Dancing with Mr. Brightside

the_killersIs there anything better than wrapping up the summer at a concert, sweating and laughing and singing along at the top of your lungs to one of your absolute favorite bands?

No. No, there isn’t.

The Killers performed at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., last night, and my sister and I were there — in the second-to-last row of the venue, sure, but most definitely there! They were spectacular . . . even better than I had dared to hope.

I’ve been an enormous fan since I first heard “Mr. Brightside” back in 2004 and somehow really connected with the lyrics. Their album “Hot Fuss” became my summer anthem, pouring through my car windows as it lived in my CD player for almost a year. Thankfully, I got my sister Kate in on the act — and it became a band we both love. Follow-up albums “Sam’s Town,” “Sawdust” and “Day & Age” all have a special place in my life — and my heart! — too.

So I love going to shows, but somehow I’d never managed to see The Killers live! This is especially disappointing considering I have a massive, heart-stopping crush on lead singer, pianist and lyricist Brandon Flowers. (Yeah, he’s married with two sons, but a girl can dream!) He was in fine form last night, wearing an all-black ensemble and singing/dancing his heart out, but unfortunately I was way too far away to get any decent shots. I’ll just have to burn those mental images into my brain forever!

They sang all their big hits — “All These Things That I’ve Done,” “Somebody Told Me,” “Bones,” “When You Were Young” (for the encore) and, of course, “Mr. Brightside.” I don’t really remember what my life was like before that song . . . and when the first riffs started, I’m pretty sure I went temporarily insane. Like, insane. You don’t want to be seen with me or be associated with me in any way sort of insane. Luckily Kate is used to my antics and thought nothing of me screaming my head off, dancing around in an aisle and throwing my arms up like I was hurtling down a rollercoaster! Hearing that song live was just it. Amazing. I closed my eyes and couldn’t stop jumping . . . I had to move, and keep moving. I can’t listen to that song and stand still.

Another definite highlight? The refrain of “All These Things That I’ve Done” that’s become synonymous with the band, even getting printed on T-shirts: “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier.” As I had hoped, Brandon let us sing it for a while . . . and the entire audience seemed to join in. It’s rare you see a group of, oh, 50,000 people completely in a moment as much as you did just then. Watching everyone’s faces staring up at the screen, looking at the hands reaching toward the sky, hearing the voices of a massive crowd all risen and pitched together to sing the very same notes — it’s like religion.

That’s why I can never get enough of live music — it feels holy, sacred. The feeling of unity you get at concerts is unparalleled . . . exhilerating, exciting, consuming, fantastic. And when the music you’re listening to right then, with that very band before you, has been your personal soundtrack through countless life changes, it makes you feel . . . invincible.

I know I’m really jumping off the deep end now, getting all pseudo-philosophical on you. Suffice it to say it was an incredible experience — an unforgettable one — which has to rank up there with the ever-growing Greatest Moments of Meg’s Life Ever.

Below is a video clip of one of my favorite songs, “A Dustland Fairytale,” captured by an awesome fan at my show! Have I mentioned lately how much I love the Internet? I can relive my exact fantastic evening through a series of YouTube videos and photos posted by others. Life is magical!



Booking Through Thursday: Sing a song

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday! It’s not about books, but it is about words . . . so we’ll go with that!

“If you’re anything like me, there are songs that you love because of their lyrics; writers you admire because their songs have depth, meaning, or just a sheer playfulness that has nothing to do with the tunes.

So, today’s question?

• What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love? Why?
• And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?”

Wow! I frequently blog about my favorite lyrics, great artists, sad and happy songs and just artists I love in general. I can’t think of a song in which I like the lyrics but don’t really like the tune. What’s so great about music is that deft combination of the two. Even now, typing out the lyrics to the songs I love just isn’t going to do any of them justice. You have to hear them! Otherwise, they’re a little like scrambled poetry. All of these songs “speak” to me in some way, usually because they deal with growing up, making decisions, falling in and out of love and basically becoming an adult. Many of them were songs I listened to in high school and college, so they remind me of a very specific time in my life. It’s fun to let music take you back.

Jumping in, my usual response to questions like this features me rambling on about the awesomeness that is John Mayer, my favorite musician of all time. He’s incredibly talented songwriter, guitarist and performer, and I’m usually in some ceaseless amazement of his . . . hotness. Yeah, I think the man is gorgeous.

Some of my favorite JM lyrics?

“Stop This Train”

So scared of getting older, I’m only good at being young; So I play the numbers game to find a way to say my life has just begun; Had a talk with my old man, said ‘Help me understand’; He said, ‘Turn 68, you’ll renegotiate’; Don’t stop this train; Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in . . . And don’t think I couldn’t ever understand; I tried my hand; John, honestly, you’ll never stop this train . . .

“New Deep”

I’m so alive; I’m so enlightened, I can barely survive a night in my mind; I’ve got a plan — I’m gonna find out just how boring I am, and have a good time; ‘Cause ever since I tried, trying not to find every little meaning in my life; It’s been fine; I’ve been cool with my new golden rule . . . Numb is the new deep; Down with the old me . . . I’m done with the analyzing tonight; Stop trying to figure it out; It will only bring you down . . .

“Why Georgia”

I am driving up 85 in the kind of morning that lasts all afternoon; Just stuck inside the gloom; For more exits to my apartment, but I am tempted to keep the car in drive; And leave it all behind . . . ‘Cause I wonder about the outcome . . . Am I living it right? Am I living it right? Am I living it right . . . Why, Georgia, why? . . . I rent a room and I fill the spaces with whirling places to make it feel like home, but all I feel is alone; It might be a quarter-life crisis, or just the stirring in my soul; Either way, I wonder sometimes about the outcome . . . So what, so I’ve got a smile on. Well, it’s hiding the quiet superstitions in my head . . . Don’t believe me, don’t believe me when I say I’ve got it down.

And now I’ll go ahead and branch out — I’ll hit you with a little Sara Bareilles!

“Morningside”

I’m not scared of you, no, or so I say; There’s no reason to run, although I may; Not as sure as I seem, this much I know; What does it mean when you leave, and I follow? Well, I try to forget what you do, when I let you get through to me; But then you do it over again; Like a rage, like a fire . . . Keep my distance, I try; No use, no; No matter the miles, I’m back to you . . .

And some of The Killers?

“All These Things That I’ve Done”

If you can hold on, hold on . . . I want to stand up, I want to let go — you know, you know — no, you don’t, you don’t . . . Another head aches, another heart breaks; I’m so much older than I can take; And my affection, well it comes and goes; I need direction to perfection . . . You know you gotta help me out, oh, don’t you put me on the back burner — you know you gotta help me out; And when there’s nowhere else to run, is there room for one more son? These changes ain’t changin’ me — the gold-hearted boy I used to be . . .

And, for good measure, Ben Folds, another of my favorite artists!

“Still Fighting It”

Good morning, son; I am a bird; Wearing a brown polyester shirt; Do you want a Coke? Maybe some fries? The roast beef combo’s only 9.95; It’s okay — you don’t have to pay; I’ve got all the change . . . Everybody knows it hurts to grow up; And everybody does; So weird to be back here; Let me tell you what: The years go on, and we’re still fighting it, we’re still fighting it . . . And you’re so much like me. I’m sorry . . . Good morning son, twenty years from now, maybe we’ll both sit down and have a few beers. And I can tell you ’bout today, and how I picked you up and everything changed . . . There was pain, sunny days and rain, I knew you’d feel the same things . . . You’ll try, and you’ll try, and one day you’ll fly away from me . . . Good morning, son; Good morning, son . . .