Monday, August 27, 2007

Rockin' On

Let me dispel any doubt. Yes, by god, Ian Anderson has still got it. 60 years old this month and he can still bring the house down. (I'd say he can blow the roof off the joint, but the Caesarea Amphitheater is a 2,000 year old open-air Roman amphitheater and doesn't have a roof.)


Yes, this is an incredibly crappy picture. It was taken on a cellphone camera from what is literally the very top row of what I can only describe as dizzyingly high bleacher-type seating (scroll down for the picture of "the Theater", and yes, it's much steeper than it looks, and yes, people still bring cushions to soften the hard stone benches as they did in Roman times). Oh, and it's a picture of the video screen, not of the actual guy on the stage. We can't expect miracles from a lousy little cellphone camera after all. Heck, I'm surprised that this even came out well enough to see what it is. But I digress...

The concert was incredible, once we finally got there (more on that down below). There was singing, there was a bouzouki, and by god there was one-footed flute mastery. I don't think I could even stand in that position that long, let alone play some of the finest and most creative flute music ever known to man. (I was in fact a flute player for many years, so I say this with some degree of accuracy.) Sitting there listening to those incredible sounds coming from that instrument transported me back to age 16, when I would cut orchestra to sit on the grass behind the school and make my kind of music with my friends. To this day there is still a scrap of faded and nearly illegible looseleaf paper in my flute case that has the chords to some Jethro Tull song. Damned if I know which one, but that scrap of paper has too much sentimental value to throw out. Sadly, the only "cool" piece of music I can still play from memory is Stairway to Heaven, but that one I know well enough to play in my sleep, even all these years later. I can barely manage to scrape out scales, but I can still play Stairway to Heaven. (Yes, that tells you something about the course of my musical (and social) development.)

But why did I say the concert was incredible once we actually got there? That dear readers is one of those "only in Israel" episodes.

We left what was shaping up to be a very successful musical party at friends' in Tel Aviv very early, missing a lot of good acoustic music, to be sure we'd have plenty of time to make it to the concert. We zipped up the highway, arriving at the Caesarea exit, which is only about 4 miles or so from the venue, a full 45 minutes before the warm-up band was due to go on. Traffic was starting to back up, but we didn't think much of it. What fools these mortals be. The traffic was of (forgive the cliche, but the setting demands it) biblical proportions. Thousands of people all trying to get to a single parking lot at a single venue, along a road that quickly went down to ONE LANE! ONE LANE to get thousands of people to a concert on time. We crawled along for so long that not only did I have to finally hop out in desperation to pee behind a bush (thank heavens for long peasant skirts and a former teacher's suggestion to lose the underwear in such situations), but even Jay had to hop out and find himself a tree a bit later, and that never happens. Me, yes. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a bladder the size of a grape (and yes, I do take those "gotta go" pills to deal with it), but Jay is usually much more stoic than that. All told, it took us over NINETY MINUTES to go 4 miles! We missed the entire warm-up set AND the first Jethro Tull song. Then, once I finally got to my seat (after stopping to pee yet again, since you're pretty committed once you're at the top of a Roman amphitheater), I found that some asshole was sitting in my seat and flatly refusing to move. I threatened to just sit on him if he wouldn't move over (and it's not like these were even particularly good seats) and Jay finally lost his cool completely before this jerk and his friends finally moved one seat down to where they were supposed to be in the first place. I have no idea what that was all about, but it certainly wasn't a nice relaxed start to the event, that's for sure. What an asshole...

Eventually we managed to find our happy place and enjoyed the concert itself. Mother Goose, King Henry's Madrigal and Locomotive Breath really knocked our socks off. They never did play Skating Away, so I started wondering whether that was the one song we missed, but everyone I asked either missed the first few minutes as well (I told you the traffic was bad) or didn't know the names of the songs. Nevermind, there were plenty of classics to be had and we went away singing.

As an aside, I heard a disproportionate amount of Russian among the crowd. I wonder if somehow Jethro Tull was one of the bands whose music made the underground rounds before perestroika. I'll have to ask a Russian friend sometime...

14 comments:

LaLa said...

Glad you had fun once you finally got there. I am laughing at the peeing incident...question, do you put the undies back on after or by losing them do you mean tossing them? Hmmmm....

Robin said...

Left 'em in the car when I went off on my little errand ;-).

This Eclectic Life said...

You are a hardier soul than I am! I get "party anxiety" because I get so claustrophobic in crowds...and that traffic sounds horrific! Dealing with the jerk in your seats must have been annoying, too. I'm glad you had fun at the concert. You described it well enough that I almost felt I was there! I would have enjoyed it once I got in my seat, too.
You talk about the music you made as a teenager. The more I read, the more I think you might have made your Momma crazy when you were a teenager. Is that why she considered selling you to gypsies (I love that line, by the way)?

Robin said...

No actually, the music was fairly quiet at home. Even back then it was more acoustic, and of course "Deadheady". There were loads of other things that made my mom want to sell me off. Someday I'll tell you about some of them...

This Eclectic Life said...

I should be frightened, eh? Verrrry frightened LOL!

Jo said...

Sounds fun, if a stressful start to it all. One thing's for sure: though we have quite a bit in common, our taste in music is wildly different LOL.

Nancy said...

Such and adventure ... but seems well worth it.

So, does the ole guy still play on one foot?

Nancy said...

Bwahhh-haaa I just read your Hockey post!

23-2 sure that was a hockey score, lol? Sounds like a fun time =)

Robin said...

Yup, he sure does Nancy. Not quite as much as before, but a hell of a lot longer than I could!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

We bought a portable potty for my 4 year old who can never, ever time her peeing to coinciding with an actual bathroom. If I was ever stuck, I'd use it though.

Jen said...

Ok, so uber impressed that you went to a Jethro Tull concert. I heard them in Chicago 10 years ago, as part of the National Flute Association convention. It was an outdoor venue and still too loud for me. I walked back to the hotel and IT WAS STILL TOO LOUD FOUR BLOCKS AWAY. Then again, it was my first Jethro Tull concert. But I agree, Ian Anderson rocks.

Robin said...

You know Jen, it actually wasn't horribly loud. I even commented about it to Jay at the time, we were able to talk over the music without screaming. I think they must have noise limits at the venue, because the nearby town of Caesaria is one of the swankiest in the country.

Christine said...

I love outdoor concerts. I see he's playing in Mesa, AZ at the New Mesa Arts Center on Oct 8, *sniff* it's Sold Out. Sounds like a wonderful concert.
LOL! I've had a few thoughts about selling my daughter to the gypsies, I'm afraid they would give her back! She at least started the week off somewhat with less attitude today, and for a Monday, that's a good sign.

Linda R. Moore said...

Sounds absolutely awesome, stressful arrival notwithstanding!