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I haven’t been able to get the song ‘Hallelujah” out of my brain since writing about Free Hugs the other day. 

I was thinking about k.d. lange singing it at the winter Olympics a few months back, so on to YouTube I went to give it a listen.  Other than seeing the Olympic performance, it’s been years since I’ve seen her perform. 

Not only is her voice as clear and succinct as ever but it was touching to watch the crowd’s outpouring of applause at the end and her subsequent response. Overwhelmed, she was.

I saw k.d. lange live, back in the days before she ‘made it big’.  I must have been in my early twenties and she was on stage at the Sidetrack Cafe in Edmonton.  She played this venue often at the start of her career.  In her outlandish outfits construed from the local Salvation Army or Goodwill stores complete with her 50’s black cat-eye frames.  I think she wore them to look like Patsy Cline…..

There was no-one else quite like her at the time.  Country-twang they called her style, or something like that.   The way she moved around the stage was unique.  She had very particular movements and sways going on as her body reflected the words she was singing, the music being played.  The way she sang. Interpreted songs.  The lyrics and meanings of her own songs.  There probably still isn’t anyone else quite like her.

I went on to watch her sing Crying.  She and Roy Orbison shared a Grammy for best country vocal collaboration for this back in 1989. Watching her now I get sucked in to the words, the performance, ….

Lately, one of the things I really miss about living here is the limited access we have to the sound of music. 

The newly formed Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra now performs here regularly.  Placido Domingo was here, again, for another concert.  All great, but maybe just a little too laid back and cultured compared to what I’m looking for. 

Who else has played here the last few years?  Well, Akon.  Lionel Ritchie a while back.  Enrique.   I did go to see Bryan Adams back in 2005 which was a treat, particularly as he’s a fellow Canadian and all.

The radio?  Well, you may have read what I think about the quality of that here.  TV?  Nothing.  We do get to watch the Grammy’s here but I wouldn’t go so far as saying a lot of that is what I would call quality, or what I’m looking to see and hear.

I miss listening to artists.  Great bands in a theatre with amazing sound quality.  Lyrics.   Collaborations.  Musicians, singers, working together and improvising.  Turning a song they’ve played a thousand times, into something quite new.

It seems as though many are on the tour circuit to Dubai these days.  Dubai tends to be somewhat more liberal though.  Or possibly, Qatar wants to be a little more selective on what influences are brought in to their country.  To their people.  I get that.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t miss listening to music.  Being rocked by great bands.  The emotive experience of an artist taking you on a journey through song. 

I don’t think our kids know any of that experience.  They listen on-line to the popular music of the day.  But to be in an auditorium, or a stadium full of sounds, lights, the wild excitement blasting through on all-out rockers!  The quiet hush from the crowd when the mood turns somber, quiet or melancholy to fit with another time,  a new theme, a different story.  Songs from years past which immediately take you to that moment in your life.  Or new songs with the promise to be as popular 20 or 40 years from now, as they are today.

Ho hum. 

I need to do some research on what concerts are happening around northern Europe this summer. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get lucky and find something that fits with our travel dates.  One can always hope!

This is the closest I’ve come to experiencing some of what I’m lamenting about.  I got up at 4am a few months back to watch U2’s 360 tour concert at the Rose Bowl, via live streaming over the internet.  If you like U2 turn up your sound, have a listen and enjoy the energy!

As Bono says at the end,

Grace abounds……grace abounds……