I vividly remember sitting in my Journalism class my freshman year of high school. I’m sure it would come as no surprise to anyone that my obsession was music, and I wanted so badly to write a concert review like the ones I read in all of the magazines. Of course, my teacher told me I could only do that if I actually attended the concert. Makes sense now, but I remember being bummed because the only shows anywhere near me were in Tallahassee, FL and that was never going to happen for me.
All these years later, I could write a book of all of my concert adventures. I made up for all the shows I had to be sad I was missing. Even better, the first half of all of those memories happened in Tallahassee. Life is a funny, funny thing.
While this still isn’t a concert review (sorry young Alisha, you still aren’t writing for music magazines), it is about a whole load of emotions surrounding a concert I bought tickets for last October. And as with everything in my life, it’s about way more than just a concert–it’s more full circle stuff.
Those who know me know that I have a massive respect for Dermot Kennedy. The way he sings with such passion takes his true to life lyrics to a whole other level. I remember when I first found out about him, I loved that he typically sang with his eyes closed. I kept hoping no one would ever ask him to stop doing that, but I know the music industry rarely agrees with my thinking…
For this part, I feel like Sophia from The Golden Girls…”Picture it, February 15, 2020…” It was my very last show before the world shut down–only none of us had any idea that night.
I got to the venue, checked in, got to meet him and then magically be front row to watch him sing his heart out with all of the songs I’d grown to love dearly. I met two amazing girls at that show, and it’s so crazy to look back at us singing our little hearts out and laughing…we had no idea that would be our last night doing so before being scared and unsure of every piece of our worlds.
By the grace of God, we all made it through what was to come…and when he announced a show in Nashville, TN the summer of 2021…we drove from our respective cities and got to once more sing our hearts out to his music. We got to stand in the crowd and sing “To all my friends, you’ll find your way, some summer night I hope I see you again.” That moment wasn’t lost on any of us.
Time went by and another tour was announced after his new album came out. I was so worried about the new album because it’s the sophomore album, and like every musician knows, you have your whole life to write your first album, but then you’re sometimes rushed to write the next. I shouldn’t have worried because he clearly still has more to say that will make me feel like something just hit me in the chest. So there’s that.
Last October, I was in the thick of trying to figure out how to navigate the whole MS diagnosis, but I bought the tickets for last night’s show anyway. It was yet another one of those instances where you buy the tickets and figure out how you’re actually going to get there later. There were A LOT of moving parts for me to make it to that show, but it happened! I spent last week almost losing sleep over how, then I worried about how I would feel being in the heat (outdoor venue and getting there early for the VIP stuff), and let’s not forget the dilemma of not being able to eat 99% of things you can buy from a drive-thru or concession stand.
However, something happened while I was in the middle of worrying yesterday. I thought I was dealing with anxiety, but it turned out that I just had butterflies. You know, the ones I thought had all died. Well, they somehow managed to find their way back. Once I figured that out, I got in my car and went for it.
I pulled up to the venue and as soon as I stepped out of my car, I could hear him doing the soundcheck. That was cool and all, but he wasn’t just playing any song. He was playing his newest song, “Don’t Forget Me.” The poor guy on the golf cart parked beside me probably thought I’d lost my mind. He was nice and gave me my minute to soak in that song before I paid for parking, though. I greatly appreciated that since I’d only gotten to hear a snippet of that song the previous day and I just KNEW it was going to be good. Hearing it at soundcheck meant we were all in for a treat at the show because our city was going to be its debut. I was correct…that song was even better than I could have imagined. Kind of wild how things work out.
Meeting bands and going to concerts has always been a process, and my goodness, this one was no exception, but here comes the magical part that makes it all worth it. I got to kick off my tennis shoes and sing every single song at the top of my lungs, cry it ALL out, and all at this beautiful, outdoor venue with the summer breeze blowing, and an almost full moon illuminating the passing clouds above all of us. There’s just something about music floating around a place like that.
The crazy part? While I was full into my crying it all out, a girl tapped me on the shoulder. My first thought was that she was going to tell me I was being annoying or that I was in her way and she couldn’t see. It was the exact opposite! She said they’d noticed my energy and were excited to see someone who gets his music and appreciates it. For whatever reason, having someone tell me, at the height of my “too much,” that I was actually a joy to be around was quite nice. Then, she came back again and we ended up talking after the show. Somehow, I thought to ask them where they were from. Ready for this? She is from my hometown. In case you don’t know…it’s tiny. I’m still not over that. She also made my whole year by thinking I looked young enough to have graduated around the same time as her…um…in 2013. Compliment of the century for me. Just another “what are the chances” thing. I’m starting to love those!
Unfortunately, I was only allowed to bring in my phone, so I don’t have any worthy photos from the show, but it was also nice to take it all in and sing to the sky.
These are just a few photos. I had to have something to remember it actually happened.
Both shows I went to as VIP, they gave me a lyric poster for him to sign. The first was his song, “Power Over Me.” This time, it was “Dreamer.” Neither could have been any more perfect.
I’ve been having the conversation a lot lately about how some days, I’m not sure if I’m the genius kind of weird, or if maybe I’m just weird? It fluctuates from day to day whether I’m grateful to have this crazy brain that thinks long term and has a million ideas of things I want to do, or if I hate the fact that I can’t just be “normal.” I think I’m starting to realize that if I were “normal” (whatever that is), I wouldn’t have all of these amazing stories to tell. I would have never taken the chances I have in order to follow my heart. What a shame that would be…
So, I think I’ll stick to being the “dreamer writing stories down the back of the class/now I sit at this piano with my heart in my hands/take my love and all my loss and get the darkness to dance.”