Friday, June 27, 2008
Music in the Gardens
Last night was one of those perfectly balmy summer evenings that involved great friends, yummy food & wine, music legends, dancing children and ice cream cones. HDW & HDH graciously swept me away to one of my favorite Denver locations, the Denver Botanic Gardens for an evening of music with a very funny Loudon Wainwright III (pictured above) and Richard Thompson, whose guitar playing blew my mind.
Parking in a leafy neighborhood and carrying our chairs, blankets and dinner, we strolled into the gardens and, once again, I marvel at how much easier my life is since I moved to Colorado. The chirpy volunteers greeted us and said with a smile, "Have a good time!" Then, we found a nice, grassy corner and made camp. EZ.
HDW is one of my favorite Colorado Homegirls and being her friend is also very easy. When I travel to far off lands, she send me cards that welcome me home. When I get sick, she brings over 7-Up and bags of cold medicine. When she buys concert tickets for me/us, she conveniently "forgets" about the money I owe her. When I am eating the delectable fried chicken that she thoughtfully picked up from Whole Foods, she apologizes that it is "so messy." EZ squared.
She is married to the type of man that I love to engage in conversation: The Curmudgeon. All my favorite male buddies fit into this same category, I'm not sure why. I guess because they are naturally wired to be suspicious of all things seemingly ideal or perfect. Therefore, when spontaneous bursts of friendship and/or love do surface, they are often comical. Like the time HDH gave me a surprise hug when I came to the door. "Well, I was going out to get the mail anyway ... " he said. Cracks me up.
Anyway ... THE MUSIC! Oh, my. For any young 'uns reading this, you need to understand that these two fellows - Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson - are full-on legends who just happen to be alive. Loudon was hailed as "the new Bob Dylan" back in the 60s but he ended up being very much himself. He is a singer and very prolific songwriter but he is also known as a humorist and god, he's funny.
He sang one song he described as "a song about bad love that also includes death and decay! Whee! Here we go!" He then cheerily sang about being wronged by a lover only to have to ID their body at their morgue. Clever stuff. Wish I knew the name of it.
Randomly, Loudon is also the father of two other famous singer-songwriters, Martha Wainwright and Rufus Wainwright - both brilliant and cheeky as well. Loudon also has random acting parts, which I always forget. He played Katherine Heigl's gynocologist in Judd Apatow's hilarious film, "Knocked Up" and also wrote the movie's soundtrack with Joe Henry.
Then there was Richard Thompson and holy bejeezus, the bloke can PLAY. HDH and I had to admit that we didn't know much about him but a simple Wikipedia entry cannot do justice to seeing the man work a guitar right before your popped out eyeballs. It's a weird trick - his fingers barely move yet there is all kinds of complicated fancy music coming out of the instrument. Not surprisingly, this British gentleman was named in the Top 20 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." I say, Eric Clapton - eat your heart out.
Thompson sang one song I especially liked, about how he lusted for smart women. I wish I could get a hold of it and especially, the lyrics to print here. It was brilliant and it made me wonder where are all other fellows who dig brainy chicks... ? Those are the ones I need to find.
Then, there were the children. For some reason, I LOVE the idea of young kids - who clearly have no idea who or what they are listening to - respond in the most natural way: boogying down. There was one girl in pink (of course) who was so enthusiastic about what she was doing that her own flailing kept knocking her down. One guitar solo after another, she would just pop back up and start all over again.
I think she would agree, it was a perfect summer evening.