This afternoon Jewel, Aileen and I went to a free folk concert at the Leu Gardens. It was...educational. Entertaining, even. And a wee bit disturbing.
Folk music fans (some more faithful in their fanhood than others) gathered for a 2:30p start and waited patiently in the hallway beyond that time while sound checks were completed. It became apparent rather quickly that many there knew one another and no one had any intention of standing on formalities. One guy welcomed everyone and held up a mildly weather Starbucks bag which he intended to pass around for a collection.
A small stage and a small collection of instruments, most of them in the guitar family, sat at the front of the room which was lit by florescent overhead lights. The music began.
Act 1: a 70-year-old guy with a guitar sang a collection of fairly traditional folk songs. His voice was pleasant and the lyrics were mostly entertaining. The one with the chorus that said, "I don't look so good neck-ked any more" was quite funny.
Act 2: a woman with a delightful sense of audience and self, accompanied by a bass player who was very good and one other guy on guitar who was a good musician but who needed to not talk was next. She warned us at the start that the set was going to be "sad." The songs were rather sad, but it was still generally entertaining.
Act 3: The good musician guy who shouldn't talk was the focus of the next set -- accompanied by the woman in act 2 and her bass player, the woman who was the MC for the afternoon, and a percussion guy who made all his own instruments. He continued to talk way too much. He was trying to be funny and wasn't. He was, rather, offensive. The music -- when he finally sang -- was pretty good (when the lyrics weren't offensive).
Act 4: a ad hoc band supporting the singer guy who had been the sound man for the first 3 acts sang some blatantly new age/humanistic/spiritual numbers. I felt bad for them, really -- they thought they were deep and spiritual and sharing truth so honestly, but they sounded so lost and confused. I think I felt sad mostly because they thought they were so enlightened.
If you see a blind person walking around in a room, denying her lack of eyesight while running into furniture and bruising shins and stubbing toes, it is judgmental to call the person blind just because she claims not to be?
I'm glad we went. No kidding. I needed to be reminded of how hard people are trying to be happy and feel loved and valued -- how much we all need Jesus.