Have you ever been to a show or concert that was nice to look at but left you with that and so what? feeling at the end? Last night’s Al Stewart concert at the Warwick Arts Centre wasn’t one of those. Not by a long chalk.
The venue was suitable, the lighting subtle, and the audience predisposed to like what they were offered. The skills were there and the songs had obviously been well rehearsed. In short, all the ingredients were in place to create a slick, professional performance that would please.
Until the four on stage brought out the not-so-secret ingredient and produced sheer magic. Honestly, you should have seen it. The broad grins, the little winks, the small flourishes showing off each others skills… those four guys were having a ball up on stage. They loved what they were doing and they didn’t mind an iota that anyone could see it.
Have a sample of what I’m talking about. This is pretty close to what we were offered yesterday.
Don’t you get the feeling that it doesn’t matter if there’s an audience or not? That they’ll have fun regardless? That joy’s so much more powerful than a supersleek performance can ever be. That joy is what brings in the crowds again and again. And that joy is what left me feeling keyed up and inspired to go write… never mind whether it’s controversial or not, whether anyone approves or not.
Sometimes, we get so hung up on the approval of those around us that we lose the magic that happens when skill meets passion. It’s happened to me. It’s happened to writers I know. And it really shouldn’t. It’s a waste of precious time that we could spend having fun. We all need more fun…because there’s nothing better than that feeling of joy when the magic steps up.
And I’m very grateful to Al Stewart and his friends for reminding me.