Fighting Windmills asked me to describe the concert I went to on Friday, and so here’s my best shot at it!

Ani Difranco, at the 930 Club in DC on Friday November 16, 2007. I’d seen her in Baltimore at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall the previous Saturday, so it was interesting – the Symphony Hall was exactly what you’d expect of a symphony hall, and the concert was the sit-in-your-assigned-seat variety, which I’ve been to before for Ani, but which always strikes me as somewhat odd. As best I can remember, she didn’t play songs like gravel, which isn’t to say she didn’t rock out at all, because it is Ani – of course she did. But she did a lot of “reverberant” songs, as she described them, and unless I’m totally misremembering, she played hypnotized, which I don’t think she did on Friday at the club.

I should disclaim – I’m not good at remembering playlists, so this is as best I can remember, keeping in mind that I saw her twice within a week, and so I might be completely wrong!

Friday, at the 930 club, it was sort of classic awesome Ani. The club is small – 1200 people max, and it is mostly a dance floor, so some of the people were right up there like a foot from Ani, and there was also a U-shaped balcony. That’s where Leanne and I stood. Leanne’s not much of a club kind of person, and the crush on the dance floor would have been disturbing to her, and personally I was happy to stand somewhere I could see something other than the back of the (invariably tall) person in front of me. So it was good. I can go out and dance any time! Ani is someone I want to see as well as hear, because she is so expressive, and plus we were standing in a great spot in terms of acoustics.

Buddy Wakefield was her opener again, and he spoke (being a slam poet rather than singer) the same poems as the previous week, which I expected. It was interesting to me to hear some of the different reactions of the crowd – this crowd was just a bit more hyped, I think, yet no one reacted to some of the names he dropped in one of his poems like they did in Baltimore. Buddy is great – filled with energy and in some ways he makes me think of a bouncy and male version of Ani, but without the guitar. And no electrical tape on his fingers.

She started out with some of the same songs, can’t remember which ones, just that I know the first three or so were the same as in Baltimore. She played 4 or 5 of her new ones – short, because as she told us, she’s happy and the happier she is the shorter her songs are! And then she made fun of herself a bit, with how she had an album or two (hello, Dilate!) where she was going through really rough times, and had no song under 7 minutes. She was filled with energy and enthusiasm on Friday, and manages to be so completely real, it is always inspiring. Hey not all our heroes have to be full of themselves, go figure!

I have mixed feelings about her new songs, but maybe I’m just not used to such a cheerful Ani. I’m used to (and comfortable with) the pathos that she does so well! Yet it is nice to see her happy, hear her happy, and maybe she’s finding her rhythm with that as well, trying to figure out how to translate the happiness into guitar chords that take us along for the ride. Actually, one of them did just that. It was funny and real and happy without sounding impossibly romantic and idyllic. Maybe it is me, but I thought she was perhaps a little self-conscious about the others. Maybe she’s afraid that so many of her fans, just like me, aren’t going to be sure what to think of an insanely happy Ani!

Overall she was completely “on”. She played gravel, 32 flavors, and I think one other for the encore. Those were really fun. Everyone was extremely excited (who doesn’t love to hear gravel?), and pretty much sang along for them, which is always adds this intensely intimate feeling to a concert that already felt pretty intimate. I can’t sing worth beans, so I just listen and enjoy the sound of a thousand singers backing up Ani.

I think it was my favorite concert of the ones I’ve been to. A possible exception of the very first one, which was held in a venue with a similar feel, and for which I was in the second row. I only had a couple of her early albums at that point, and she’d just come out with Little Plastic Castles, so the vast number of songs she sang were completely new to me. I was enthralled, but that was about 10 years ago, so I can’t remember well enough to compare to Friday night. Still no “Not a Pretty Girl”, but it is hard to be upset about that when I loved both of these recent concerts so much!

I can’t think of much else to say about the concert. It is possible I’d remember more details if asked, but no guarantees.

pig with pumpkin at ps

Who knew pigs like pumpkins so much?

Three things for Friday:

  1. Ani, Ani, Ani
  2. Dinner at Chinatown Garden
  3. Mark and Patty while waiting in line outside for that cold hour or hour and a half.

Three things for Saturday:

  1. Vegan pie (keylime AND coconut creme AND pumpkin cheesecake, and yes I had some of each)
  2. Holding Clementine, one of the sweetest hens at the sanctuary, and being able to show a young (unmutant and parentally supervized) girl how to hold her.
  3. Falling asleep gratifyingly quickly.
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