Last night I saw The English Beat. I had a good time, but some things were odd. I vaguely remembered Mirror in the Bathroom and their cover of Tears of a Clown, but couldn't remember anything else of theirs. So, in that context, it was weird to be surrounded by people who knew the words to all their songs. I guess part of my brain expected everyone to have the same fuzzy recollection of the 80s, though in reality, some people still have recordings, or paid more attention in the first place.
Another weird bit was who was in the band. In addition to the lead singer and all the instrumentalists, who all blended together to form the sound I expected, there was also some kid who didn't belong doing occasional vocals and far too much intersong banter. His presence was stylistically jarring, and he polluted the purity of the retro experience. That sort of tainting is allowed; I wouldn't want artists to be imprisoned in their successful work. But it wasn't what I was looking for.
The most interesting odd bit was how I misjudged the closure of the evening. By the end of the set, the music had started to sound the same to me, and I decided that, while I'd enjoyed it, I'd had my fill. I waved good-night to the friends I could reach, felt bad about bailing on the ones I couldn't, and left during the meet-the-band encore, successfully slipping out before the kid could open his mouth again and foul the texture of the music. I was proud of myself for having noticed when the set should end for me, realizing that it could, and making it happen. I figured my friends wouldn't be too annoyed at my skipping out like that. What I hadn't thought through was that I didn't just need the music to close properly, I also needed the evening to close properly, and I'd cut it short. I had thoughts about the music, the performance, and the venue, and by leaving early, I missed my chance to talk about them with the friends I went with. I also missed their comments. Oops. Next time I'll take a broader view.
Note to self: write note to self.
Tonight I met someone who once cut her nose on a candy bar.