Thursday, June 22, 2017

Writer’s Workshop: My Last Concert

As mnuch as I love music, I’m not a real concert kind of guy. I guess I’d rather sit home and listen to the recorded music. I think the last time I saw a concert was in 1992.

That time, I was in Toronto (Mississauga, actually) doing a training class. The Internet at the time consisted of America Online, which cost a fortune for “international” dialup, so spending much time on that was not a good idea. I had been to the mall across the street already, and there really wasn’t much else around, so I was prepared to spend a lot of time in my room watching TV.

I was reading the paper and find a story about Stephane Grappelli, who made musical history in the Thirties when he on violin and Django Reinhardt on guitar formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France with two other guitarists and a string bassist, the first jazz band made up solely of string musicians. A sample, the one I always pull out in situations like this, so those of you who have been following the blog for a while have already seen it.

At the end of the article, it mentioned that Grappelli would be playing the following evening at Massey Hall. I had no idea where Massey Hall was, but I knew I was going.

The next evening, I found Massey Hall, which is a pretty spectacular place in and of itself, and my seat therein, and a little after eight that evening, “Ladies and gentlemen, Stephane Grappelli.”

He walked out slowly, helped by a young man, with his guitarist, Bucky Pizzarelli, and the bass player (whose name is lost in my memory) walking behind him. They sat him down in a chair, he pulled out his violin, and for the next two hours, it was the Hot Club in the Thirties again.

He still had it, sixty years later, as feeble as he might have been. Pizzarelli, while no Django, is a spectacular player himself, and did a solo version of “Nuages,” maybe Django’s best-known song. His last song was “Limehouse Blues,” and when he finished the young man who had walked him onto the stage carried him off as the crowd went wild. Of course, there was an encore, and when the group got resituated on the stage, Grappelli said “Thank you.” Someone in the audience gave the obligatory, “No, thank you.”

I left, knowing that I had seen and heard a piece of music history. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been to another concert.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

1 comment:

  1. What great luck for you! My first concert was The Monkeeys reunion and my last was Lady Gaga!