Music Enthusiasm (or, What Happens When the Head Nerd Sees One of Her Favorite Musical Groups)

I may not be quite so obvious about it, but I am definitely a huge music nerd – I grew up in a household that not only loved listening to music, but everyone was musically inclined to some degree.  My mom played trumpet, I played clarinet and piano, and my sister played alto sax and a tiny bit of clarinet.  Performing has always been a thrill for me, and watching concerts even more so.  When I go to concerts, I get especially excited – I get to see some of my favorite musicians playing music I love to listen to – and there’s nothing separating me from the music as it’s being played.  It’s not coming out of speakers or headphones – it’s coming straight from the musicians to my ears.

So, when I heard one of my most favorite musical groups was coming somewhat nearby, I may have flailed about and then ordered tickets promptly.  Yes, Caravan Palace came to Chicago recently, and I went and saw them, and it was… oh, it was an experience.

Here’s a slight bit of backstory, to help make all this flailing make sense.  Let’s go back to the summer of 2010 – one of Bryan’s friends suggested he listen to this French group that plays some sort of electronic-gypsy jazz fusion of stuff called Electroswing.  Bryan gives it a listen, and then tells me to listen because he knows I’ll love it.  And love it I did.  Caravan Palace’s first album was all I listened to for a good solid month or so – we even listened to it on our drive to our honeymoon, haha.  I was hooked, and the rest was history.  Same thing happened when their second album, Panic, came out – I got my hands on it as soon as I could, and listened to it constantly.

So, fast forward to May, when I’m sitting in the student union, procrastinating on preparing for a Photoshop workshop, poking around on Facebook… in my news feed pops up an announcement that Caravan Palace is going on their first ever US tour, and tickets were on sale now.  I may have had a brief flaily moment before sending the news along to Bryan, and telling him the closest they were getting was Chicago on July 1st, and WE WERE GOING.  I didn’t care how we got there, or what I had to miss, we were going.  His response, after a few moments, was “tickets are bought!”  And I squealed, and flailed about.

I WAS GOING TO SEE CARAVAN PALACE.

Fast forward once again to July 1st.  After a lengthy train ride, a lot of wandering around the city, and a couple of coffees, we arrived at the House of Blues – three hours early.  Since it was general admission, standing only, we figured getting there early was the best way to make sure we’d get front row spots.  I’d been to a concert with a similar “seating” arrangement – a Dream Theater concert back in 2003 where my friends and I got there five hours early and spent the entire concert hugging the metal barrier between us and the band, right up front. I wanted – no, needed – to be right up front for Caravan Palace.  So, we got there stupidly early, spent $40 on t-shirts to guarantee ourselves early entry, and sat around and waited.  Which, in fact, wasn’t a waste of time at all – we actually got to hear the band warming up.  That’s when it really hit me – I was in the same building as Caravan Palace.  I recorded some sound bites, Bryan took pictures of me flailing, and we sat around on the stairs that led to the music hall for a while, chatting with the event staff.

Then some people started coming down the stairs, and we politely moved out of the way to let them through, and they all waved and said hi to us.  I said hi back, and grinned, and Bryan tugged on my sleeve and whispered in my ear “That’s them!”  As they walked out the front door, it hit me.

ALL THE MEMBERS OF CARAVAN PALACE JUST SAID HI TO ME.  I could have died then, and died happy.

The rest of the wait passed in a blur, and as soon as the doors opened I dashed up the stairs, across the music hall, and planted myself front and center.

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See that little tape mark?  That’s center stage.  I was close enough to have touched it, if I’d boosted myself up onto the railing.  (Curse my short stubby little arms!)  I patiently danced my way through the opening DJ act, and then gripped the railing in excited anticipation as the curtain lifted to show the band.

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I spent the rest of the next hour and a half cheering, singing, jumping around like I was ten years younger than I really am, and taking tons of pictures.  I got to touch Hugo’s violin.  Chapi played his clarinet at me and I swooned.  Zoe may have wiggled her bottom in Bryan’s face.  We all got to high-five Toustou at one point.  The music was amazing.  The crowd was great.  The show was perfect.  So so perfect.  I got some good video from the show, too, but alas, the loud bass destroyed the sound quality, so the videos may need a little bit of love before I share them with everyone – however, I do have loads of pictures to share with you guys, and a little official video to share with everyone, too.

And my most favorite shot from the concert isn’t one I took – this is one the band’s photographer took to post on their Facebook page.  One of the things I love that Caravan Palace does is take a picture at the end of every concert they do, and share it online – and here’s the Chicago one.  (Bryan and I are just above the band member in the gray shirt to the left of center!)

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One last little bit I’ll share with everyone is the video that was taken at the concert – you can spot me and Bryan in quite a few scenes.  Just look for the guy in the light blue shirt with the huge puff of hair, and the girl with the red glasses to his right – that’s us!

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