If you’ve been reading my posts for a long time you might remember that in October 2011 I went to a celebration of the 40 year anniversary of the Amazingrace Coffeehouse that started my freshman year at Northwestern. They put together a series of concerts during one week at venues here and there in the Chicago area. My long-time favorite band, Redwood Landing, played at a club in Evanston that didn’t exist in either of the incarnations in which I lived there.
The concert was more fabulous that I imagined it would be. At the end there was a table in back where they were selling CDs. But I ran into some dear friends and by the time I quit chatting and wandered to the table they’d packed it up. A few days later someone posted how to order the CDs and I e-mailed for the info, printed it out and stuck it in a pile. When I sorted through a ton of papers on my desk a couple of weeks ago I found the e-mail and finally placed my order.
I’ve been listening quite a bit the last few days and it really takes me back. After first encountering the band at “Grace” I began to note them playing at other clubs around town and my friends and I wandered from Wise Fools Pub to Minstrels to The Bulls and elsewhere – most of the clubs long ago ceased to exist. Some of the stuff on these CDs was recorded live in the days when I was going to the clubs so I’m imagining that I might have been in the room for one or more these tracks. We danced and adored the music and went so often that eventually one of the band members started chatting with us, which of course added to the panache.
I look at the picture above and their fresh young faces and I remember the fresh young faces around the table with me. So young and still believing that we’d all take the world by storm. No one imagined then that one of us would have a baby diagnosed with cancer at 15 months. Or that another would have a son who died suddenly at age 12 of an undetectable heart defect. That someone’s future wife would run off with an artist or that another friend would die young of ALS.
We were just out having fun and loving some of the best music around. Our world was academics with parties and “clubbing” on the side. We still had that faith in the future that doesn’t imagine tragedy will be in it. Although sometimes I wish I could have known what I know now when I was still young enough to get full enjoyment from it, I don’t really want to go back to that age. But it sure is nice to listen to that wonderful music and be transported to some of my favorite times—I’m still in touch with some of those folks from the club days and I still love ’em.
Note: One of the band members has started a foundation that has created back packs for the homeless. There’s a big distribution set for October and they’re raising funds to help provide as many packs as possible. If anyone is interested in donating, they look great.