Monday, October 20, 2003

meshell live: just what the doctor ordered...

sometimes i find myself in such a slump that nothing appeals to me. i mean, really. i've been whining about the weather, and my job and my general disposition from the minute i stepped off the plane in chicago. in fact, i even amaze myself at how disinterested i can become and how i just wallow in my misery for a period of time and then something happens. something always happens to snap me out of it.

friday was a generally trying day. work was boring as usual now that it's officially 'slow season', but i was also just not feeling well. i haven't really been back to working out the way i used to and have been neglecting to eat healthy.. so perhaps my physical was catching up with my mental and the slump was just spreading all over. at any rate, to my own amazement and dismay i didn't even find myself too enthusiastic about the meshell concert that night. i found myself thinking about how crowded it was going to be and how the train ride to the hob was going to be so long and boring and how cold it was outside, etc etc. the thought of just sitting on the couch wrapped up in a blanket was just so much more appealing to me at that particular point in time. i couldn't even believe i was thinking that way. sit on the couch instead of seeing meshell LIVE? was i losing my mind? i think i may have been dangerously close.

nonetheless, missing the show was not an option as i had already bought tickets and, well, i knew i'd regret not going. so c and i ordered in some mediterranean food for dinner and then we headed out to the show.

i could feel my mood changing as soon as we entered the house of blues and seeing allen cato hanging around by the entrance just excited me to no end. i had heard that he'd be joining meshell as her guitarist for this tour, but just seeing him made me feel like this show was gonna be off the hook! anyway, despite the fact that i hate how the house of blues security guys completely invade peoples' privacy when they pat you down (for women with purses, they actually go all up inside the purse and dig everything out), i actually like the chicago hob venue when it comes to concerts. it's nice and spread out even though it's a relatively intimate venue. the accoustics are good too. so anyway, the show was supposed to start at 9pm but soullive opened around 930 and they played for a good hour and half. during that time, c and i basically chilled by the bar and drank overpriced beers. that particular night, the venue was non-smoking, apparently upon the band's request (not sure which band) so we were a little annoyed by that, but later found out that all the (women) smokers were congregating in the women's restroom, so we joined the bathroom party a couple of times throughout the evening.

perhaps it was the soullive crowd, but there was an unusually strange mix of people at this show. very unlike your average meshell crowd which is diverse in and of itself, there were what appeared to me to be college aged white frat boys with baseball hats and sweatshirts on. i'm sorry, but if you've ever been to a meshell concert, you know that college aged white boys are not usually a part of the scene. but whatever, i knew that as soon as soullive was over they'd all leave and the area in front of the stage would clear up for c and i to make our way to the front. and sure enough, that's exactly what happened. i was right there, front and center, maybe a tad bit to the right.

as for soullive, they were really good! i really enjoyed their set which was mostly instrumental and very jazzy/funky but then the singer came on stage and ruined everything when the he opened his mouth. i hate to be mean, but there was nothing appealing about his voice or his style of singing.

anyway.. back to meshell, because you know, it's all about meshell. she seemed a lot more comfortable that night than in previous shows i've seen. she actually kept her eyes open quite a bit and interacted with the audience a little which i haven't seen her do since i saw her at the VIC in june 2000. ever since then she'd just come on stage, keep her eyes closed, laugh and groove with the band and be out. but she seemed to be vibing a lot more that night which was definitely a good thing.

she started off with love song #1 and proceeded to play cuts mostly from her new album comfort woman, which if you don't already own it, you really should. having cato up there made such a difference! it was like he never left, though you knew he did because you were just so happy to see him back there on stage next to meshell! she played a handful of older songs like fool of me and ecclesiastes: free my heart (shortened accoustic version) which is always a gem. this girl standing next to me said she wanted to hear outside your door, but i told her that i didn't think meshell would play it because she hadn't really done so in the past few shows, but to everyone's surprise (and yes, i had to bite my tongue) she busted out with outside your door and the girl next to me was just elated beyond words.

did i mention that it was absolutely wonderful to see cato back in the lineup? oh yeah, i think i did. hehe.

i was so into this concert that i didn't even notice that c left me and went to the back because people were getting in her way (she's not fond of crowds). i felt like i was exactly where i needed to be at that point in my life because anything else would've just been ordinary. meshell, playing live, with a tight ass band that has gotten so much better in the past few months, was just what the doctored ordered.

sy smith, her back up vocalist, is so cute! she's just this smiley-happy person that brings such a pleasant presence to the show with her beautiful voice and constant smile. in fact, the whole band looked like they were having a great time, vibing with each other, and the crowd and just playing their asses off.

as meshell left the stage after the encore, she reached out and shook hands with people in the front, and for the first time, after having seen meshell ndegeocello about 13 times, i got to shake her hand, and she looked me right in the eyes. it was like an exchange of mental thank you's via a hand shake that still makes me smile.

later, after the show ended, i went looking for c and found her after i ran into some acquaintances. we all chatted for a while and then noticed the band coming out so i quickly headed towards the band and said hello to cato and thanked him for coming back and playing this tour. i told him that it was great to see him again and that i really missed him the last couple of shows and that i hope we'll see him again. he thanked me, asked me my name, and left the venue. i also managed to shake hands and say thank you to sy smith and chris dave, the drummer because that boy was just throwing down! he said he was struggling up there, but i didn't think so! i wanted to say hi to k'alyn and john john webb but they were already talking to some other people. while i was doing all this c had gone to the bathroom and when she came back she was adamant about leaving because something happened which i won't go into detail about and she just had to leave right away. i asked her if she would wait 5 minutes so i could try to meet meshell but instead she offered to take my keys and meet me at home. now, this has happened before, and although i had every opportunity to stick around and let her go home, for some strange reason i didn't. i just went home with her and of course sulked the entire time. see, this is where i want to kick myself because it would've been perfectly fine for me to stay and take the train home later, but for reasons i just can't explain, i didn't. and now i'm pissed and i can't even blame it on her.

well, hopefully next time. you would think that after having been to 13 of her shows, i'd have met her by now. but i haven't, and i'm sad. but i'm also determined as hell now. ;)

i really have so much more to write about.. including a visit to chicago's graceland cemetary on a beautiful, 70 degree day with the trees bursting with fall colors and a very disturbing peek inside a tomb...

but i must get back to work. so stay tuned.