A few weeks ago, Marcus found an app for his phone that is essentially a calendar that lists every live concert playing locally. As he was scrolling through the dates, I saw the name "Rodrigo y Gabriela" fly by.
"Hold up," I said, "Rodrigo y Gabriela are playing in Houston?"
"Yeah, you know them?"
"They're incredible guitarists. My friend Kelly turned me on to them about a year ago. They're phenomenal."
"Well, they're playing at the House of Blues the weekend after your birthday. Wanna go?"
No sooner were the words "hell, yes" out of my mouth than Marcus had booked the tickets. And this past Sunday, we were there.
It's no secret that I love music, particularly since I feature so many songs along with my blog posts. But, really, I love music. There was a time during my late 20s and early 30s that I went to listen to live music every weekend, without exception. I'd go hear famous bands and local garage bands and everything in between. I'd start with funk, move on to rock, slide into some jazz, and even hit up some rockabilly, if it was around. I'd go crazy for salsa and merengue. I'd find obscure bossa nova. I'd seek out hip-hop. It was a sickness. I loved it all.
Once I became a parent, however, my barhopping and bandhopping days screeched to a halt. And honestly, I haven't missed them: after all, there are so many other ways to have music in your life, and the technology these days has made it so that the recorded versions of music can often be far better than anything you would ever hear at most venues. (About a decade ago I swore off of ever attending an outdoor concert again for this very reason.) I think the last concert of a famous singer that I attended was a Prince concert several years ago at the Houston Toyota Center, where Prince was a tiny little singing and dancing speck about 1/2 a mile from our seats up in the rafters -- if memory serves, our tickets came with their own oxygen tanks. It has been enough in the last few years, therefore, to simply download music and listen to it in the comfort of my home.
But Sunday's concert was different: the House of Blues is a relatively small venue, and we had general admission seats, which meant we were standing immediately in front of the stage. And once the music started, Rodrigo y Gabriela reminded me exactly what it was that I loved about seeing live music for all those years.
It's not, it turns out, about the music (but their Mexican-classical-guitar-seriously-percussive-rock-inspired sound is amazing).
And it's not about technical ability (even though what these two artists can do to an acoustic guitar should be illegal).
Straight up: it's about the passion.
As I watched them play, I realized that the reason that we love to see a live band isn't only because we love the band's music (although that's certainly part of it). We go because any band worth its salt, any performer who is good enough to play at notable music venues, whether that venue is the locally-known Houston House of Blues or the internationally-known Sydney Opera House, got there because they absolutely light up from their creative expression. We go because watching people do what they love and get lost in the process is inspiring.
We go because watching people do what they love to do -- what they were meant to do -- makes us want to do the same.
So Sunday night, I watched Rodrigo y Gabriela perform, giving everything they've got, and absorbing the love and energy of their fans as the audience received the gift of their music. And since that night, thanks to their exuberant performance, I've been saying the same mantra over and over again in my head -- a mantra we can all use, I think, whether in our professional or our personal lives:
Do what you love.
Do what you love.
Do what you love.
Song: Diablo rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela. Keep in mind that every sound you're hearing on this recording is made by their 2 guitars -- there aren't any other instruments. Listen to it as loud as you can while you look at the photos above, and you'll see what I mean about passion.
And click here to read their story. They were childhood friends in Mexico and buskers in Ireland before they hit it big. Buskers!