I’m wondering about the people Thom told to shut up at Club Amok in Los Angeles back in June. Not because I want to yell at them too, but because I am — maybe because so much was made of such a small moment in the larger and greater whole — interested about what exactly happened at that moment. I don’t know when they started. I could not hear them from where I was. What I saw was pretty specific and not mysterious but maybe I’m wrong because I am making an assumption based on limited information. And there is always a gap between what you imagine and what actually happened.
I can tell you one thing. When Thom was done with the frustration and anger that had been building, everything changed particularly his connection to the song but also the audience connection to him. Even adrenaline runs out after two plus hours. And it wasn’t because he yelled. It was because he called — however he did it — for respect due.
And the issue of paying attention is a larger one. I don’t mean schoolroom attention. A yell of pure exhilaration at being in the middle of an incredible musical moment is not inattention or disrespect, even when the moment is poorly chosen. I mean being there to listen, to feel, experience something musical with total presence. We come to do that and then something happens and we find ourselves doing something else… which inevitably takes us out of the moment.
The urge to capture it all through a cell phone is sometimes, not always, a virus of distraction from what is really happening. Intention is the difference. The direct experience trumps the recorded one of course. But it’s like good sex. You have to be willing to risk things to experience it and suffer that exquisite anticipation in order to know how to get there again. There are people at shows not willing or able to give up the hook up to instatweetbooking even though they came to be in the moment. They’re like the kid in that movie who wants to have sex with a girl. The price is a pastry. But while he’s waiting for her outside her door, he can’t resist eating it himself.
There is this one big rubber band of connection that you either have hold of or you don’t. The rubber band that night was strong and taut enough to catapult you into orbit. So I am incredibly curious, although it seems utterly banal, as to why people were talking at that moment. And what their relationship to the band was. I would love to talk to them and find out.
In any case I think about that night from time to time and that even though we’d like to be cool and casual and not give a fuck, we really are in the thrall of something big enough to consider supernatural at some musical events. And at those haunted moments, you are lost if you give up the ghost. The possessed just will not have it.