into it. I had managed a spot on the far side of the frisky couple, where I could basically see (except when they moved, which they did a lot).
Suddenly, a woman who will henceforth be known as Drunk Kitty Cat arrived. I call her this because a. she was drunk and b. she was wearing black sequinned cat ears in her long blonde hair. I don’t know why. Possibly she doesn’t either.
She had already pushed her way past Mark and Christie and landed right near me. Now, here is the thing. I could have moved over. There was a tiny bit of room. But that would have put me right back where I couldn’t see again. And I saw no reason why I should move. So I used this little trick I learned from all those hours at Mauritel, standing in line to pay my bill. I put my elbow out, just the tiniest bit, so that it dug into her ribs.
“I’m here!” she announced, swaying.
“I’m here too,” I told her.
She swayed into me. I stood quietly with that elbow out, just a little bit. After a few minutes, she disappeared back from whence she came.
“Amateur,” I thought. Any Mauritanian worth his or her salt could have easily gotten me to move. That’s the thing these days–I see people trying things, trying to stop me from cutting in a long line of cars, for example, or getting drunk at a concert and trying to squeeze me out of my rightful place, and I almost feel sorry for them. I have lived in Africa. I know how to use my elbows, how to drive on a sidewalk, and many other useful skills. I didn’t realize how useful my new and improved personality would be here in the States, but it just goes to show we never know what skills we’ll end up needing in life.
Here are Rodrigo y Gabriela in concert. Pay attention to the blurriness which is her hand. Isn’t she amazing?