Friday, July 20, 2012

I went in seeking clarity...

Tonight I went with one of my very best friends to see my first Indigo Girls concert. There were a lot of jokes pre-concert. Should we wear overalls? What about Birkenstocks?  All joking aside? It was amazing. I thought, as I was standing there just a stone’s throw from the stage, about how much those two women have been a part of my life through their music. Big things in my life have always had Emily and Amy as the soundtrack. I first heard them sing when I was in 8th or 9th grade. My friend Nicki gave me the tape (sigh…yes) of their self-titled album – not their first, but the first of many. As they belted out Closer to Fine tonight I looked around and watched the crowd.  Julie and I were laughing about how every single person in the room was singing. Everyone knew every single word.  That song, for whatever reason, connects with so many people on different levels, a bit of a coming of age song, maybe. I remember it as the song my stepbrother David and I bonded over when he came to one of many house parties I had when I lived with the boys. I was probably 23 and he was still in high school. He would come over with his guitar and we would sit on the back porch drinking cheap keg beer and singing. I’m sorry, Dave, I had to.
Before that, when I was an angsty 17-year-old, I took a mix tape to the first boy I loved. I made him listen to the song Ghost because I felt like it was written for us and he was leaving for the Marine Corps (angst…see?). He listened to it. And then he took my virginity. I apologize to whomever that offends, I had to tell that one, too.  It’s just another part of my story. I was most sad that they didn’t play Ghost tonight. Because even after all those years, I still hold fond memories of that song and all that went along with it. Earlier that same summer, the Rites of Passage CD was the soundtrack to my trip to Spain. Whenever I hear the song Joking I'm taken back to boarding the airplane to come back to the states and how saaaaaaad I was to leave that experience behind. 
When I was 25, I lived with Julie and Kathy, two of the most amazing women I know. We often had the Indigo Girls playing in the house. The fireplace in our living room was the stage for many, many impromptu performances throughout our time there. Some days you just need to break out in song – and you need a stage and friends who will laugh and sing right along with you.  They opened the show tonight with Least Complicated and midway through played Power of Two, both of which brought tears to my eyes because of all that came flooding back.  In fact, at one point Julie and I couldn’t even look at each other and later we talked about how many memories those songs held for us at such an important crossroads in our lives.
Music does that to people – it makes us remember. It makes us think. I’m so glad I finally got to see those two women perform – it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. In some ways I feel like I’m at another important crossroads in my life. My kids are getting older. I’m midway through grad school. I need to decide once again what I want to be when I grow up. Hearing these words tonight gave me comfort during a week where my heart really needed it: “we’re okay, we’re fine, baby I’m here to stop your crying. Chase all the ghosts from your head, I’m stronger than the monster beneath your bed; smarter than the tricks played on your heart…” Thanks, Amy and Emily, for once again giving reassurance to this girl through your music.


  1. Kate. This is one of those posts that reminds me how much I loved the kid you were and makes me wish desperately that I lived in the same town as the adult you are. Love to you, friend.

  2. So how about if I keep discussing the Indigo Girls with you on every social media outlet possible, mmmkay?

    ANYHOO, I think that their concerts are my favorite to go to (I think I have seen them five times now) because everyone unapologetically sings EVERY WORD. And the best is when they stop singing and let the audience do the chorus or whatever (like in Least Complicated or Closer to Fine).

    Oh, and the angst in Ghost is top notch.

  3. Taline, I love you! always such sweet words for me.

    Mary, my friend and I were loving when they'd let the audience sing the verses and how both Amy and Emily grinned from ear to ear when they did that - it must be such a powerful thing to watch that from where they are and know what sort of effect their music has on people.

  4. Love the IG's. I wish I could go see them, as I feel the same. Lots of angst, lots of memories and lots of good singing with my roommates & maybe an ex-boyfriend (we won't name him, he doesn't deserve as much). Remember we sang a bit at the beach during Tiff's wedding? love you