Monday, July 30, 2012

Good Music and Good Friends

You all know from the URL of this blog that I have an immense love for Gavin DeGraw. His music has changed my life. As a live performer he is beyond compare. I got the opportunity to see him twice last week in two different settings. The first one was a fairly large crowd and made me feel kind of like I was at a sporting event. It wasn't a stadium or anything like that, but it had a very impersonal feel. I'm used to seeing Gavin in much closer quarters. I found that performance to be a bit lackluster, not the least of which was because of the sound engineering. I also felt like his set was very generic, which felt right in line with the direction that I see his career going in. Luckily, I didn't pay money for that particular show. One of my friends won free tickets and asked if I'd like to go with her. I also got to meet up with some other friends, so the night wasn't a total loss.

To be perfectly honest, I was dreading going to the show the following night, especially since it was in Hyannis (Cape Cod) and I had to drive to get there. Had it not been for the fact that a friend was depending on me for a ride, I wouldve stayed home. All I can say is thank God I didn't stay home! The second show was in a more intimate setting and Gavin was able to connect with his audience. That's what was missing from the show the night before. I bet all he could see is light and just the faces in the front row. Not so, at this smaller venue, which has a rotating stage. Every seat in the house was a good one. I had an excellent view of him and was able to take a few pics. Unfortunately, I forgot to put my memory card back in my camera from the last time I downloaded pics onto my computer, so I couldn't take very many. Regardless, Gavin electrified the crowd, so much so that the tent we were under was like a sauna! I was covered in sweat by the time his set was over. Words can't describe how happy I was to see the "old Gavin" performing on that stage. I know the more intimate shows don't bring in as much money as shows in larger venues, but Gavin does his best shows when he can really interact with the crowd, which is hard to do when you can't even SEE them.

In the future, if he keeps playing such impersonal venues, I will pick and choose the shows that I go to, looking for the ones with more atmosphere. I almost gave up on him, not as a musician, but as a performer. When you know and have seen what someone can do, it's heartbreaking to see them stray away from that formula. Yeah, we all want money (some of us more than others), but as far as I know, he owns the licensing rights to his songs, so he'll make money until the day he dies, purely off royalties. His work to build a grassroots following paid off in that his fanbase is a very loyal one. I got to hang with some of those awesome loyal fans at both shows. What we have in common, besides our love of good music, is that we look out for each other. We're a community that would've never gotten together were it not for Gavin's music. With the release of this new album, there's been a push by Gavin's "people" to get him new fans, without even bothering to try to retain the old ones. All I can say is that they're making a huge mistake. To quote one of my favorite Gavin songs, "Time will tell. It always does."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Two Years

Two years ago today my ex-boyfriend broke up with me. At the time I was devastated, and after this blog post I will no longer be posting specifically about that particular break-up. I might occasionally mention it in passing because you never know what life may bring.

Although I was blindsided by the timing, the end of my relationship with my ex was a long time coming. In many ways, it may have been over as soon as it began. When you're in a relationship with someone that you feel you can't tell your friends and family the whole truth about, that relationship is doomed. For almost five years I lied by ommission to my mother, the most important person in my life. I also rationalized the lies that I told myself. If "loving" someone makes you go against your morals and the beliefs that you hold dear, walk away before you're in too deep. Although my intuition was constantly telling me to detach from the situation, I stayed out of sheer stubbornness. Plus, I'm someone that will never give up on you if I feel like I can help you.

If you only take one thing away from this post, let it be this. No matter how much you love someone, that love means absolutely nothing if they don't love themselves. A person has to feel worthy of love and treat themselves with loving kindness before they can receive love. My ex was practically alone in this world. Due to his upbringing, he and his mother were more like acquaintances than family. I have a tendency to want to embrace those who have lost their way, and in many ways he and I were kindred spirits. He knew what it was like to grow up poor, and he had seen the ugly side of life. I realized, too late, our common struggles weren't enough to keep us together. Whereas I embraced my past and evolved, he did not. I think a part of him is somewhat ashamed of where he came from so he acts almost as if that's no longer a part of who he is. Those of you who frequent this blog know about my humble beginnings and how I've let them be an impetus for me to try and have a better life than I might've otherwise had.

Two years removed from, what at the time seemed to be, one the most devastating events in my life, I continue to understand why things turned out the way that they were supposed to. The passage of time helps me to see that he and I were both meant for something different.