I wanna live forever...
But seriously. I've never seen it this close and personal. And it was so civil in this flavor, but I still was overwhelmed for her.
That's right, tonight, E and I went to a live music show for the first time in a long time. First since 2001 for E, or so he claims. I think it hadn't been quite that long for me, but I really couldn't be sure.
Anyways, E knows Kaki from back in the day, as does C, so, we decided to use it as an excuse to meet up and hang out and listen to amazing music with friends. That's how we found ourselves at the Great American Music Hall (for the second night in a row we were up in SF for a social event -- is hipsteritis a diagnosis?).
First of all, I expected she would be amazing. E had spoken highly of her and he's generally light on the musical compliments. Plus, I'd heard some tracks online that blew me away because they sounded like multiple classical players doing a duet on the guitar but were supposedly her, alone, live, as in not overlaid tracks. And, of course, I'd heard the rumor that she was the only female to be inducted into the Rolling Stones new guitar gods list. How could I not expect the awesome?
But the show hit me harder than I expected.
At times it was cheesy and I felt for her as she is no doubt still struggling to find her voice. But, at another point, when she was shredding the shit out of an accoustic guitar, solo, on stage, and keeping some percussion while she was at it, I cried.
It was so perfectly beautiful: such greatness from the stage, so close. Daddy would have really liked her music. He would have used big superlatives to describe the awesome talent of the tiny sprite. And I missed him through her fast finger melodies more than I had in quite some time. I hadn't even cried the last time I'd visited his grave, so this took me by surprise. In truth, I've always been auditory, (and in order to continue my ability to be so, I had to plug my ears for the loud, crazy-loud finale of screaming punk at this event as well), so I don't know why I was surprised that great auditory art would hit me emotionally hard. Opera makes me cry. Why not good guitar?
Anyways, at the suggestion of her stage manager, after the show, we waited around to say hi. And then, she was there. Immediately, she was accosted by several fans, all waiting to speak with her and keeping a respectful distance, but they slowly, as a pack, ever so slowly, closed in.
Someone swooped in to give her a glass of white wine. But, despite her awesome musical powers and the healing powers from the vine, she seemed tiny, small, and in need of protection. The crowd was awed, and amazed, and truly, just wanted to be in the presence of greatness. So, they pressed in, and one-by-one, the more aggressive made their way to the front. Of course, her interactions became less and less open.
I saw that she was overwhelmed and my heart went out to her (much like it went out to Kevin Federline when I last saw him, but that's another story).
So, I grabbed E's hand, pushed through the crowd (I can be one hell of a battering ram when I need to be) and acted the part of the proud wife:
Hi, I'm sorry to swoop in here, but you know my husband from back in the day...
[pained look from Kaki as she turns back from the suprisingly frank gesture she made just prior to our arrival gesture: one of hands in the air, shoulders shrugged, as if to say, and now? What next? How do I deal with this large crowd? I've never sold out a venue this large before...]
Ian...Ithelios... she struggled through her memory to place E's name.
E..., I helpfully replied. [Kaki glanced my direction, but in truth, she looked through me and then looked to E, searching for something familiar.]
[C, E, and I formed a very effective barrier between Kaki and the rest of the crowd, if only for a brief moment.]
E! [She buried her face in his chest with a big hug. She took his face in her hands. She hugged him again. And then, gleefully, more animated than she had been for at least 10 minutes, she backs up and studies him.]
You've grown up! [She hugs him again and she looks to me, so I introduce myself and C, another person she knows from back in the day.]
Her relief is palpable. I can only assume it is because she feels she knows us.
But, truth be told, she doesn't, really. And, despite the brief interlude of hugs and false proximity, we all know it. Her first thought is of the same story of crank calling E as a kid that he told me about her, so we laugh about that. Then, I compliment her on her talent. She asks what E is up to and we briefly discuss his company. We discuss her little sister and the fact that we have all seen her recently.
And finally, we leave. I can't help but feel, from the furtive glance she gives us as we leave, that she wishes we weren't making room for the pack of less familiar fans behind us.
I desperately wanted to go speak with her manager. I wanted to say, "She is tired. Overwhelmed with the sold-out show in a venue where she first opened her west coast presence as an unknown 5 years ago. Give her a graceful exit from tonight's amazing performance before she tries to create one on her own, for goodness sake!"
But, I am not a professional content producer or a manager of any similar talent. No doubt, they know what they are doing.
I'm not sure I would have the strength to bear the reality of finding foreign comfort in the hug of a home-town friend I hadn't seen in at least 5 years. Certainly not while recovering from the Flu. And yet, if she goes on to the greatness and fame that I suspect she will, she will have to find this strength often, unless or until she becomes so famous that even those from back in the day get the scared glances.