Friday night was Paradoxical Undressing. Saturday night Kristin Hersh played in Woods Hole, MA. Two very different shows. Two completely different vibes. They yielded two different reactions in me. Both equally amazing.
I had seen Paradoxical Undressing back in April in LA at The Getty Center. It was amazing and I loved it and found it very moving. Going into this one, I knew what to expect. But I had no idea how I’d react. In LA I made it to 37 Hours before crying (toward the end of the show), then sat in my seat, reflecting and crying, as the audience filed out. I wondered how my previous experience would shape or affect this one, I really had no idea what it’d be like.
I certainly didn’t expect to cry during every. single. song. All of them. Even the songs that didn’t make me cry as they started, I falsely thought I was good. Nope. I found halfway through the show that I was ramming my foot down into the floor, I guess trying to ground myself or push the emotion out through my leg. Luckily for everyone around me, I’m a quiet crier.
I drove home after that show in stunned silence, not wanting to let go of that experience. It’s truly incredible, and I’m not just saying that because I am biased. The art of Molly Cliff-Hilts is projected on the screen during the show. Molly paints to Kristin’s music and it’s amazing how those paintings *are* the songs. It’s the combination of the art art and seeing Kristin play the music that makes it so moving. The spotlight on Kristin while she reads is dimmed so as she plays the only light is from the projected images. It surrounds your senses and it’s incredibly beautiful.
Saturday night’s show in Woods Hole was completely different. Instead of crying I beamed with happiness all night. The Woods Hole Community Hall is this great classic Cape-style old building. It smelled of old wood (awesome) and was the perfect size for this special show. It had such a nice vibe to it, which also may be due in part by the energies in that room. We were right up front and the sound was perfect, too.
organized this show and opened for Kristin. Drew’s great, he’s a wonderful guitarist and singer, do check out that link and listen to his music. He set the perfect mood to lead into Kristin’s performance.
Kristin’s set was more like a solo show than it was her scripted Paradoxical show. She did some readings from the book and told some stories, but her set was mostly music. I had gone into this show without any expectations or preconceptions, as I normally try to do. This makes every song she plays a pleasant surprise (except maybe when I see sound check). I had known she had played songs from Sunny Border Blue at her recent Dublin show, but since I don’t think about that stuff before the show, I was pretty damn happy and surprised when she played Your Dirty Answer, White Suckers and Summer Salt from my favorite of her solo records.
Summer Salt is one of my favorite songs, I’m sure, as it always stands out for me. It’s such a FUN song. I was pretty damn psyched that she followed it up with Speed and Sleep, which may very well be my most favorite Throwing Muses song (although I’m not quite ready to make that statement, so don’t hold me to it). Add in Krait (I *will* state that this is my favorite of Kristin’s solo songs – it is the most perfect song for these ears) and it was like this set was made for me.
The only time I nearly cried was during the encore when Kristin played White Bikini Sand. A couple of lovely folks had recorded Throwing Muses performing this in the UK for me, because I couldn’t be there. I had seen part of it at sound check in Athens, GA and I loved *how* they were playing it. I played those recordings endlessly for a good week. I won’t tell you how much, that’d be embarrassing. Anyway, this nearly made up for missing the band play it overseas. What an incredible, incredible song. I’m so happy.
So where the Friday night show left me moved to the point of tears, this Saturday show had me beaming with joy and happiness about this music that I love more than pretty much anything. Two different shows, two different reactions, both equally incredible. I’ll say that forever. I love that equation. I love that one song can make me cry one night and the next it’s got me grinning like a dork. How amazing this music is. I’m so lucky to have it in my world. You are, too.