Hey! Last night my sister and I went to see Ani Difranco live in concert. This was our second time seeing her, and she is awesome. She is and always has been very brave with her open and honest lyrics, she is an activist and fights for women and gay rights and she puts on one heck of a show. Ani has some very sweet slow songs, some of which I have fun attempting to play on the guitar, while others shake the stage and I stand in awe as the beautiful sounds swing by. We started the evening with dinner out to a delicious restaurant and then made our way to the show. The opening act was a man named Buddy Wakefield. He is a poet and performs with a sweet intensity. He spoke about the difficulties of his childhood and he too, yearned for better treatment of all human beings.
As we fought our way to a decent spot in a standing room only floor, one tall person after the other, followed by someone with big hair, each would take their sweet time blocking our view. I tried to guard my pregnant sister as people pushed passed, not to mention the geniuses behind us that lifted their friend into the air when she wasn't ready. Not cool. I spent my time swaying opposite directions as the person in front of me who happened to be my same height. I managed to see 1/4 of Ani's body throughout the show, luckily it happened to be her face, or her guitar which is also amazing to watch as she frantically moves her tiny hands up and down the neck of the guitar while her other hand beats rhythmically against the guitar. As I sway to the right I get a perfect view of the stage, sway to the left I can still kind of see but then I get a wiff of the young man standing next to me, a mixture of sweat and smoke. A few minutes later we find ourselves in a slightly better location yet the girl in front of me is carrying a bag half her size and the bottom of the purse is pointed my direction. As the purse slid across my forearm my germaphobe side immediately imagines all the disgusting places the bottom of that purse has been laid (bathrooms, taxis, etc.) My mind jolts back into the music and I am present again.
There is a woman around my age standing about four people in front of us and she is the most physically into a show I have ever seen. She jumps and sways, shifts her body with every beat. She shot her hands up to the sky as if she was having some religious experience, and actually to her, I think she was. At first you might be annoyed to stand right behind her due to all the sporadic movements continuously blocking your view of the stage, but every time I looked at her, I couldn't help but smile. She was being so open around all these strangers. She was so touched by the music she didn't let any insecurities hold her back and I thought that was great. Usually I will sway, tap my feet, and occasionally do a little dance at a show, but nothing compared to what this woman was doing. After all that people watching it is so easy to get caught up in what other people look like, their clothes, their hair, accessories, but this woman made the experience completely about the music and I found it to be refreshing.
So then I wonder why do we even go to concerts? To fight the crowds, smells, germs, I could go on.... But then I get goosebumps during one of Ani's glorious tangents about the government and women's rights I remember I go to shows for inspiration. I want to see this artist perform live and support the brave work she continues to do. She speaks her mind, she cares about where the direction of our world is going and how people are treating one another, she wants equal rights for all, she cares about the Earth, plus she makes rockin' music. You definitely don't have to agree with her views and I am sure there are plenty of people who despise her because of her views, but isn't that what it's all about? Figuring out your own path, exploring what you believe to be true, and ultimately (hopefully) creating a journey where not only you are happy, but you care about the people next to you and you wish them a life free from suffering.
And now I wonder, what makes you inspired? Where do you find it?