One Lonely Night Out?

I moved to Northampton in April 2006. I didn’t know a soul, but that didn’t really bother me. That is, it didn’t bother me until 2 months after I moved when I found out that one of my favorite singer/songwriters was performing at a music venue downtown. Grant Lee Phillips, formerly of the late great nineties band Grant Lee Buffalo, had become a favorite of mine since Grant Lee Buffalo produced the tracks “Lone Star Song,” “Homespun,” “Bethlehem Steele,” and countless others. When I learned he would be at the Iron Horse, I knew it was fate – I was supposed to be at that show. I had seen him twice before: once with his band Grant Lee Buffalo and the other just him. Both shows were in NYC and with my friend, Tia (we shared a love of his music).

Unfortunately, the only 2 people I really knew were my 2 co-workers, and they both had plans the evening of the show. And yes, I am one of those people who does not like to go to concerts alone. Don’t get me wrong – I like going to movies alone as much as the next person. Doesn’t bother me at all, but for some reason, concerts by myself were always a deal breaker. Until now. A Grant Lee Phillips show was worth the looks of pity from fellow concert goers.

The night of the show arrived, and I was ready. I had spent most of the day listening to a couple of his solo albums, so all of his songs were fresh in my mind. The Iron Horse is an intimate place. It encompasses a small stage, a bar in the back, and tables in the middle. Patrons may order food and drinks. Depending upon time of arrival, the host will usually sit people with other people if space fills up. I was seated with 3 women and they quickly included me in their conversation. Funny enough, one of the women had relocated to Northampton from NYC years before. Small world.

Phillips approached the stage and immediately started playing. He had a great repartee with the audience. He mentioned he had never been to Northampton but compared it to the fictional town of Stars Hollow from “Gilmore Girls.” (Gilmore viewers may remember Phillips as the town troubadour of Stars Hollow in episodes throughout the years.) I have to say, I was quite agreeable to his comparison. He mostly played songs from his most recent album at the time – Nineteeneighties, a collection of covers from the new wave bands of the eighties. Among them, Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way” and The Church’s “Under the Milky Way.” Phillips’ rendition of The Smiths’ “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” is heartbreaking. If you listen to this one album, you will become a lifelong fan. Phillips played for an hour and a half before leaving the stage and quickly returned for an encore that lasted 30 minutes. When he left the stage for the final time, the crowd roared with applause.

When I look back on that night, it was not what I would call a lonely night. I just remember a nice conversation with some friendly Noho locals and a great performance by one of my all time favorite singers. Although I am still fearful of going to shows alone, I will always conquer that fear for a show as great as the one Phillips gave that evening. I went to another show alone recently, but I will save that story for another time.

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June 6, 2008. Uncategorized.

4 Comments

  1. Abbie replied:

    Wow, who better to post an entertainment blog, than you? This is fab!

  2. rlundy82 replied:

    GLP fans unite:) I too, would go see GLP alone if it came to that. Fortunately I’ve converted most of the folks I know to GLP/B fans

  3. jennb276 replied:

    Not nearly enough people know the brilliance of Grant Lee Phillips or Grant Lee Buffalo. Glad to hear there are more of me out there!

  4. rlundy82 replied:

    Its unfortunate, but he doesn’t come to Michigan anymore. The last 3 tours he’s gone on I’ve had to travel further and further out of state. I flew to NYC this June to see him play (fortunately my friend from Argentina was there as well, so I had other reasons to be in NYC).

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