Where do I even start? How about the beginning?
We showed up at 5:30 to stand in line, and we ended up being just fifth or sixth in line. It was hot and muggy in Richmond, as Emily later noted, but the sweaty wait was totally worth it. The main part of the venue was like a club floor so we were able to stand right against the stage. Well, there was a barricade protecting the Indigo Girls from me, but I was practically on top of Amy Ray.
And it was glorious.
They sounded amazing. I know I throw that word around too often, but this time it is the only appropriate adjective. It was just the two of them and Julie Wolf sometimes on keyboard and accordian. They started with “Pendulum Swinger,” and Emily let us sing the “fuck it” part alone.
Here’s the thing. Amy Ray is great. I almost cannot stand how great she is. She grinned just about the entire time she was on stage, and every time we sang or squealed with delight at the starting chords of a song, she seemed kind of half-embarrassed and half-amused at our excitement.
And then she sang “Moment of Forgiveness.” It seemed like an afterthought, like they were going to do something else and at the last second she changed her mind. She had her back to the audience. I think maybe she was getting a drink of water. Anyway, she was kind of strumming her guitar randomly and shifting her weight from foot to foot when all of the sudden, she turned around and leaned into the microphone and said, “Well, I guess that I was lonely…”
That’s when I temporarily lost my mind. I screamed and leapt into the air with my fists above my head in joy. My concert companions laughed and laughedâ€”at me, not with meâ€”but I didn’t care. I have never been more excited in a single moment than I was in that one last night.
Then I met her.
That’s right. Amy signed my ticket, and we had a little chat about “Moment of Forgiveness.” She said it was a last minute addition to the show (it isn’t even on the set listâ€”I know because Liz has Amy’s personal set list), but that it “just felt right” to play it. Thank you, Universe.
Speaking of the set list, they played two new songs. The first one was “Fleet of Hope,” which will be on their new album. Amy said it will come out some time this winter. Emily seemed to agree. I get chills when I think about the fact that we were the first ones to hear “Fleet of Hope.” It is a ballad and it felt like a typical Emily song. And by “typical,” of course, I mean excellentâ€”great metaphors, great insights, great melody. The new Amy song they did was called “Second Time Around,” and it had a rambling narrative that was absolutely charming. Amy also told us that the new CD will include two versions of the albumâ€”one with the band and one acoustic. This seems like a fantastic idea to me. I am officially excited.
I also got Emily’s autograph. (Her hat says Hillary for President.) She was very sweet and gracious. I was struck by how both Amy and Emily seemed like regular people. They carry their respective genuises lightly and easily, not as if their talent and intellect are burdens.
The concert was perhaps the best live show I’ve ever been to. I know the proximity has a lot to do with my reaction, and I am still shocked that we were able to get so close to the stage. I’m filing the whole experience in my memory under “miracle.”