8/9/10 – I Spent the Night with Barenaked Ladies – for the 75th Time! (I Heart Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, MD)


It’s been “a minute” since I posted an entry here, but I went out of my way to make this entry happen today. First, I’d like to re-visit a previous post and make an updated statement regarding Kevin Hearn of  Barenaked Ladies fame. Typically, “Kevin” songs aren’t necessarily my “thing”. He has a unique voice and style that speaks to a specific musical mood and taste. I don’t always “get it”. BNL’s latest release, “All In Good Time,” has a mix of three “lead” vocals. During the dual-vocals BNL era that included former co-lead vocalist Steven Page, it was most likely that fans (like me) would decide which “Steve” song AND which “Ed” song (referring to Ed Robertson) was best on any given album. Now that Barenaked Ladies is minus Steven Page, the new album has a mix of lead vocals from Ed Robertson, Kevin Hearn and Jim Creegan. I had previously posted that I felt something was missing from the newest BNL release. I still feel that way, but that does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that I am “less” of a Barenaked Ladies fan. I’m simply adjusting, along with the band it seems to me, to a quartet instead of a quintet. These things happen “All In Good Time.”

I have listened to “All In Good Time” numerous times by now and it has quite grown on me. I prefer it to its predecessor, “Barenaked Ladies Are Men,” by leaps and bounds actually. Now, getting back to Kevin Hearn, I couldn’t resist staying away from a BNL concert that was just so close to me, so I purchased a lawn seat at Merriweather Post Pavillion for the Sunday, August 8 Barenaked Ladies show at the very last-minute. I made a good decision and Kevin Hearn earned some serious points in my world as well. Kevin singing “Watching the Northern Lights” was the highlight of the show for me. Not to mention, I gained a rather good respect and appreciation for “Another Heartbreak” that I didn’t get from listening to the album alone. This is why I will always pimp a live show.

It had been what felt like eons since I’d seen a live musical performance of any kind, let alone a BNL show. I am partial to outdoor music venues. Merriweather Post Pavillion is located very conveniently to me. I could not resist spending money and putting my health at risk to go see BNL on Sunday night. I’m weak and I admit it. So be it. At the very least, I figured I could create a solid rationale in my own mind that I HAD to go to the show so that I could round my all-time BNL show attendance record to an even 75 and thereby, put BNL in a tie with Metallica for second most concerts attended, featuring the same band, by me. Duran Duran is #1 with 101 lifetime concert outings by me and for a long time, Metallica held the #2 spot at 75. Now, Barenaked Ladies has a chance to surpass Metallica and grab the #2 spot, perhaps to one day overtake Duran Duran at the #1 spot.

I have had multiple health issues over the course of my life, the latest being the removal of a benign brain tumor, and everything I do these days has to be far less spontaneous and carefull than my nature prefers. I had to use a “Reward Night” (meaning free) at a Holiday Inn in Columbia, MD in order to be safe and responsible with myself. Even though I could drive Columbia, MD from Jarrettsville, MD fairly easily in the technical sense, nothing is technically “easy” for me and I would be doing the wrong thing if I thought I could attend the show, drive all the way home, sleep very little, wake up for work at 4:30 a.m. and keep my schedule normally with no issue. That just isn’t the reality of my world. I could have endangered other drivers if I drove more than 10 or so miles that late at night (11:15 p.m. is very late at night in “Mia World”). I also get odd symptoms, randomly, for no good reason that have yet to been explained by medical professionals to date. If I don’t take certain precautions before venturing too far from some sort of temporary “base” (i.e. – home, work, hotel, etc.), the “Murphy’s Law” principle will no-doubt cause unexplained, uncontrollable symptoms of something yet to be diagnosed, in no patterned, recognizable manner, hence leaving me to deal with the mystery far away from any comfortable, controlled environment. I have learned in the years (2005 was the year the major downward progression really began) since I started having these issues that a comfort zone, temporary or static, is a necessity for me.

Anyway, enough about that – I had such a great night on Sunday. I was apprehensive and upset with myself on Sunday morning. A certain amount of guilt was present, since I lost everything, have no living relatives, no support system and live in an actual barn in efforts to start my life from scratch. Even the $46 bucks, plus gas and beverage cost, is A LOT of money to me these days. Costs like that were no worry to me, even just a few years ago. Now, that much money is considered a totally poor choice in spending if it’s not put directly into a retirement account or some other savings account. I have ZERO financial security. Still, I trusted my natural instinct and bought the ticket, used my free hotel night and made arrangements to go to the office (in Baltimore City) later in the afternoon the following day. I can telecommute if needed, so work and laptop were packed in the car, along with work clothes, extra medication and the all important “In Case of Emergency Contact List” that is ALWAYS up-to-date and accessible in several different places on my person.

Sometimes, I simply ignore everything I am thinking and feeling. My natural intuition knows what it’s doing and I was wise enough to let it chose for me this time. Just the basic act of getting outside, listening to live music, sitting in the grass and changing my routine, has made a huge difference in how I’m feeling. Add in the fact that I am a great fan of the Barenaked Ladies, I love their live shows, I got a chance to see how they have adjusted former “Steve” songs to fit the four of them and the extra special bonus of getting a chance to sleep in a real bed (I haven’t slept in a real bed since April of 2009) and I’d say I couldn’t have had a bad night even if the show stunk on ice.

Tyler Stewart’s rendition of “Alcohol” was just freaking precious. He’s a loon, that guy. He’s also a hockey fan, so I obviously, I think he’s awesome. Hockey does rock and hockey fans are always welcome in my world. Speaking of hockey, I was wearing my Alexander Semin shirt (GO CAPS GO!) and ran into quite a few Washington Capitals fans who stopped to chat with me about hockey at the show as well. As I mentioned, Kevin gets high kudos and a new-found appreciation of his whole “Kevin-vibe” from me. Jim Creegan has a great voice and performed to my expected standard. Ed Robertson always makes me laugh and has never let me down on that account in all of the 75 shows I’ve shared with BNL. He did seem to be struggling with vocals here and there, but considering he plays a pretty darn good guitar, can bust a rhyme like a pro (you’d be surprised by this talent if you’ve never experienced it before) and now has the lion-share of the lead vocals all to himself – I think he did just fine.  Ed also hit the “skins” while Tyler was out in front going hog-wild with “Alcohol”. As usual, the banter and topical improv was evident. It was refreshing for my soul to sing along with BNL. We were all blessed that the weather Sunday night was fairly cool and not humid like a Central American jungle as it has been almost every day around these parts since the beginning of July. Just one good night spent with Barenaked Ladies outside can cure (at least for a little while) many of the day-to-day things that weigh me down.

I’d be lying like a cheap oriental rug if I stated that I felt okay when I awoke at 6:45 the next morning. It would be untrue if I didn’t admit that my schedule did get altered enough to make today more difficult than normal. Still, I’m just plain grateful I got yet another chance to sing along with my favorite Canadian foursome, especially all barefoot and carefree out there in green, cool grass. The little things are important and 2 hours of live music from silly, musical, hockey-loving, Canadians can very easily make my daily challenges come across to me as all necessary steps to get me to the next BNL show (and help me through the hockey off-season). BNL is the “Methadone” that keeps me going until the official start of the NHL hockey season, when I can get a fix (yeah I know – bad use of a literary device – but I’m keeping it in anyway). If it weren’t for outdoor music venues and NHL hockey – I’d have given-up the fight a long, long, long time ago.

GO Barenaked Ladies GO! ROCK ON KEVIN HEARN. No one should go an entire lifetime without seeing a BNL show! Find the things that bring you peace and use them as weapons in your personal fight to not just live, but live-well. ROCK WITH THE OUTDOOR MUSIC VENUES!!!!!!! – peace – mia – sciencegirl99@excite.com