…an unexpected visit from the Dream Police…

On April 28th, I’m gathering my thoughts on the back patio as temperatures ease, enjoying the Enchantment radiating from the Land, even on the concrete slope of Albuquerque. I’ve been listening to a contemplative poet, speaking in a voice I share, on a cherished radio program, then writing a bit, and I’m about to begin some satsang duty, transcribing for a Spiritual Space-holder whom I greatly appreciate. Much as I eschew computer work, this is something I enjoy, mainlining the rare sanity she exudes as I conduct her words from ear to keyboard.

The tone of a Mac receiving an email invokes a Pavlovian reach for the cursor to investigate. I delay a few minutes, but soon respond to an urgency I barely feel consciously. 

My oldest friend has sent me a message that simply says “Live Streaming Now,”  with a link to the Cheap Trick Live at Budokan Anniversary Concert. I click it. Why not?  I am perversely sucked in.  Curious, yes, Voyeuristic, somehow, examining the mannerisms 30 years on, of these folks whose music and faces had ruled and rocked my world, and also watching the perpetual twitch and scroll of the live chat among over 3000 people around the world. They banter as enthusiastically, presumptuously and intimately about these guys as I might have in the day (and will still, perhaps, before I’m done rambling here); yet for all the sweet fan talk, a fair amount is meaningless ejaculation and pettiness I’ve never understood, as it issues from people at concerts or other public venues–now including the internet.  The chat is so populated and fast moving that the one thread of any interest to me– where was original drummer, Bun E Carols?– is hard to follow, and not really worth the trouble. Gossip’s easy enough to find, if you want it, especially on Facebook. And there are raves abounding about Bun E. Carlos’s Facebook page.  Yet, I’m still not on Facebook, and even that doesn’t tempt me.

Cheap Trick (with Rick Nielson’s son sitting in for Bun E. Carlos) seems to be going through their entire catalog, at least the catalog released at the time of the Budokan concert in 1978. Pretty Grueling…and amusing. And the familiarity of the music makes it easy to tolerate much longer than this nervous system normally would now.  But eventually, I can not deny what a strafing Rick Nielson’s guitar playing is (always has been I guess) as hallowed a space as it may hold in my personal tapestry.

 Except for the Faustian Nielson (who has looked a bald 40 for as long as I’ve known him, and who still kinetically embody’s ADHD to the degree that he blurs any apparent wrinkles),  the guys are showing their age, of course; but their stamina is impressive.  It’s been cute to see the custom earplugs gleaming out of the ears of each of them– Rick Nielson’s, of course,  in his iconic houndstooth checks.  His voice still cracks like a 12-year-old’s. Luckily, Robin’s doesn’t. His is still a mighty impressively modulated roar at 60, after all these years of growling and howling at volume.  It’s a voice that influenced me in and out of time. I knew it before I heard it, and I certainly still take cues from it when I sing down and dirty.

Eventually I must mute the concert, and I start writing my reflections on it.   Occasionally I un-mute, identify the song, watch their antics and note any meaningful costume changes, like when Robin dons the Dream Police cap (which I just mistyped Cream Police cap, at first; a Freudian finger-slip if ever there was one, considering how hard I fell for that dude in his heartthrob days). The sight momentarily stirs my heart anew; a second toast to Pavlov!

While they are muted, I hear a rustling through the earplugs; I look up into the eyes of a doe, about eight yards in front of me. She is startled by my movement, and I, by her stillness, considering the racket still echoing in my ears. Not just the guitar cacophony but all the giddy memory vibrating in my field. I greet her from between worlds. She eventually ambles off. The next time I look up, it is into the curious down-the-beak gaze of a hovering hummingbird. These have been my more accustomed friends in the interim years. And they are coming to check on me, to cast their vote for Silence, maybe.  And I notice and savor a certain muted glee at this variegated human experience I so often take for granted.  Such a breadth of distinct qualities of experience and intimacy available to us, especially in this privileged culture.  Yet we partake of a relatively limited palate so much of the time.  Limited like the palate of Nielson’s guitar sound. It was enough for me at the time; it’s enough for many still, judging from the chat. Bless us every one, and may my bleary eyes never lose sight of the new, unimagined color awaiting in each dawning day.

And thanks to Ann for forwarding that link to so many sounds and colors bleeding and blending through time.  

(If I could post sound files on this site, I’d offer up an impressive a capela version Ann and I did of a Cheap Trick song nearly 10 years after Budokan– sure to go viral, or at least make a few people sick!).

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