Once in a Lifetime

It was a once in a lifetime thing.

On Sunday night, my best friend and I went to see Justin Currie, formerly of the group Del Amitri, performing songs from his new solo CD as well as some familiar old favourites. I could listen to this man sing the alphabet and enjoy every syllable. His voice is like love and heartbreak at the same time, smooth and warm even when he’s singing about gritty subjects. Not to mention he’s easy on the eyes. 🙂

The concert was at this bar in a mid-size metropolitan downtown area just sleazy enough to be appropriate for a crowd that was somehow artsy and drunk at the same time. The opening act was so obviously a new face to the business that it seemed like a scene out of a novel. A girl with a guitar, tape covering a crack along the top, sipping beer and water in between songs with a look in her face that was almost pleading the audience to help her along. She had an odd voice. I can’t say I was particularly impressed, but I am not a vocal coach or a particularly decent singer.

Then there was Justin Currie. He walked right past us, no more than two feet away. I thought I was going to faint. And the show was as absolutely amazing as I had anticipated. Much better actually. Justin is not only an incredibly talented singer and musician, he’s also funny, witty, and polite all at once. He had this sort of banter with the accompanying musician and the audience that gave the concert a sense of personality. The concert was being broadcast on a local independent radio station, and after the radio show ended, Justin took a few requests. He said the audience members were outdoing themselves requesting obscure songs, but even he seemed to enjoy that.

We got quite a laugh out of the fact that he forgot the lyrics to a couple of songs. A Scot at the bar jogged his memory on ‘Nothing Ever Happens’ which was hilarious. He did an absolutely heart-wrenching acoustic version of ‘Always the Last to Know,’ which was originally a pop sounding tune, and I could barely breathe as he sang ‘Driving with the Brakes On’ in that soulful, genuine tone. During that song I felt my eyes burning and realised I hadn’t been blinking. Then, with a quick ‘Thanks, chaps’ he ended the show and passed right by our table again.

There’s so much else to say, but this would turn into a book. Every tiny detail seems important.

When he took his place on stage, I felt tears form in my eyes not because of some fainting fan thing, but in absolute disbelief. Here I am, a girl from the East End, 5300 miles from home getting the opportunity to watch an amazing musician from the UK with my best friend at my side. I am incredibly lucky. And sitting there surrounded by other expats listening to a familiar accent and hearing songs I first heard as a sixth-former, I’ve never felt so welcome or so homesick.

Justin, in the off-chance that you’ll read this– thanks for the show!

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