Monday, December 10, 2007

Under the Blankets, Over the Rhine

Let’s spend the day in bed
On our very own bed spread
A pajama holiday
Catch a black and white matinee
Spoon-feed these new daydreams
And just stay home

We’ll read Shel Silverstein
Where The Sidewalk Ends
Smile about old friends
Try to comprehend
One single day
No work and only play
Kick off your shoes
I’m gonna spend the day in bed with you

If there was a song for Sunday, that would be it. Paul called early in the morning to let us know Church had been canceled due to the ice storm. And with that, we flopped back onto our pillows and reveled in our laziness — or, at least, until the kids claimed to be hungry. I don't think I even changed out of my pajamas until late afternoon, and that was because I had gotten us tickets to go see Over the Rhine up in Goshen that evening.

It seems strange to think that we could drive all the way to Goshen when we could barely stand up on our own sidewalk, but the main roads were clear and smooth all the way there. We found that plenty of people we knew had made the journey, too, including half a dozen people I know from work. The Goshen Theater was a lovely place to have it; small, cozy, with much character, some of the latter due to some much-needed renovations. We got seats just a few rows from the stage and acted like teenagers on a date. Which we were, aside from not being teenagers anymore.

They claim this is their favorite time of year to tour. It shows, doesn't it?

The opening song set the bar high:

I don’t wanna waste your time
With music you don’t need
Why should I autograph the book
That you won’t even read
I’ve got a different scar for every song
And blood left still to bleed
But I don’t wanna waste your time
With music you don’t need

And I certainly didn't feel like my time was wasted. They had just released two albums in the space of a few months, neither of which I'd heard yet, so it was a treat to hear them live for the first time. The title track off of Trumpet Child was electrifying:

The trumpet child will blow his horn
Will blast the sky till it’s reborn
With Gabriel’s power and Satchmo’s grace
He will surprise the human race

The trumpet he will use to blow
Is being fashioned out of fire
The mouthpiece is a glowing coal
The bell a burst of wild desire

The trumpet child will riff on love
Thelonious notes from up above
He’ll improvise a kingdom come
Accompanied by a different drum

The trumpet child will banquet here
Until the lost are truly found
A thousand days, a thousand years
Nobody knows for sure how long

The rich forget about their gold
The meek and mild are strangely bold
A lion lies beside a lamb
And licks a murderer’s outstretched hand

The trumpet child will lift a glass
His bride now leaning in at last
His final aim to fill with joy
The earth that man all but destroyed

Of course, If you only listened to the albums, or read the lyrics, you'd think the band was all sadness and longing and poetry. I hadn't counted on was the humor. Linford Detweiler, (keyboardist/songwriter) has a sense of humor so dry it could be used for kindling. The drummer — aside from having the worst haircut I've ever seen on anyone — comes off as the irrepressible prankster who you need to keep an eye on lest he run away with things. The singer, Karin Bergquist, would just shake her head in a way that said, "Boys!" ...and that was part of the joke, too. Possibly the only person on stage who was playing it completely straight was the bass player — but one can't help but suspect that the corners of his mouth were twitching.

All too soon, we were calling for an encore, and all too soon, that was over, too, and we were on our way back home, the tires hissing in the quiet night.

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