Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My date with the Dixie Chicks

Today was beyond beyond incredible. I got into my office and quickly emailed my boss to let him know I'd be out for a couple hours this afternoon and he asked me to come discuss it with him. I was scared shitless. I hate confrontation but my email said I'd make up all the time I was out beyond my lunch hour so I didn't have a clue what he was going to say. I think he was thinking I had a lunch date or an interview or anything. I kind of had a date. With the Dixie Chicks! I explained to him that I'd won a chance to meet with my mentors and that was it.

I got to the Time Warner Center for the show which wasn't in the Jazz center main room as I'd pictured. It was in the Education studio, a much smaller room, to my delight. Probably about 100 people total in the room including XM Sattelite Execs, photographers, and sound people, and 40 insane fans. One dude flew in from San Francisco upon hearing the news and we sat next to a mom and daughter from Knoxville. It was a really welcoming vibe. First the XM guy came in to explain everything. There was to be a moderator who would introduce the Dixie Chicks and ask a few questions and they would play some songs. Interspersed throughout the program, audience members were encouraged to get up and ask them questions. This was being taped for a national radio show! Of course I was going to take advantage of that! First I had to think of a question. I wanted to ask about the "Incident". In particular their thoughts about why they were getting so much flack while other musicians, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young most recently, and dozens of Hollywood actors have affirmed their disproval of the US government. But when I reached the front of the line they still hadn't spoken about the "Incident" at all in the interview. I didn't want to be the one to start the topic so I asked something a little more harmless.

I was cool as a cucumber which is surprising considering how awesome of a moment this was. I stepped up to the mike and said in my best fake phone voice voice,

"Hi there, my name is Susanne and I'm from New York city. I moved here from Orange County, CA at 18 when your song Wide Open Spaces was a hit and I can't describe to you how much that song inspired me". They all nodded and smiled their happiness.

I didn't include the fact that I peeked at the set list on the moderators podium and saw that it was the next song they'd be singing. Nice little tie in if I do say so myself. It was true, not total fabrication. I remember emailing that song to all my high school friends the day before I left for college. The first verses say:

Who doesn't know what I'm talking about
Who's never left home, who's never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

Many precede and many will follow
A young girl's dream no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west (or I like to interject, BACK EAST)
But what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed

Its such a beautiful song. I'm brought to tears whenever I hear it live. The question I asked them was, "In your latest video for 'Not Ready to Make Nice', which I LOVE by the way, there are some of what I believe are obvious references to The Crucible and the Witch Hunts. I looked around on some message boards and articles and never heard anything about what you guys say about it and I was hoping to get some of your thoughts on the video"

Martie told me she was impressed that people are picking up on that symbolism. Her mom is an English teacher and immediately caught that. Others are finding links between the Chicks and their war position. Natalie said some people actually asked them why her dress was shaped like the map of Iraq. She was like "what?!" Turns out if you hold up a picture of her billowing dress from the video and a map of Iraq they look to be the same shape. And the paint on their hands everyone asks if its supposed to be Middle East oil. They're like, no, its ink, like regarding bad press I guess. All three seemed very impressed by my question and answered everything I had wondered about. Its so cool when you admire someone to go right up to them and ask questions. It was such a cool experience.

Once I went back to my seat the moderator guy was talking about me. He was like, thats so fantastic that Susanne mentioned your song Wide Open Spaces. And just like Susanne said, so many young women were inspired by it. Or something like that. I was busy leaning over to Destiny saying, dude, the moderator keeps saying my name. It was so cool.

The set opened with Truth #2 from their Home album. Then they introduced two new songs, Taking the Long Way and Easy Silence. Both totally excellent! It was funny since a bunch of people were singing along and Natalie accused us of illegally downloading the music before it was released since it came out just that day. Then came Wide Open Spaces which was awesome. I honestly felt like they were singing it for me since I'd mentioned it a minute before. Natalie messed up a lyric in the last verse (I didn't notice, since like I mentioned I was totally crying from hearing her sing the song) and they had to repeat it. So I heard them play the song twice. I wanted her to mess up on all the songs after that so we could hear them play longer. Then they closed with Not Ready to Make Nice. This was awesome to see live because Natalie puts sooo much emotion into her lyrics. When she sings "I know you said, Can’t you just get over it, It turned my whole world around, And I kind of like it" She gets this coy smile on her face thats to die for. Like shes telling a story through her delivery. Not enough musicians can convey that.

After the show I rushed to get in line for a picture with them but they only allowed a few pics. I thrust my Time magazine with them on the cover through the throngs of people and got all three Dixie Chicks to sign the cover. I went right after work to get a frame for it. Its hanging right above my computer as I type this post. This is one of my most prized possesions now. I'd say its up there with my Granny's chai necklace that I was given the day of her funeral (and rarely take off) and the softball I have signed by Lisa Fernandez my favorite softball player that sits on my desk at work. These are things I can glance at and get great encouragement and inspiration from.

Next up on my country calendar is the Dixie Chicks performance on Good Morning America on Friday morning. I'll be the one wearing the cowboy hat looking all fired up! Then on Sunday (yay!) I bought tickets to see Kenny Chesney (my second favorite male singer after Tim McGraw) and Sugarland (my second favorite band after the Dixie Chicks, of course) in Hershey, PA. He is of course going to be playing Madison Square Garden next week, but its on Friday night, the Sabbath, and I won't be able to attend. Therefore I am trekking 3 hours each way to see him. Ahh, the things we do to honor God's commandments. I'm going with Destiny (of course) and my roommate Miriam. We were sitting watching Kenny Chesney perform on the ACM awards tonight, and I was like, wait, Miriam don't you have a car?..... And the plans rolled from there. Anyway, all this excitment makes me sleepy. Be sure to comment with your favorite Dixie Chicks song or lyric. Peace.


ZK said...

I was just going to email you and ask you how it went. Guess you beat me to it. I downloaded the album last night and I'm quite liking it.

When I moved to New York 3 years ago, I often thought of the song Wide Open Spaces, though I thought it was ironic that I was moving from the land of Space (the suburbs) to the land of Crampedness (NYC), but still the basic message holds true. I love the song "Hello Mr. Heartache." One of my faves.


skippy said...

lucky girl! good for you, and i am so jealous!