Almost two weeks ago, I treated myself to the Sharon Jones and Dap Kings concert. For some reason in the past year, I have taken myself out of the habit of going places alone. This is a thing that I have never shied away from. This behavior has not been a really successful practice: *cough* Stevie Wonder *cough*. Starting in college if there was something I really wanted to do and no one else was interested, I went anyway. I think it comes from two things: 1) I was raised as an only child and so I am completely comfortable spending vast amounts of time alone and 2) I grew up pretty broke and sheltered, so I always felt like I missed out on a lot and needed to catch up.
I still remember a friendship ended in college on my first adventure alone. I wanted to go to the ballet. Oh, hilariously I have been me for a very long time, and none of the crew wanted to go. The group had voted to spend a girls night in and I wasn’t having it. The rule was the majority decides on weekend activities. So I snuck out to the performance and my “friend” caught me. She was so incredulous that I attempted to hide and go to something as “stupid” as the ballet that the friendship never recovered.
However, this bold act started me on a path to some really great experiences. One of my favorite New Year Eves was the result of my going out alone when everyone else was afraid of a little snow. I accidentally crashed a private party that included party favors, a DJ, a buffet and open bar. Score! The one drawback of going out alone when crazy stuff happens, you have no one to corroborate your story. My terrible experience at the Essence Festival can be co-signed by one of my best friends. So sadly, no one can acknowledge the ridiculousness I witnessed at this concert. Basically I watched a White middle-aged, upper middle class, farmer’s market attending type threesome form right before my eyes. I watched a nice Volvo driving (okay I cannot confirm this but I know it’s true) couple join a good lady friend. I watched the couple make out uncomfortably (well, for me) all while the lady covertly stroked the lady friend’s hair. I saw the man go get snacks while the two middle aged middle school teachers make out (also uncomfortable for me). I observed that by the end of the night with encouragement from the double agent, the man cozy up, kissing and fondling, both women. All of this occurred with only one eyewitness, a random man sitting next to me who I will never see again.
This distraction withstanding, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. I still don’t like the open seating of the Lincoln Theater. It means I need to get to the venue 30 – 45 minutes early for complete boredom just to get a great seat. Once my overwhelming boredom ended, the show started with Valerie June. I have her CD after hearing her interviewed on NPR’s Tell Me More. I cannot figure out if I like it or not. There are three songs that I absolutely love and her voice is a true wonder. This was true of the concert as well, which was pretty true to the CD. I have never been a huge fan of bluegrass and the album has clear bluegrass, gospel and folk influences. I notice the stronger the individual influence determines my like for the song. The gospel and folk tinged songs. I love. The bluegrass, not so much. I also noticed that the songs I liked the most weren’t crowd favorites. So I was my own little island there. I still want me a sugar daddy to take me away from work, so the rousing rendition of Workin Woman Blues gave me all my life.
Finally after more boredom, where I got to watch the threesome come together and my right-hand neighbor order a t-shirt online, the Dap Kings arrived. The lull between acts at concerts are the worst thing about attending concerts alone. You have no one to chat with and are really concerned with conserving battery power. The Dap Kings started with spotlighting the backup singers before Sharon Jones, bald, defiant and energetic, graced the stage. She has been battling cancer for the last year and this was her second time on stage since treatment. She was a bit smaller, in size and presence, than usual but I happily danced along to all my favorite songs and the new stuff. At the end she led the crowd through a series of dances from the 60’s and 70’s, which was so much fun. Her commitment to her fans which was rewarded by roses from the crowd, made going out alone a great idea.