Tonight, I was fortunate to attend a truly remarkable concert by my favorite singer/songwriter, David Gray. Generally speaking, I let life unfold without a lot of expectations, but since I’ve seen David perform 3 times before, I couldn’t help but expect to experience something amazing.
He did not disappoint tonight.
In fact, there is no way I could have imagined a concert this incredible.
It was literally THAT good.
David’s last album, Foundling, has a very special place in my heart as it came out right before our expedition to the Gulf coast last summer. I knew when I heard the album for the first time that it was going to be the soundtrack to the trip, and it turned out to be just that.
Driving through southern Louisiana at sunset with all the windows down, moonroof open, and Foundling playing over the stereo accompanied by a symphony of cicadas along the bayou was an experience I will never forget. Tonight, as he opened the show with the title track, I was transported back to the bayou. Back to Louisiana Hwy 1. Back to Cut Off, Golden Meadow, and Grand Isle. A wave of emotion came over me that I couldn’t have anticipated.
As the set progressed, a mix of songs from David’s incredible musical career were played in perfect sequence. This was not a rock concert. It was much more of an orchestral arrangement in David’s living room, complete with a grand piano, cello, and upright bass. The arrangements were subdued, yet powerful in their emotional context. His vocals were as precise as ever, and acoustically, the venue delivered as only The Fox can.
Perhaps the highlight (and ironically the quietest performance) of the night for me was his solo rendition of Forgetting. Of all the songs on Foundling, Forgetting is the song that draws out the most emotion in me. It is the song that brought tears to my eyes the day after returning from the Gulf coast last August. Memories flooded through my mind as he eloquently whispered the lyrics and gently stroked the ivory keys of the grand piano. I thought about all the people we met and all the lives that were turned upside down by the tragic oil spill. I was back in the car on Hwy 1, hearing the cicadas and sensing the pain that their loud chorus was masking. It was a poignant moment for me to say the least.
At one point about 1/3 of the way through the show, the crowd was fairly quiet between songs. I felt moved to yell out ‘Thank You.’ A few moments later, he returned the gesture and said ‘Thank You‘ back. The connection felt magical to me. I wanted him to know how much the set was appreciated, and I’m so glad it came across as intended.
Toward the end of the show as I marveled at this incredible musician standing on stage playing for a wonderful, respectful, and attentive crowd in a stunningly beautiful venue, just him and his guitar, I thought how lucky we are to have him amongst us. This led to an enhanced appreciation for the miracle of life itself. The fact that every person is unique, and we all have our own incredible gifts to give the world.
Thankfully, David Gray realizes his gift and has decided to share it with the world. I cannot imagine life without his music.
He’s one person who has had a massive impact on my life, and no doubt countless lives around the world.
I hope to summon a fraction of the passion that he delivers album after album and concert after concert as I go out into the world. If I can deliver a mere hint of this inspiration, I will walk through the world with my head held high and a big smile on my face. Much like the one that I’m carrying now.
What about you? Are you showing up with everything you have to give?
Don’t let your life pass by without sharing your incredible potential with the rest of us. You never know who is out there listening and hanging on every word.