“Why do I write? Perhaps in order not to go mad.”
Elie Wiesel

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

spent all evening singing about our feelings
Fri 2014-04-11 21:34:52 (in context)

Today started with a tiny awesome thing, and it ended with a great big awesome thing.

I had my 4-month dental check-up and cleaning this morning at 8:00 AM. That is not usually an awesome thing, tiny or otherwise, but today it acquired awesomeness by resulting in my best report in years. When the hygienist poky-sticked between my teeth and gums to measure the gaps, she never said "four." All the way out to the wisdom teeth, it was "three two three, three two three, two two three, three two three." And that sonic doohickey that moans over decalcification and shrieks at the sight of decay? It didn't let out a peep. It didn't even mutter. The hygienist double-checked it to make sure it was on. And the tooth-scraping didn't go on for very long either. No lie, I felt like a character in that old toothpaste commercial montage where patient after patient looks up and says, "You mean, that's it?"1

Best of all, the hygienist said that if I can maintain this level of home care, we might consider putting me back on a regular 6-month schedule. That's the first time I've heard anything of the sort since they put me on the 4-month schedule in the first place.

You know who we have to thank for this? HabitRPG. I have a daily for "Morning Oral Hygiene" (brush!) and "Evening Oral Hygiene" (floss! fluoride!), and their streak counters are at 36 and 32 respectively. That's how many days in a row that I've done them without fail.

So that was the tiny awesome thing.

The great big awesome thing was the VNV Nation concert tonight at the Gothic Theatre.

I had never seen them live before. I've danced enthusiastically to their music at goth clubs and sung along in the car, so I knew I'd probably enjoy myself at the concert.

I did not consciously expect to be in active bliss for the entirety of the show.

First off, a VNV song is composed of pure joy. Even the sad songs. Every sparkling, dancing synth arpeggio is made of joy and delight and, and, and rainbow glitter, OK? Every single song. They just start running the notes up and down the keyboard like that and it sends a neurological signal straight down the spine and into ALL THE FEELS. This was a recipe for goofy, blissful grins everywhere in the audience. It wasn't just me, and it wasn't just the awesome derby gals I was there with, it was just about everyone I could see.

And as a concert, as a concert experience, which is to say not just in terms of witnessing a live performance but in terms of sharing a unique experience with the performers... well, considered that way, it was the best damn concert I've seen since the last time I saw Cowboy Mouth. There's that same conversation going on, where the performer insists on 150% from every single person in the audience, and where the audience effin' gives it, and the performer gives it right back. There's that same sense that the performer notices you, yes, you, and whether you're having a good time, and if you are, they know it, and you know they know it. There's that same banter and commentary of the performer responding to silly things in the audience. The performer is constantly performing with conscious acknowledgment that the audience is part of this shared experience, and that both us on the floor and them on the stage are aware and grateful to the other for meeting them more than halfway.

Except of course the tone is very different. In a Cowboy Mouth concert, you get this sort of loving, rabble-rousing harangue from beginning to end, where Fred alternately leads you and goads you and scolds you toward the emotional climax of the show. The the tone of the VNV show was more gentle, more wide-eyed with delight, like they were constantly and genuinely amazed at the high we were all having together. I got the feeling that they say something like "This has got to be the best show ever! You are the most amazing audience ever!" at every show on the tour, but not because it's a rote thing to say, but because the performers genuinely feel it every time.

They ended the show's second and final encore with "Perpetual," which of course I was looking forward to all night. When the DJs play that song at a goth club, it's like a call to the congregation to come together in worship, especially when you reach the last lyric line. Everyone goes super serious and emotional, and their dance style gets all interpretive-like, with grand slow-sweeping gestures and meditative looks on every face. And if it sounds like I'm poking fun, well, I'm only doing so to the extent that it's aimed at myself. That's what I do if that song finds me on the dance floor. I can't help it. It's that kind of song.

Well, throughout the song, the singer kept interrupting himself to joke at the audience, encourage us to sing along to the song's signature sparkly synth arpeggio ("I don't care what language you speak, I don't care if you know the song, everyone can sing this song! ...Within reason") , and to threaten the impromptu crowd surfers to "put him down or I will personally kick you out! Jeez. This isn't a Slayer concert!" And none of that dampened the song's usual emotional effect, not a jot. Quite the opposite: all the laughter just added to the sense that hey, we're all in this together, onwards and upwards, joyfully.

The end of the song went on and on, everyone singing together over and over again, "Let there be, let there always be, neverending light," while the lights came partway up and the band members alternately conducted the audience-choir and took video of the forest of rejoicing hands and flaming cigarette lighters and gleaming cell phones. And my feet hurt like the dickens because for the first time in ages I was wearing my stylish stomping boots with their big tall square heels, and it didn't matter, that moment could last for another hour for all I cared.

So. That was the great big awesome.

I'm not sure I could take every day beginning with tiny awesome and ending with great big awesome. But it's a very nice way to construct a day once in a while.

1I tried to find that commercial on YouTube. I failed. Granted, I didn't try that hard. Anyway, you probably know the one I'm talking about. Late '80s, I want to say. Maybe early '90s. Might have been a toothbrush commercial rather than a toothpaste commercial. Gist was, using their product was supposed to lead to less plaque and therefore less unpleasant tooth-scraping at the dentist's office. (back)