I’ve seen Bob Dylan a few times… once even at the front of an 80,000 member crowd at ACL 2007.
I’ve also seen Sufjan in a performance that I unavoidably describe with the ultra-corny cliché “life changing.” (sorry)
It was just hipster enough to know these were real artists but not so hipster that the ramshackle instruments were merely for irony’s sake. The band interacted with the audience in a way that only adds to the experience when it is small and dingy and most everyone in the room is within spitting distance.
We clapped and sang along, giggled at inside jokes that we shouldn’t have known were funny… we even learned pre-song sing-a-long parts that never actually even happened in the song…
The best part of the show was being there with my 8-yr-old daughter.
She (like all 8-yr-olds) has a weakness for radio pop (kind of like my weakness for white bread or Skittles or Mrs. Butterworth’s) so I find these little experiences that she can have with real artists so valuable.
I also think it is important for her to see women in the arts and especially in pop-culture who represent women as artists and not merely sex objects. There is so much that she can learn just by witnessing someone like Andrea playing the cello and singing on stage.
That even though women can use their sexuality in powerful ways (or be exploited for their sexuality – as is more often the case), it doesn’t have to be that way.
But more than all that, it is a moment that she and I now share.
So that 20 years from now when I’ve made a million more mistakes with her than I already have she can at least look back and remember sitting on my lap on the concrete floor at Higher Grounds listening to Breathe Owl Breathe play “Swimming” and watching Micah do a cannonball off the 12″ stage.
And that is a grand memory.