Friday, November 2, 2007

I've Got It!

On Thursday night T got Hugh and I free tickets to see Yo La Tengo and Jonathan Richman at the Palace of Fine Arts. Being old, I love to sit down when I see live music, and I was relieved to see that the over 35 portion of the indie rock crowd is following right along with me.

Jonathan Richman has played a major role in my life. He's kind of a philosopher, and helped me when I was a confused youth who was enraged at the world and drank way too much beer. An example of his brilliance:

Now I've watched you walk around here.
I've watched you meet these
boyfriends, I know, and you tell me how they're deep.
Look but, if these guys, if they're really so great,
tell me, why can't they at least take this place
and take it straight? Why always stoned,
like hippie Johnny is?
I'm straight and I want to take his place.
Oh I'm certainly not stoned, like hippie Johnny is.
I'm straight and I want to take his place.
I said, I'm straight
I said, I'm straight
I'm straight and I want to take his place

It struck me while watching Jonathan that he is a Romantic Poet for our day--you know "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" and all that stuff. The first time I ever saw him was when I lived in Columbus, at the defunct Stache's. I remember that a friend of mine began to cry when he played, I believe, Hospital, and Jonathan patted him on the back and said, "there, there, fella." Jonathan lives in San Francisco. I remember seeing him in Trader Joe's once and feeling very excited.

I got hooked on Yo La Tengo while I was going to grad school in Iowa City. How many hundreds of times have I listened to the album Fakebook? It has given me a lot of solace. At the Palace, the band played a couple of songs, then answered questions from the audience, which Ira used mainly as a springboard for comedy. They sang lots of quiet songs (Madeline and Did I Tell You? were standouts), some obscurities from their endless store of same, and a couple of loud YLT specialties. It was kind of the ideal Yo La Tengo show, as far as I'm concerned.


Sarah Goss said...

I love Jonathan Richman! And I love that song!

Hugh said...

I agree that Jonathan is a true Romantic poet. And I also think we need more like him.

Here is the definition of the word Romantic that I insisted be read at my wedding (though I think I was the only one who enjoyed the experience -- too dry and didactic for a wedding, I guess):

of, pertaining to, or of the nature of romance; characteristic or suggestive of the world of romance: a romantic adventure.
2. fanciful; impractical; unrealistic: romantic ideas.
3. imbued with or dominated by idealism, a desire for adventure, chivalry, etc.
4. characterized by a preoccupation with love or by the idealizing of love or one's beloved.
5. displaying or expressing love or strong affection.
6. ardent; passionate; fervent.
7. (usually initial capital letter) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a style of literature and art that subordinates form to content, encourages freedom of treatment, emphasizes imagination, emotion, and introspection, and often celebrates nature, the ordinary person, and freedom of the spirit (contrasted with classical).
8. of or pertaining to a musical style characteristic chiefly of the 19th century and marked by the free expression of imagination and emotion, virtuosic display, experimentation with form, and the adventurous development of orchestral and piano music and opera.
9. imaginary, fictitious, or fabulous.
10. noting, of, or pertaining to the role of a suitor or lover in a play about love: the romantic lead.
11. a romantic person.
12. a romanticist.
13. romantics, romantic ideas, ways, etc.

I especially like #7.


Anonymous said...

I liked having the definition read!


Ann said...

You are so lucky to have seen that show. I love Jonathan Richman and Yo La Tengo.