Sunday night at the Cowboy Junkies concert, in Alexandria, VA, lead singer Margo Timmons told a funny story about her son. It was the last stop on their tour before heading back to Canada for a few weeks off and her son was anxious for her to get home and basically wanted her to skip the show and head back earlier. Since she couldn’t do that, she promised to sing him a song – any song he wanted. He wanted her to sing one of the band’s new songs, the one about “all of the blood and bleeding”.
You hear a story like that and you don’t feel like a bad mom for leaving your kids home for the evening to hit a concert with a group of girlfriends. I’m sure that little Edward probably knows on some level that folks haven’t been coming to hear his mom’s band for the past 20 years in search of pep or a warm and fuzzy feeling. In fact at one point in the evening, Timmons announced that she was going to sing another, “sad song” because she loved them and she figured the fact that we were there meant that we all probably loved sad songs too.
It was a fun night with good friends and the first time I’ve heard the Junkies from a venue with seating. I think all Junkie concerts should be in seated venues. It was nice to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. The last time I heard them play live, I was still breastfeeding my daughter and distracted by my ballooning bosoms. This time around I was able to go with the flow and get lost in the sound.
This concert was very different from last month when me and my friend, DeeAnn, took our daughters to an Adele show at the 9:30 Club in D.C. First off we stood the whole time. Secondly, the crowd was more diverse and although we saw a 75-year-old, shaking her groove thing, the average age of an Adele fan is much younger than the average age of a Junkie fan.
Since Adele is only 20 herself, she gives off a different energy. When she’s talking with the audience it is as if the entire time she’s thinking, I can’t believe I’m on this stage, commanding this space and all of these people paid to see me. She’s new to the fame thing and although she’s a confident performer, you can tell that she’s just tickled to be there. Her voice sounds like it originates from her toes and moves through her body and out her mouth where it literally knocks you out, yet she sort of leans against the mic like it’s really no big deal to throw those big, bluesy notes into the atmosphere.
Whereas Margo Timmon’s sound is ethereal and resonates from the neck up. It’s a more angelic voice that seems to fly down from above and skip like a stone off her vocal chords before heading out to the audience. Her stage presence is much different. When the band takes a few minutes to rock out, she turns her back to the audience, takes a seat, and sips her tea, almost to say, “Well boys will be boys, so I’m going to let these guys have their moment. Let me know when they’re done and I’ll get back to singing.” She’s in her third decade of performing. She can turn her back on the audience and trust that they’ll be there when she turns around.
After all of the manufactured, lip syncing performances of the inauguration and The Super Bowl, is was so nice to listen to a live performance. There were some sound issues and sometimes words were lost in the shuffle. Adele warned us that one of her songs was written about someone she can’t stand so sometimes when she sings it she gets a little pissy and forgets the words. At one point during Something More Besides You, Timmons did forget the words so she did what anyone would do. She laughed and said, “Shit,” before finding her place in the song.
These last few weeks have reminded me how much I enjoy concerts and hearing what a performer sounds like outside the studio. That’s the whole point of seeing someone live. You want to get a feel for their personality outside of the music. You want to know if they really do have the chops or if their CD was filled with a shit-load of post production. And frankly as a parent I loved taking my kid to a show to see someone that wasn’t stick thin with matrix-style choreography that distracts from the music. I want her to see that girls with amazing abilities can do their thing, their own way on their own terms. So we start with gals like Adele and hopefully we’ll get to to a Junkies concert someday.
At least my eldest will be able to say that she went to her first concert with one of her best friends at a DC night club – she’ll just have to leave out the part about her mom being there.