I almost didn’t go to see Ed Kowalczyk tonight. I figured I’d be tired. Maybe a little love-lorn. Probably, you know, … old. Turned out I was right, but thanks to the generosity of a friend, I did stumble down through the Ekka detritus crowding the Bowen Hills streets to the grand old Tivoli, and was stunned to be sitting, sardine-like but not uncomfortably, a mere four rows from the stage. Close enough to see the sweat on Ed’s bald head, the smears of moisture on the guitar, and a very large smile on his dial as the sell-out crowd went ballistic after every tune.
It was just Ed and a guitar, a few apologies for not having the full band, sheer delight at being heard and appreciated. He played one new song (from a solo album due out next year) — it was pretty good, in a Live kind of way — and one cover, and the rest of the 1hr15 set was made up of Live tracks. I’d forgotten, kind of, just how good those guys were when they were peaking, with Throwing Copper and my favourite album of theirs, The Distance to Here. Tonight’s set roamed the Live catalague, rocking out with I Alone, offering a delicious rendering of the remarkably apt The Dolphin’s Cry, getting a singalong with closing song I Want To Dance With You. And raising a tear with Lightning Crashes, which always reminds me of someone dear who should be here, but isn’t.
As such, the gig turned out to be a fitting closing act for a poignant weekend.
It began on Friday night with a dear, old friend at a favourite restaurant. So pleasing to see her happy in love, and beloved. And then there was that aeroplane, delivering me my own slice of the happiness pie. Saturday and a parade of friends and family and that bittersweet emotion of being happy for a friend while feeling the cutting edge of looming absence, in geography at least. Time and lost opportunities and golden moments, all rolled into one, and never quite enough time and space to say the words to the right people before they’re gone, through the door if not from our lives. Amazing, isn’t it, how friendships endure across time and space? And how watersheds and turning points can remind us of just how strong those bonds can be. And then today, welcome and goodbye and a milestone marked, a new year and a new life, but no beginning without endings, too, the shedding of old skin making way for the new.
Vague enough for you?
Birthdays are like that. Past and future colliding, cushioned by the joy of good company, the love of family and that significant other.
So thanks, Ed, for the summary: the pains and pleasures of the past, the promise of the future, the simple joy of the here and now.
Oh now feel it comin’ back again
Like a rollin’ thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from the center of the earth again
I can feel it.