I don’t go out often to music shows. But last night I went to hear a ten-piece band in Sebastopol perform the entirety of George Harrison’s classic All Things Must Pass album (minus the “Apple Jam” instrumental stuff, which I was never a fan of anyway). The show was brilliant. By the third song, “Wah Wah,” I was in raptures, leaping and dancing about in ecstatic abandon like a teenager on drugs at a rock concert. (I guess one of those three conditions actually obtained.) By the end of “Side 2,” when the band took its intermission, my t-shirt was soaked through with sweat. I went out to my car to grab a fresh one.
By then it was about 10:30 p.m. which is about when, if I DO go out to a show, I usually leave to go home. It’s not that I get tired early, but if I get home too late—say, past midnight—I’m almost always up all night; it’s just hard for me to wind down past a certain point.
But for God’s sake, I had to at least hear “Beware of Darkness,” the first song on Side 3, with which the band opened its second set. They nailed it too; it sounded fabulous; I was thrilled again. I would say, in fact, that I was having a pretty fabulous time all the way through “Awaiting On You All” (the fourth song on the album’s original Side 3), but then the singer was a tad off key on the next tune (the title track, “All Things Must Pass”) and forgot a bunch of the lyrics, which threw my groove off.
A couple of songs later, when the band cranked into “Art of Dying,” the lead guitarist got a bit blustery, the jam went on far beyond album song-length, someone turned the volume way up and, oops—presto changeo!—my ears started hurting and I was (though I couldn’t quite admit it to myself) tired and bored.
I didn’t want to leave though! Not during “Art of Dying”! So for five minutes or so, I’m standing there jumping around, dancing with—I kid you not—my fingers in my ears to alleviate the pain and protect my hearing ability. I only gave up the ghost and slumped through the crowed and out the room when it seemed the band had performed the same 20-second progression about fifteen times and that the lead guitarist—hitherto spot-on with his Eric Clapton and George Harrison licks—was just wanking it, showing off the number of random notes he could play per second.
But here’s the thing—I didn’t leave yet. I sat outside until “Art of Dying” was over, allowed myself to rest through the “Isn’t It a Pity” reprise, and wandered back in for the final album song, “Hear Me Lord,” which was okay and not too loud, but really I was done with the whole business at that point. Still, I couldn’t bear to feel like I might be missing something, and the band had promised “special musical treats” at the end of the album portion of the show. Indeed they did proceed to play special treats, “Here Comes the Sun” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” among them, and the performances were fine but, to be honest, I didn’t enjoy them all that much. Maybe a little bit. But mostly I stayed because my mind was greedy and wanted to catch the whole thing, even if I was no longer having much fun.
So I got home well after midnight and yeah, I was up past 6 a.m. It’s just a thing that happens with me—I don’t have the gumption to go to bed past a certain time, so I stay up and do things like laundry and online chess. (And no, I was NOT on any drugs—not even chocolate!)
I’m happy to say that I slept a solid five hours or so and I feel surprisingly good today, despite not getting enough sleep. I feel very lucky about this. Usually, when I sleep less than seven hours, I suffer. Today I have received an odd sort of reprieve. Maybe that’s got something to do with the spiritual nature of George Harrison’s music; who knows?
Anyway, someone mentioned greed, hatred, and delusion the other day, the “three poisons” that cause suffering, according to Buddhism. I WAS greedy last night. It was most definitely a specie of greed that kept me at that show so far into the second set. If I had been in tune with my body and spirit, I would have left after “Awaiting on You All” or even after “Let It Roll” (one song earlier). Instead, as a result of my mind’s grasping after every last possible morsel of pleasure—and in the grasping itself, of course, the pleasure is lost—I sowed the seeds of my suffering today.
But again, how fortunate I am that I got away with it this time! That doesn’t happen too often.