I don’t know if we’ll look back on the gig last night and know for sure it was objectively a wise decision. This was the night before the country completely shifted gears and went into all varied states of lockdown. Today, universities are seemingly universally switching to online instruction, large gatherings are canceled, and we’re being told to stay home. And for good reason. Even while we were playing professional basketball turned off the lights and went home. Ian noted after that it felt like the whole world collapsed while we played a 60 minute set. It’s as though everything deteriorated because we weren’t paying attention for a couple hours.
But while we were playing, it was all just right.
I’m not really sure what we’ll feel accountable for when all is said and done. Hopefully we’re just enough outside of the wave of the pandemic that our gathering wasn’t a point of concentrated viral spread. People kept their distance; there was no coughing; we sang a song to help everyone concentrate on washing their hands.
What I am sure about is that we would have played in that grand hall of the old train station even without anyone showing up. That’s what we started to picture, actually. And then people showed up and cheered and clapped (we love that, we’re not ashamed to admit) and were into the music and the focus on a collection of jazz standards, the most challenging part of our catalog. But most of all, we just got to play and people just got to listen, and for those 60 minutes we didn’t have to worry about the rest of the world. We just got to put the music out into space. It was a salve to the soul to be able to just push the keys and play the changes.
And when Caryn belted out “Feeling Good” and Tim played down that bass line I thought yes, yes that’s what feeling good is, and this is where I want to be. Ian kicked the drums into the second verse to drive it all home.
I start to wish that it could have been for more than that hour, that we could just suspend reality and stay in that hall and just keep playing and ignore the world of anxiousness and trouble. But I also know that everything is temporary, the good and the bad. I’m grateful we had that time and that reminder that, while there are things to endure and muddle through, we have these hubs of joy and art to tie it all together. I’m grateful I get to play in a band that gives me those moments and that perspective. It will carry me through until our next gig, whenever that may be.