Monday, January 30, 2012

Why I love Jeff Mangum

If I hadn't bought a Groupon, then I wouldn't have gotten my hair cut on Saturday. If my haircut hadn't taken twice as long as I had anticipated, and I didn't live so far away, then I would have gone home to change before the Jeff Mangum show. If I had gone home to change before the Jeff Mangum show I would have been rushing to get back to meet my friend by 7:00, instead of walking around U Street with an hour to kill. If I hadn't been right down the street from the theater with an hour to kill, I wouldn't have walked past the ticket window at 6:15, and thought to ask, offhandedly, "You don't have any tickets, do you?" sure the answer would be no. After all, Ticketmaster had been sold out for months, and tickets for sale elsewhere online were going for three and four times face value. So it was no small shock to me when the woman said, "Wait five minutes. We might." And? They did! I got tickets to see Jeff Mangum! At face value! I didn't even have to pay the Ticketmaster fees! For someone who often feels like the Charlie Brown of, well, everything, I am still a bit stunned by how perfectly everything came together for me for that one perfect night.

And now, on to the show!

The opening band, Music Tapes, was dreamy. Seriously, like ethereal, am-I-asleep-or-am-I-awake, dreamy. Julian Koster played a saw and a banjo with a frayed violin bow. He told a story about old Romanian gypsy circus folk who pulled European cities from their mouths. There was a seven-foot tall ticking metronome.        



It reminded me a little of Beirut, at times a little of Rufus Wainwright, but mostly it was like nothing I had ever seen or heard before. Magical.

And then there was Jeff. 

Let me tell you why I love Jeff Mangum. First, because he said, "Alright guys, if you sing along at home, you might as well sing here, too." It was a singalong love fest as he played his way around The Aeroplane Over the Sea album, with a bit of On Avery Island for good measure. The only song I hadn't heard before was "Little Birds," a song that I am going to have to insist that you stop and listen to (but not watch, unfortunately) right now.   



It's about seven minutes long, but worth it. So, so powerful. (Check out the lyrics here, if you dare.)

Reason number two why I love Jeff Mangum: because he said, "Have you all had a nice decade?" (The crowd goes wild. Ten Fourteen years is a long time to wait for someone to come out of seclusion. But worth it.) And because he then said, "I've just been living my life, being happy."

And really, is there anything more any of us could ask for?  

16 comments:

  1. You have great taste in music.

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  2. I have to admit that I have no idea what Jeff Mangum's music is like because I'm old and stopped listening to new music somewhere around 1995. Also, every time I hear his name, I think it's supposed to be Jeff Magnum.

    But I will say that I'm a little confused. You got the haircut and had planned to go home to change before the Jeff Mangum show that you didn't have tickets for?

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    1. Yes! Was going to cross my fingers and hope I could get tics from a scalper. This was even better!

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    2. Ah, gotcha. Very cool that it worked out for you!

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  3. My brain definitely read that as Jeff Magnum. Which of course makes me think he must look like Tom Selleck. But seriously, hooray for moments when the universe converges! You deserved a little treat for your soul. :)

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  4. Most shows hold house seats for celebrities or other well connected individuals. If, close to the show, they haven't given them away they will sell them to the public. Broadway shows often do this, and people line up at the box office in hopes of getting tickets to a sold out show.

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  5. Hallelujah for some serendipity!

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  6. Beautiful how things work out sometimes!

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  7. Holy crap. You are the second person I've discovered in the past 24 hours who likes the guy from Neutral Milk Hotel. This is a very weird day.

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  8. "Little birds" always makes me weepy, sad, and terribly interested. But I always want a story to go along with it, I want it to be about someone I know, I want it to have more of those frightening little birds, but then I realize: why would I ever wish this song upon anyone? Let it stand alone.

    I am jealous of your tickets.

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  9. Someday you can thank me (for nothing) and buy me a beer for all my love and support... see Charlie Brown sometimes shit does work out... now i gotta plane to catch.

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  10. I googled Jeff Mangum and got this as one of tje results. I wanted to see him in Minneapolis and couldn't get tickets. They were $230+ on ticket websites! My friend and I were planning just to sit outside the venue. Turns out, they had tickets and the show was amazing. Afterwards we took a wrong exit out the building and while walking, we saw him! We talked to him and he shook our hands twice. Such a nice and talented guy. Some things just fall perfectly into place.

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    1. Wow, Anonymous! That is so awesome. Lucky you!

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