Music & Maine

I’ve been to many concerts over the years. It’s hard to keep track how of many. 12 Dave Matthews Band shows…Tom Petty, Mason Jennings, Brett Dennen, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Mraz, The Counting Crows, David Gray, Xavier Rudd, Amos Lee, My Morning Jacket, The Goo Goo Dolls, John Mayer…the list goes on. There’s simply something about live music that is invigorating. For a few hours I can lose myself in a realm of words and sounds that serve as means of escapism, while at the same time causing me to relate the sentiments expressed in the music to my own life.

So, the other night I won tickets from a radio station to see the pop singer Matt Nathanson. While not a die-hard fan, I had heard some of his songs on the radio and I’m not one to pass up free tickets. Matt’s style is geared towards the teenage crowd…his lyrics are flirty and fun, he has a nose ring, wears tight jeans, and shakes his hips a lot.

Yet, as my sister and I shuffled into the State Theatre, an old, historic building in Portland, we looked around at the fellow concert-goers and noticed the median age of the people surrounding us was, well, rather high. We scratched our heads in confusion…why was a granny sitting a few rows in front of us?

Then, we figured it out: we were sitting with Matt Nathanson’s family.

While the typical young crowd filled the standing-only space close to the stage, the balcony seats went to aunts, uncles, cousins, and the like. During the show, Matt gave a few shout-outs to his clan, remarking that they “came out of the woodwork” and that he was glad to be playing in Maine, where so much of his family is from.

As I listened to their conversations and watched them interact with one another, I thought to myself: people are people.

Here’s a pop singer who’s played on Ellen, Rachael Ray, and The Bachelor. And here’s his uncle, sitting in front of me, wearing suspenders.

The entertainment industry is one that strives to make distinctions between the so-called commoners and the artists. Yet, it’s simply a matter of marketing one’s talent. We don’t celebrate teachers or secretaries or carpenters with posters and tee-shirts and glossy pictures. Can you imagine if we did? Can you imagine if those young masses, so eager to receive a signature from a pop idol, were just as eager to receive a signature from a person in their lives…who actually cares about them?

Just some food for thought on this rainy winter day. Here’s a little clip of Matt’s newest hit, for the teenage girl in us all.