Totally Personal Post - lacking almost any vegangoodness...
How can I even start this post? I have been writing it in my head since last night, standing in a crowd of ex-pat Canadians and (RIGHT) in front of our cultural caretaker: Gord Downie. They haven't figured in my play list, with the odd exception of some rockin' running tunes, in years. I outgrew The Hip in the same way I outgrew many of the things that were with me in university - slowly and organically. Other stuff started to creep in; the likes of Andrew Bird, Spoon and Elliott Smith started to make beds in my music sofas, and I had less time to spend on musical glimpses of Northern Ontario and Hockey myths. But, none the less, when you hear Gord you can't help yourself. You just can't. Perhaps if you were anything other than Canadian, you could. But otherwise, you are helpless.
The whole night started with me feeling listless and almost losing it on the tram - thinking about my dead Chinese Water Dragon and having to spend at least 10 minutes buried in the front of a nice gentleman's sweater where I was half sniffling. He was riding the tram and didn't seem to mind. People living in Brussels are really kind. We hit a really nice shorbet place before finding the coolest new shop in Brussels - just opened a couple of days ago actually. They took a really wonderful campy image of some chicks and vampires and put it down the side of a sexy black t-shirt for me. Thanks! After the accustom pre-show DIY session we met up at FANNY THAI (which we only really went to for the name, there were some other tofu tossing locations in the neighbourhood), where I had a GREAT meal - best so far in Brussels I think. A nice tofu sattae, followed by a tofu curry rouge. My only complaint was that the rice was a little lame. OH, and they didn't have parking for my elephant.
The show itself was in an amazing venue - right down town, in a building with brilliant sound. And there I was. Not totally sure I was going to dig the show....it was the hip....but ready to go and connect with my country.
The first few lines of Grace, Too and the crowd last night was sold. They were there; the band had the Brussels crowd eating out of their hands. Perhaps it was the linguistic ingratiation (being smart and doing things dutch style), or maybe it was his dancing, which for Canadians, equalled: "I am home," for everyone else, I suspect, it was mesmerizing and evocative of thoughts such as "oh my, is this gentleman having a seizure on stage?". Michael Stipe, I mean Gord Downie, was on fire. It was evident that he wasn't exhausted from tireless nights of throwing fights at the end of some transatlantic tour - he was as fresh as a new bunch of cilantro.
But, with my newly designed graphic-t, a belly not uncomfortably full of thai food from FANNY THAI, and surrounded by the likes of Kevin, Sarah, Britt, Tammy, Tori, Geoff, Mel and with Danielle and Chris holding up the back it was all good. I became a bit overwhelmed when I started to think about how wacky it was to be holding a Krick beer in my hand, standing in the middle of Brussels, and listening to the best HIP show they have ever graced me with. Now that is Globalization. I have to say, I felt amazing. It was nice to reconnect with the music, all of the memories embedded in the music, and to share it all with a new group of really great people. I must have felt pretty comfortable with the whole thing, because I danced all night long and let my guns fly. It was guns all night long.
Bob Caygeon is all new for me. All new and nice.
Next show is one of the dudes from BSS, followed by Arcade Fire and than a little bit of The National and then - FIEST! Can't wait...oh, then New Pornographers, if I don't end up in Madrid. After the show we came back to The Handsome Family and a bottle of really good Spanish wine.
With ringing in my ears I exclaimed all of my elation with the eruption of emotions that were a direct result of the intermingling of the old and the new. I have someone I can say those things to and I couldn't be happier. I think my toes are even smiling.