Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Serenity Gardens (08.27.18)

Good crowd, good tunes, happy Zak at Serenity Gardens. Photo by Thea Dee.

Kat is in Europe right now. At this very moment, she's in Copenhagen, Denmark, having just wrapped up a few days in Reykjavik, Iceland. Why is Kat in Europe? Because she wants to be! This is her first time exploring the continent purely for the joy of travel (as opposed to for business or a stopover at an airport), and it's something she's always wanted to do. The ultimate truth is that life is shorter than we'd prefer and your window for doing things like traveling the globe -- while you're young enough to have the energy to enjoy it and old enough to appreciate and afford it -- is pretty small. So, she planned a trip that takes her through the cities above along with Rome, Venice, Paris, London, and Dublin, with shorter stops in places like Athens, Pisa, Milan, Basel, and Wales. She'll have spent over three weeks there, said and done, before heading back to the USA.

Guess who's not in Europe? Me! While we both would have loved to do this trip together, that isn't even close to the realm of possibilities for me. I own a little company that does various kinds of marketing communications (aka advertising and PR), and I rarely have the ability to take three hours off work, much less three days, and three weeks is a ridiculous premise. Here's a little factoid: there have been many occasions that, after wrapping up a great rock and roll show in SL and saying goodbye to my faithful fans, I have to open up a spreadsheet, continue formatting a PowerPoint deck, or post some content for my clients. I'm not complaining about this in any way, I promise... I'm happy with my life. But the idea of heading off to Europe for a few weeks isn't remotely real for me, so while I miss Kat in her absence, I'm glad she's doing something she wanted to do regardless of my ability to be involved.

Ultimately, any good relationship involves a combination of togetherness and independence. It's an unfortunately common behavior for folks who never attain a certain level of maturity to insist that every aspect of life be at the control and approval of the spouse or significant other. Kat and I have both been married and divorced previously, so perhaps we grew out of that way of thinking, or learned via trial and error. In any case, she's free to do as she chooses, and I'm happy to support her in the things she wants to do.

Rocking in the Pixel World
Obviously, while out of the country, Kat's not able to attend my SL shows. Trying to get into SL on hotel/public WiFi is just silly, and besides that, the time difference means that I'm performing in the middle of the night for her. But life goes on, and I had my regularly-scheduled bi-weekly show at Serenity Gardens last night. I actually had a pretty close (for me) cluster of shows lately, having played on Wednesday and Sunday before Monday's show, and I wanted to be sure that the people who were attending multiple shows in a short time frame each got a somewhat unique experience, so I dug deeper into my repertoire and pulled out some tunes that I play more rarely.

I often tell my crowd at Serenity Gardens that it's the best time of the week, since they made it through Monday and have six full days until the next one. Photo by Thea Dee.

Me, onstage, doing what I do. Photo by Thea Dee.

That was fun, and the show went great, but I should note that there are some tunes that I absolutely love, but still aren't best rendered by one person with an acoustic guitar. The fact is that a song is made up of many parts. There's the basic aspect of a chord progression and a melody, and that's obviously the most important part. But there's also the aspect of the arrangement... the choice of instruments and vocals and various sound sources that comprise the song. And then there's the production itself, which, in certain kinds of music, can be every bit as important as the song. Anyway, there are some songs that I can certainly play, but should think twice about doing so based only on the idea that they need those other elements to be truly enjoyable to hear. That's probably why several of those songs stay deep in my song list and don't get pulled out very often. I remember after I play them, and then put them away again for years.

Serenity Gardens set list...
Possession (Sarah McLachlan)
Heart of Gold (Neil Young)
Shame Chamber (Kurt Vile)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie)
Breaking Us In Two (Joe Jackson)
Vendetta (They Stole My Crayon)
Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)
Mad World (Tears for Fears)
Carey (Joni Mitchell)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Polly (Nirvana)

Big, big thanks to the folks who came to the show, with special hats-off to the following who helped support it!
Trouble Streeter, dls Falconer, Marieleeblanc Resident, Kat Chauveau, Jukebox Diesel, ElusiveButterfly Ember, Aurelie Chenaux, TheaDee Resident, Celeste Ewing, Barbara Mixemup, my lovely manager Maali Beck, and the fabulous team at Serenity Gardens, Tilly Rose and Ilsa Wilde.

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