Only One Love Song

I’ve been lucky enough to see Damien Rice live..twice.

The first time I saw him was in October of last year. It was the second-to-last stop on the US leg of his first tour in nine years. It was such a big deal that a friend and I flew to Brooklyn 14 hours after I flew back to the states after my stint in Germany. It was an incredible trip and an even more incredible show (Glen Hansard even made a special appearance!). I had always known he was talented, always known that he was a very special musician, and seeing him live solidified that knowledge.

In October, I was still blissfully happy in a long-distance relationship that had started several months previously. We had reconnected after over a decade of not living in the same city, him being in Alaska and my home changing multiple times. Hours and hours of skype were part of every week, and my twenty-fifth birthday was spent in Anchorage with him. It was a relationship different than any I had ever experienced before. The communication was unreal. I grew to understand and know him better than almost anybody I’ve ever known. So at this concert, surrounded by songs that I thought were all about love, I thought they resonated with me.

The relationship ended about a month later for a multitude of reasons, and I think I’m just now finally able to look back on everything with a sense of thankfulness for the good moments that did happen. Of course, there are still twinges of loss, but overall, I’m glad everything happened the way it did. Since then, any sort of romantic life I might have had has been in a very strange place. I don’t mean for all of my posts lately to be about relationships and romance, but for someone who’s spent the majority of her last nine years (excluding this past year) in a relationship, the mental adjusting to single-hood is a difficult one.

Back on Damien-topic. The second time I got to see him was two days ago. I’m still on a concert high. Not only was I in a different emotional place, his raw emotion and connection to his songs was much more evident this time around. It was otherworldly. I brought a friend with me, and she and I sat in our chair in the second row enraptured the entire time. It was one of those shows where you just watch in awe of the artist on the stage. I’m fairly certain we both had slightly teary eyes the whole way through, and there were moments that his lyrics hit me and brought back memories from the past few years in vivid color. Memories of not feeling loved, memories of loneliness, betrayal, anger, sadness, but also memories of hope and learning to figure out what I want from life.

If you aren’t familiar with his back story, Rice had a very tumultuous relationship with someone that used to play with him. It was a very passionate relationship, but major ups and downs came with the passion. Many of his songs are about that relationship, and most of them are not favorable. At one point in the show, he started talking about how he was asked about all of the love songs he had written. He mentioned that he went through the songs he wrote and noted that there was only one song really about love: “I Don’t Want To Change You“. The lyrics are a complete surrender, a total giving up of the selfishness many people tend to bring to the table in relationships without realizing it.

In this past year, I’ve learned to really appreciate lyrics more than ever before. Being able to hear the background stories of some of his songs and seeing the different emotions tied into each song was key to bringing those lyrics even more to life. I feel like I’ve grown into a completely different person than even who I was a year ago. I’m constantly working on letting go of the cynical bitterness I feel like I’ve been using as a shield to protect myself from getting hurt and getting back to a place where I can unselfishly love people no matter how they might have treated me in the past. I’ve particularly been struggling with that the past month or two. These songs, this show, this phenomenal musician..they were a perfectly timed reminder to get back to the goal of forgiveness and love that I set for myself months ago.

Damien Rice at the South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX - August 201
Damien Rice at the South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX – August 2015

listening to: Damien Rice

A Night With Mraz

Last night, I got to see Jason Mraz live. I was introduced to his music back in 2005, and I’m been a fan ever since. He wasn’t one of those musicians that I was just dying to see in concert, but I’ve always admired his talent. After seeing his performance, my opinion of him has grown and changed. He’s a phenomenal musician and is incredibly talented. The band that’s been touring with him, Raining Jane, is filled with girls who can play more instruments than I can imagine learning how to play. Love music? Go see him live.

Yesterday’s date has some not-so-fond memories for me, so I was looking forward to the show distracting me. What I wasn’t counting on was leaving Alte Oper full of inspiration and a sense of peace. I really wish I had pulled out my journal during the intermission so I’d be able to share all of the thoughts that were running through my mind in the moment, but I failed to do so. The rest of this is just a pale replication of some of those thoughts.

At one point, he mentioned that people always ask him how he seems to stay so positive. He replied that he believes positivity is a choice- he chooses to be positive every day, because without that, there can’t be forgiveness, acceptance, etc. A lot of people speak about acting positively without actually doing it, but I think if you can make a conscious effort to stay positive whenever possible, it’ll reflect into your life and people will be drawn to that. I know from experience that staying positive is so much easier said than done- for countless months, I was unable to even genuinely smile. For me, finding the smallest moment of positivity can be considered a win.

The best part about this whole concert was just hearing all of the encouragement he was genuinely sharing with the crowd. It was refreshing to hear someone with his level of fame who still acted so down to earth. I appreciated it even further because the way he inspired everyone in the audience is what I really hope to do with this blog. Like I’ve said before, I want to be relatable and honest. I want to inspire people to share their stories and know that even in the darkest of life’s moments, there will be an end and the light will come back.

One of my favorite songs from the Yes! album is 3 Things mostly for the following lyrics: “the third thing I do now when my world caves in is I pause, I take a breath, and bow and I let that chapter end.” Those lines are quickly becoming the way I’m trying to live my life. I’ve always been a dweller on the bad moments in life, so a regular reminder to stop and collect myself before going to the next thing helps with closure, thus being able to properly move on.

As for the rest of the concert, there was a video on his trip to Antarctica featuring penguins, a sitar, amazing harmonies, and a surprise proposal. Well worth it.

Niederrad, Germany- October 2014
Niederrad, Germany- October 2014

listening to: Jason Mraz