It's amazing to think that I had been waiting for 15 years for last night.
It WOULD be the kind of thing that happened last night, of all nights, as well.
[full-circle/going back::facing fears::living the future:: awesomeness\full circle]
I Chinatown-bus-ed it to Philadelphia on Thursday evening after a 4 year absence more or less. Although two of my favorite people in the world still live there, the fear of facing the ghost of what I guess is now "my old life" really kept me away (aka, you break up with a boyfriend and the whole city is basically your relationship and you're like OH I CANT DEAL!). But I went back and had a cheesesteak at Pat's and went drinking in South Philly and hung out with my friends and everything was fine and I was glad I finally made it over because theirs are friendships I treasure and should take more care of.
But I went back. I went back because my university invited me to speak to the "kids" about what I've been doing with my life after graduation. I hailed a cab–which took forever–and I told the driver he could take Kelly Drive. It was super warm yesterday so everyone was jogging and rollerskating and laying down on picnic blankets. It really is so beautiful and I think I always found it really peaceful, as seen from the vantage point of the passenger seat. It occurred to me then that in my five years in the city, I never once walked along it.
School looks pretty much the same except more advanced. There were futuristic buildings that weren't ever a thought while I was there and yet my dorm still looked as shitty as ever and I noticed that where me and my friends had drawn giant pot leafs with chalk pastels 10 years ago, they had written weird poetry. I think I could still the lines of our original drawings (chalk pastels are hard to wash off bricks we discovered, when the school power-hosed the facade in the face of upcoming open-house tours, it wasn't very effective).
So I did my thing and everyone laughed and it was kinda weird but felt good and as soon as it was over and goodbyes were exchanged, I started panicking that I wouldn't make it back to the city in time and that somehow I would miss Fiona.
I didn't miss her, but you already knew that.
She came onstage and the crowd went nuts. Someone yelled "WELCOME HOME!" and I think she said that's why she was nervous. She also talked about her dog Janet and her friend who made her a painted cutout of it. It was like a little advertisement right before the show started, like literally the first thing out of her mouth. We all laughed and thought it was adorable. Fiona is in her 30's but at that moment she seemed like the weirdo kid at the birthday party that had had too much sugar. We were all so grateful to be there, anyways, that we would've put up with a shpeel about buying a time share or something.
But she launched into "Fast As You Can" and I was like OMG THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING. I don't remember what order the setlist went, just that every time she started singing I said YES I LOVE THIS SONG in my head. "On the Bound" made me tear up. "Sleep to Dream" made my totally lose my shit. I wouldn't have guessed that that was a thing that was gonna happen, I mean yes, I've loved that song always but never did I think it would be such a big deal to hear live. I looked around and other girls around me where rubbing their eyes in that tell-tale sign throughout the evening. Somehow that added another layer of happiness.
The weird thing about seeing artists for the first time years after you first got into them is that you develop favorites that you may or may never get to hear live (see Sonic Youth's Sunday–the one that got away). I had become a bit obsessed with "A Mistake" over the past couple months, and I knew that she had played it live in recent shows but when that beat rang through the theater it was like the hand of god touching my forehead and saying ALL YOUR ACTIONS ARE OK. YOUR LIFE IS ON PATH. and it was like the most gleeful moment ever. And then also she sang "Extraordinary Machine" and we all sang along to it, and even when she stopped the song because she was singing in the wrong key we all just laughed and started singing over again with her because and it was like a little present. Her voice is so exquisite and where she goes do I so worry you, you need to hurry to my side? It's very kind. But it's to no avail; I don't want the bail I promise you, everything will be just fine I always thought her voice sounds like a bird in one of the earlier animated Disney films but she fucking pushed that shit so high that it was almost otherworldly and we all just went quiet and held our breaths so we could hear even the finest of her sounds and then we cheered loudly because it was unbelievable.
She played three new songs–ALL GREAT, by the way–but already "Anything We Want" is my favorite and somehow I cried again during that performance, which was fine because at that point I was so chock-full of feelings that I just went with it.
She played for an hour. An hour that was the best hour of my life but also a TRAVESTY because how do I wait more than half my life for something that only lasts an hour? We all stood there clapping and waiting for an encore (which like, OF COURSE she doesn't do encores!) like a bunch of sickos JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE! After all she had sang only ONE song off of Extraordinary Machine, how could this possibly be it? But it was. Which is fine. I'll take whatever she wants to give me. We all will. We were all there and we were all aware of how special the moment was and I don't think I've ever sensed such borderline motherly nurturing vibes from an entire crowd before.
Is there such thing as a Deadhead but for Fiona? Because I think I could very well spend the rest of my life just following her around and getting to bask in her presence every night.
And oh, what a night it was!