Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Charm and the Ache of Damien Rice

I so rarely have visceral reactions to music.

It's true. I rarely feel it. Reading usually makes me feel more than listening. I can't carry a tune to save my life. I love 80's tunes, and while all of my love for them is tied up in nostalgia, the truth is, I cannot make a qualitative distinction between Boy George and Beethoven.

Just so you know where I'm coming from. When I like good music, it's probably accidental.

And so lovely Laura invited me to go see Damien Rice. And I only knew a few songs of his - The Blower's Daughter, Volcanoes, and 9 Crimes - but I'd loved them immediately upon hearing them. So I jumped at the invitation. And turned out to be happily charmed by him as a performer.

But last night most of the music was new to me. If I were one of those organized people, I'd probably have downloaded his albums and gotten familiar with him. But I'm one of those people who doesn't even necessarily know where I'm going when I get on a bus, so surprises at a concert are the kind of thing I like.

He started singing Accidental Babies, which is about unfaithful lovers, which is not what resonated with me, because I am faithful like a dog. Not a flattering image, but absolutely true.

But I just felt the music, the wanting, the lack of having. Immediately, it made me ache.

And so when he sang, "Do you miss my smell?" I realized tears had started rolling down my face.

The missing of someone's smell, that went to my stomach immediately. It reminded me that you can think you're done missing someone, and you can even feel it's a good thing you're not together. But it can knock you sideways realizing you can still feel the lack.

Because smell, smell is like Proust and his damn madeleines. You can have a great deal of distance and be mostly fine. But when you saw the person last month, and you kissed on the cheek and you hugged goodbye, you remembered that that to you is still the smell of being completely in love, and loved, and passion, and comfort, and, more powerfully than anything perhaps because of the fuckedupness of your life, safety.

And so Damien sang, and Laura contended with the asshat woman seated next to her who insisted, when she wasn't texting everyone in creation saying, "I'm at Damien Rice!" - because of course it's more fun to tell people where you are than luxuriate in the experience - on talking to her neighbor.

And I sat there with huge, fat tears running down my face.

I didn't realize immediately that I was crying, I was so in the moment. It wasn't until they hit my chest and ran under my breasts. I was wearing a very low cut, stretchy dress, with lots of skin exposed. Which, having a very modest amount of breasts, I feel very comfortable doing.

But this dress, it turns out, is a poor choice for crying, unless you catch your tears on your way down your cheeks. Because having a modest amount of breasts, it's not like they just form a pool on top. Oh, no, they make a beeline for your stomach.

And so then I was faced with the dilemma of seemingly fondling my breasts in public (really! I'm just drying my tears!) or letting the damn things dry. I chose the latter. But it was cold in there! And those were some enormous tears! That took a long time to dry!


  1. It reminded me that you can think you're done missing someone, and you can even feel it's a good thing you're not together. But it can knock you sideways realizing you can still feel the lack.

    Funny, that. Reading your very poignant description of the moment brought me to the same conclusion. Bah.

  2. Ah, Justin. Bah is right. Those random knocked sideways moments suck.

  3. Damien Rice is so tragic! I love him, and have for some time. That SONG. Does he drive you wild? Or just mildly free? Sigh.

  4. GN - Yes, sigh. And tragic is a great word to describe him.


Tell me about it.