Robin's Story: A Ritual for Marc Broussard
We all do it- the live show rituals that start even before you buy the actual ticket. The adrenaline of that break between opener and headliner; the euphoria of the final song of the night. And the best part- starting it all over again.
*Editor's Note: This story is in reference to the Marc Broussard show at Ram's Head On Stage in 2015. The pictures are from various shows over the past few years.*
It’s one of my favorite rituals in life and this time it begins with an email. The email is from Rams Head, my favorite local venue. It’s their bi-weekly email announcing upcoming shows. I scan the listings and there it is- Marc Broussard- one of my favorite live musicians. He’s someone I’ve seen perform probably a dozen times at least. The ritual begins...
I make note of the date and time that tickets go on sale and begin to plot how I will take a break from my workday to get online and buy my tickets. Tickets, plural? More like a single ticket. I’ve taken about everyone I know to see a Marc show, including my parents. Now I don’t even bother asking around for company, I just buy my ticket, my seat at my favorite table, at my favorite venue.
You see, Rams Head is an incredible venue. It is small and intimate. You are seated at tables and can order food and drinks from the waitstaff. The other patrons are almost always kindred spirits- live music lovers who also blocked out time in their workday to secure their ticket as soon as it went on sale. I can’t wait to see Marc perform again from “my seat.”
This time though, I nearly botched the ritual. I had told my colleagues of my excitement for this upcoming show, in case anyone wanted to join me. Tickets went on sale on a Tuesday at noon. I dropped my kids off at lunch at 11:45 a.m. and zoomed back to my classroom to get a few things done. I got caught up responding to emails and prepping for the afternoon’s math lesson and had to stop back in the office before going to eat my own lunch. Our secretary said, “So, did you get the seat you wanted?” SHIT! How could I have forgotten the most important job I had that day?!
I raced to my computer, logged on to the site, and saw that “my seat” was still available; it felt like a miracle, a gift from the universe! His shows always sell quickly at this venue. This step of the ritual safely completed, I felt the excitement start to kick in. Memories of other performances flood through my mind: the sights and sounds of a room of strangers united by a melody, by lyrics, and by the power of music. I couldn’t wait to experience it yet again.
The night finally arrived and I was excited all day. The opener was a band called Sacred Space. As the band started playing tracks that most of the crowd had not heard before, a change began to come over the room. Heads in the audience gradually started to bob in time to the beat, mirroring the groove of the musicians on stage. You slowly forgot any sense of self consciousness -that someone might notice you jamming along- because in that room, at that moment, you just don’t care. The music wins out; you can physically feel the vibrations of the bass in the air. Then there’s that moment you’re sure one of the musicians has made eye contact with you, and boom- you’re a new fan without a doubt.
The energy of the opening act left a hum of energy in the room, and the anticipation of the main act hitting the stage leaves your adrenaline flowing. You watch the ritual of the musicians tuning. You watch them make adjustments until the pitches align and then the speakers buzz alive.
As the first notes of the opening song wash over the crowd, a smile comes from inside- a live show is one of only things in life that keeps me present, right in the moment, mindful, and filled with gratitude.The chord changes that you feel deep in your center, the lyrics that speak straight to your soul, the universal experience you are sharing with a roomful of strangers is, somehow, still strangely intimate.
The crowd rose to their feet again after the final encore, and I was one of the few in the room clapping my hands above my head until the lights flick on, hoping perhaps for just one more song, a few more minutes of this night...but the show was over. I went home rejuvenated, energized, and waiting for the ritual to begin again....