I’ve made a pretty big deal about not going to any live shows this year. As we speak, Bananarama are in San Francisco. I have a friend going to the Toronto show and a couple of friends going to the New York show. I really have no regrets over not going, mostly because 1) I really don’t have the money, 2) the weather has been shit and flying in the winter makes me anxious and 3) the mere thought of organizing myself for a trip to a major city right now makes me want to be ill. So it’s best that I didn’t go. I passed on Diana Krall and I am pretty sure that there won’t be any temptation.
Unless Mary Chapin Carpenter comes to Des Moines.
I’ve been listening to a ton of Mary Chapin Carpenter these days. It is not surprising. The cloud of depression is really lifting lately, I’ve had three really good days in a row at work and it’s a four day week for me so if I can put every day in the win column I will be so happy. I don’t know what it is about her music and my mood, but she is kind of a go to when I am feeling down and depressed, not because her music is depressing in general (there are some songs, though), but because the act of listening to them can be so cathartic. She has a new record, Sometimes Just The Sky, coming out at the end of March which consists of rerecordings of one song from each of her 12 studio albums plus one new song. And she’s touring, of course, to support it. A few dates have been announced, but more are sure to be scheduled in the weeks to come.
I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter in concert in Minneapolis in 2015 and honestly, I left a little disappointed. Most of that was not her fault, although it was an acoustic set so it was, by nature, a somber affair. I knew all the songs, but most of them were slow and even songs that had been upbeat in their original arrangements were slowed down. What REALLY ruined the experience for me was the guy sitting next to me that insisted on vocalizing how disappointed he was in her performance. Song after song, he said things like “that’s not how you originally did it” and “pick up the speed a little, will ya?” Here I was, finally getting to see this performer that defined so many of the experiences of my early 20s and I was, frankly, not having a very good time. I tried to focus on the positive, but between my own disappointment in the performance and the asshat sitting next to me, it was easily the least enjoyable concert of the year. Not “I’m sorry I went” level of unenjoyable, but probably “I’m sorry I traveled to Minneapolis for this” level of unenjoyable.
So why would I want to go again? I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s because I’m a few years older and so is she and I know she won’t be around forever and I want to try to erase the bad memories of that show. So I decided tonight while I was doing the dishes (all of my best ideas come when I’m doing dishes), that if she came to Des Moines, I would go. I won’t travel to Minneapolis or Kansas City for it, but I will go to Des Moines. She’s played Hoyt Sherman twice in the last few years – one time being an add-on date for the show that I went to Minneapolis to see. The last time, I really wish I had gone because it was a full band show and it sounded much more upbeat than the one I saw.
So we’ll see. Even if I have to go by myself, I will go if she comes to Des Moines – or maybe even Iowa City because that’s not really traveling for a show either. I just really want another shot at seeing this artist who shaped so much of my young adulthood and continues to speak to me on a spiritual level. I don’t think that’s too much to ask and I’m willing to eat a little bit of crow if I get that chance.