Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Indigo Sunday

Sunday 18 October 2009 - an Indigo night in Bristol.

Plan A had been to get to the Indigo Girls concert at either London or Brighton.

The plan fell apart upon discovery that both venues were sold out by the time I got round to trying to book.

So Bristol it was.

Only traces of Andrea make the trip. Bright red finger nails from the day before.

I arrive at the O2 Academy at 6:30 pm and join the end of a queue of maybe 40 people. There are three doorways, but just a single queue.

The queue gradually grows.

There was a time when bright red fingernails would have led me to keep my hands in my pockets most of the time. These days I’m not so bothered.

6:40. a barrier is built to demark the doorway on the right.

6:45 the queue is ushered across to the right of the barrier.

6:47 another barrier between the other two doorways.

6:50 signs appear.

To the left: O2 Customer Priority.

Middle: Paying and Guests

To the right: Ticketholders

O2 is a mobile phone company that also manage a selection of musical venues.

People with O2 phones begin to ask about the priority entrance.

All you need is an O2 mobile phone.

A little sheepishly the privileged few move across to the left.

Being an O2 customer I become a sheep.

Each O2 customer can bring a friend.

Within minutes I have a new buddette. Karen (I think) needs a friend with an O2 mobile phone. She’s been in the queue since 1:30.

7:00 the doors open.

No one checks anyone’s mobile phones.

I’m glad that I don’t have a handbag with me. They are all getting searched.

Into the auditorium and there I am standing at the very front just a few feet away from the stage.

“So … have you been a fan for long?”

The girl to my right and her husband have travelled over from Portsmouth.

She’s American and has seen Indigo Girls frequently in the USA.

Aged 30 and a fan since junior high school … age 14 or so.

She attended seminary and one day hopes to maybe be a pastor within the Lutheran church.

We talk a little about the church’s views on women, vicars, gays and lesbians. She smiles as she says that she was almost surprised to grow up and discover she wasn’t a lesbian.

We both see Indigo Girls as musicians that happen to be lesbians rather than lesbian musicians.

Favourite songs include The Wood Song, Ghost, Mystery and Loves Recovery.

Prefers the acoustic kind of sound.

8:00 and Stephanie Dosen takes the stage. And she is good.

I like her voice and her music.

She’s wearing a frilly white skirt. Black tights. A little wrinkled and torn. The tights that is.

Makes me smile to think how unfeminine I can imagine myself looking with torn tights and how feminine she looks.

Stephanie … smiling as she tunes her guitar.

“Joni Mitchell has a guitar that tunes itself when she pushes a little button.”

More twiddling and fiddling with the guitar.

A cute little smile.

Very quietly.


“Don’t anyone tell Joni I said that. When I see her I’ll tell her ‘I did not call you a bitch.’”

Stephanie introduces a song with what she insists is a true story.

A night drive in winter. Cows at the roadside. Cold and shivering.

She begins to sing. A freedom fighters song on behalf of the cows.

Drumming on the steering wheel.

All of a sudden the car is skidding, facing the wrong way and rolling over.

With a hint of sadness. “And the cows never came to visit.”

The words have changed, but the next song came out of those moments.

9:00. Emily and Amy take the stage.

They start to play and then stop.

Amy could perhaps have used a Joni Mitchell guitar at this point.

They both laugh a little.

“Any questions?” Emily asks the audience.

“What’s your favourite pizza?”

“Well … cheese is good. And lately … mushroom and Canadian bacon.”

The atmosphere is friendly, almost intimate.

“Amy … please may I have your plectrum?”

“My plectrum? Well yes … especially since you asked so politely.”

“So how many people here would have asked for a picker?” asks Emily.


“Only one?”

“But I am American”.

Amy: “Plectrum … it almost sounds sexual.”

Emily: “Anatomical.”

Amy: “Yes that’s what I mean.”

A request from the audience.

Amy: “Nooooo you cannot play with my plectrum. It’s a kinda personal thing.”

Amy: “It’s a good thing that our new songs are different than the old ones. If they were the same it would mean we never could have gotten better.”

Emily: “When I was younger I would write lots of songs. As you get middle aged it’s easy to find yourself repeating yourself. It takes longer to write songs now.”

Lots of conflicting song requests from the audience.

Then: “Play whatever you want.”
Amy, smiling : “That’s what Mr Obama says.”

“Amy, I love you.”

“Emily, I love you.”

Emily: “We love you too.”

All of a sudden its 10:40 and the stage is empty.

And then they are back and play a couple more songs.

Amy hands over the plectrum.

Time for home.

I loved it. The music. The people. The experience.

Just a few minutes ago I booked a ticket at the Concorde 2 in Brighton for next Monday – it seems it’s not quite as sold out as I thought. £20 at the Concorde 2 web site. The alternative was a bargain at £94 from what is, I guess, a less than honest web site. Now I just have to organise leaving work early enough to get to Brighton by 7:30.

A little like Emily I find it easy to find myself repeating myself.

See what I mean … three myselfs in two sentences.

It’s an easy thing to do in a blog.

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