Friday, October 02, 2009

I don't know how they slipped away from me

John Prine
Oct. 2, 2009, San Francisco
(A special Music Wanderer post)

There I was, trying to hold back tears among 30,000 perfect strangers.
That wasn't part of the plan. I just thought I'd take advantage of the chance to enjoy one of my favorite performers, John Prine, conveniently playing for free on a Friday afternoon after work.
A chance to taste a small slice of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, which had been an annual ritual before the arrival of my son complicated life's logistics and the increasing popularity of the festival made attendance on the weekends less like fun and more like work.
Anyway, when Prine launched into 'Souvenirs' and his lines about hating graveyards, broken toys and faded colors, my mind flashed instantly to my Mom's funeral this spring, and to cleaning out her things, all her souvenirs, from her apartment.
The man is a master of melancholy.
Anyway, I don't think the strangers around me were any the wiser. It was the third time I'd seen Prine at Hardly Strictly, and the first time I could clearly view and hear him, even though I was at the edge of the huge throng. As I slipped away from the park toward the Muni bus stop, I overheard some one saying, "I forgot how good John Prine was; that was fantastic!"
Right on.