Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dave Matthews Band in Charlottesville

Watching Dave Matthews Band in Charlottesville. Check.

I never expected to see as many concerts when I came here in July last year. It's a small city and I had naively assumed that concerts happen only in the NYCs and the SFs of this country. The websites about Darden and the city kept talking about a thriving music scene but I wasn't sure how that translated to big name concerts. In the last sixteen months, though, I have been pleasantly surprised. 

Dave Matthews is huge here. It's home for him. This is where he started. People from around here have bullet points like 'Been to 47 Dave Matthews Band concerts' in their resume. No, I'm not kidding.

To me, the best concerts are the ones in which the artist doesn't just play studio versions of his songs. Concerts in which there is a lot of spontaneity and 'live versions' of songs. Concerts in which the singer lets the instrumentalists take the stage and go wild. And that's why, in terms of sheer quality of music, this Friday's show is right at the top.

The first surprise of the night was Joe Lawlor. I never expected a 5 minute guitar solo in a DMB concert. But that's exactly what he gave us. A scorching solo high on style and melody. JM, who was standing next to me said, 'That, right there is worth the 60 bucks'. I couldn't have agreed more.

The star of the show, undoubtedly, was Boyd Tinsley. He made the violin sing, he jumped around the stage, he got the crowd roaring in between his riffs and he did it all with a perpetual smile on his face. He was in a zone. 

Seven, Everyday, You & I, Spaceman - there were a few songs that I knew but it didn't matter if you could sing along or not. The saxophone, the trumpet, the violin, the bass guitar - for two hours they wowed us and  kept us swinging to the melodies.

Eagerly looking forward to the next DMB concert. I hope they come to Dallas! But for the time being, thank you Charlottesville.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Diwali Weekend

So it was Diwali this weekend and there was a lot happening. It started with Thursday's Diwali Cold Call at Darden complete with butter chicken, chole, papdi chaat, vegetable jalfrezi, and kheer and a couple of fabulous group dances by a first years which culminated in a 5 minute impromptu all-jump-in dance to 'Desi Girl' (we also made a train and went around the PepsiCo Forum!). A few drinks and another party later, we were hungry again and ended the night with a trip to IHOP where JJ kept us entertained with his jokes and the 3 words of Hindi which he has managed to master!

On Friday, I had my most expensive meal in C'ville at Mas. Caipirinha, bacon wrapped dates, lamb chops, croquettes, and a couple of other fancy dished I don't remember. From there we went to The Backyard for another Darden get together. The two cute girls at the door convinced JM & JJ to buy the cups for the fashion show since it was a good cause. How could I say no after that. The cups got us drinks specials, though. I broke even after the first couple of drinks, so it was indeed for a good cause. 

The next morning, we went to watch a series of short films which were being screened as part of the Virginia Film Festival. Verdict - some people should not make short films. A few of them were good though. 

AI's son, M had turned 2 this week and the Birthday Lunch was on Saturday. JJ, JM, MI and I made a trip to Toys R Us. We unanimously agreed that MI was the most capable of deciding on gifts for 2 year olds. The three of us followed her to the section which had games based on alphabets, bought a couple of them and then decided to give M something more fun. And so  the bowling kit was bought. 
The problem with having 20 different things to eat is that even if you take a small portion of each, you end up with a food coma. That's what happened to me at AI's place. It was the most fun I've had at a gathering which didn't have any alcohol! The highlight was when little M opened his bowling kit and went crazy hitting the pins.He absolutely loved it.

The fun continued in the evening with a Diwali Potluck. Great food, more Bollywood music, an after party with guitar and songs and dumb charades till 4:00 in the morning, which included movies from the IMDB Bottom 100 list.

I don't miss Indian festivals as such. By that I mean, I don't miss the food and festivities or the tradition bit as long as I am having a good time. Of course it would be nice to do all that - visit pandals during Durga Puja and burn firecrackers during Diwali. But to put it bluntly, it's another day. And it's no big deal if I don't get to eat a special dish or go to a special place because everybody else is doing that. Yes, it wouldn't be fun to spend such a day alone doing work, or worse, nothing, but so would any other day.
What I do long for are my friends, family and the tastes, smells and sounds that I can't get here.

Happy Diwali everyone.