Thursday, April 19, 2012


A friend told me how Alice in Wonderland concluded, her sister wakes her up with a cup of tea...last night I was lying in bed and i was thinking about that...sometimes this all feels like a dream, and i honestly wonder is someone going to wake me up?  I had been lying in bed most of this week with my headsets on just wishing this was a dream - every song that was randomly played kept taking me back to different years when I wasn't plagued with this illness, thus I began a musical trip down memory lane of concerts past...but first I was stuck on one artist I have never seen in concert - Edwin McCain - Solitude.  I first heard this song when a friend of the family gave me the best mix tape EVER.  My friends and I passed that tape around for years and all of a sudden it went missing - its still missed...

The song is about a childhood friend of Edwin McCain's who's mother left him in a treatment center even after the "doctor said he was well".   So he suffered, while she "enjoyed the convenience of his solitude" on the surface seems like a strange song for me to relate to - but I connect with it because like Timmy I often feel held against my will by this illness, and I relate to all that he missed because of being locked up.. one of my favorite lines is..."I didn't ask for this solitude...""I put all that behind me - just tell me - what was it like to go to your prom..." I can appreciate when he talks to his friend, he craves the ordinary, the banal events that were taken away from him.   I often crave such information, fill me in on what I have missed.  There is no denying, shades of solitude is a shared human experience, brought on by a spectrum of circumstances, but the end note is the same.  And fighting out of it can be what defines the experience.

As the country mourned Dick Clark today, it was clear his legacy was more than music, it was what music means, what it does, how it unites and how it here is a brief re-cap of my iPod journey...

Keb Mo / Just Like You..first saw him at A la Carte at the Zoo, a crowd no bigger than you would expect at a high school musical.  The second time my cousin, and two dear friends surprised me for my birthday with tickets where he was playing at Ravinia in Chicago.  I even waited in line and he signed my two CD covers which I had framed.  I still remember his patience while the couple in front of me told him play by play their entire engagement story with drum role please concluded with a bended knee and you guessed it..Keb Mo CD playing..

BoDeans - Good Things...The Riverside Theater, the first concert I took my little sister to, and the T-shirt she agonized over - BoDeans again - this just recently when she was pregnant - one of the last concerts before Sammy left - Sammy who I met one night out at a bar in my twenties - saying, "you look so familiar" - maybe because he was Sammy of the BoDeans...

Hootie and the Blowfish / Hold My Hand - saw them at a Labor Day festival in the park by the lake - Hootie's luggage was lost so he was wearing his golfing outfit! I remember my cousin Tom calling and saying, hey this band that is suppose to be kind of big soon is playing a free concert at the lakefront...

Dave Matthews Band / Crash Into Me with Jars of Clay/ Flood -Majestic Theater, went on a whim when my close friend's sister called and had an extra ticket.  I remember eating a grilled cheese sandwich before I left, I wore jeans and a black T-shirt and my hair in a pony tail.   I met someone had French Toast at MA Fischer's afterwards....Widespread Panic/Meeting of the Waters - rode our bikes, David Wilcox / Missing You , Blues Traveler /But Anyway - the Rave, Marc Cohn/ True Companion and Willy Porter / Watercolor Sunrise too may times to count - at BBC at Shank Hall at BBC again where my heart was broken wide open, and was begged for another chance and then beat broken and bruised for many years after.  "every time I think of you i always still catch my breathe...storm that's raging...makes me smile...heart that was breaking...message in the wire...hard to understand...battles of the spirit left us stranded...brighter days...take this cup of empty hope...just enough of someday a different path...and its all's your kindness i love best." love is forgiveness.

R.E.M - / Man on the Moon - one of the first concerts I ever went to with a group of my high school friends, at Alpine Valley - huge deal that my parents let me, frisbee and food and being ridiculous.""the day is long - and the night the night is yours alone and your sure you've had enough..of this life...hang on...""don't let yourself go...everybody cries...and everybody hurts...sometimes...""sometimes everything is wrong..."..."hold on...hold on...hold on..." those friends every day whether they know it or not have a lifetime of memories that bring me comfort.

Grateful Dead/ Sting - The concert was on my 21st birthday, all my friends wanted to go so they "surprised" me - I was living in Madison that summer - and the trip from Madtown to Soldier Field where I knew I would enter a sea of stoned euphoria was about the last thing on earth I would have wanted to do....then of course the Thunderstorm that hit so we were all forced inside to the hallways of Soldier Field - even better - crammed like wet sardines with totally stoned euphoric people waiting out the storm- not wanting to crash at the boyfriend of our friend's sister's apartment meant me -  probably the only person besides a recovering addict that was stone sober at a Grateful Dead concert to drive with Jodi and Vanessa - sorry my memory is faded while the others stayed the night back to Madison around 2am...funny in hindsight - not so much at the time! But thanks to the Ladies I can say I saw the Dead!

And so many more..TIna Turner - when I was about 12 with the parents! Summerfest too many great memories to count...John Cougar prior to Cougar Mellancampn /I was born in a small town...Rod Stewart - because Steph had to go!, BoDeans again and again - Violent Femmes/ Why Can't I get just one kiss..., Sarah McLlachlan - when you could listen to her without being overwhelmed with tears for the ASPCA..Natalie Merchant..."these are the remember..."

At the end of my dreams of concerts past, no one woke me up with a cup of tea to gently tell me this has all been a dream...but this marathon of sorts, my own personal Iron Man of health quest is concluding for the time being - I know I am leaving better than I came -and as Kelly Clarkson belts... "think you got the best of me -  think you left me broken down maybe you don't know me  - because you are dead wrong"..."what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller, doesn't mean I am lonely when I am alone...what doesn't kill you makes a fighter..." well CFS, ME, Immune Dysfunction Disorder, etc etc will not break me - you will not get the best of me...and I will fight like hell to get out of the grips of your Solitude.

Tim he was a good friend
Yea was a brother of mine
We were imaginary comic book superheroes
Kids wasting time
We were prisoners of our youth
We were growing up strong
'Til the day he was taken away
For something he did wrong

Tim came 'round just the other day
And boy he had some stories to tell
His mama kept him locked up in a rehab
Although the doctors said he was well
He said yeah I been through the anger
And the hatred towards my mom
And I put all that behind me
Just tell me what was it like to go to your prom

He said thank you mom for fixing
My clouded broken mind
But excuse me if I seem a little rude
While I was missing my childhood, my brother and my prime
You enjoyed the convenience of my solitude

Well growing up these days just ain't easy
And the kids they're doing the best that they can
So mama you better think twice
Before you lock your kid up and throw away the key
'Cause soon your little boy is gonna be a man

He said thank you mom for fixing
My clouded broken mind
But excuse me if I seem a little rude
While I was missing my childhood, my brother and my prime
You enjoyed the convenience of my solitude

Tim left town yesterday
He left me with these words
He said yeah I know this life's got a lot to give
But my childhood is gone
And I'm not afraid of dying
I'm gonna grab the world by the horns and learn how to live

He said thank you mom for fixing
My clouded broken mind
But excuse me if I seem a little rude
While I was missing my childhood, my brother and my prime
You enjoyed the convenience of my solitude

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