I've been to Madison Square Garden three times, I think. Once to see Prince, once to see Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus with Cashel, and one hilarious outing to see Barenaked Ladies.
Melody had moved to New York City and we'd started dating. Needless to say this was an intense time for both of us. I was new to juggling the demands of parenthood and divorce with a new love. She was new to big city life and the competing demands of finance and art. She landed a job at Shiseido, a Japanese cosmetics company. The perks included Melody walking around like she stepped out of an Estee Lauder ad. And every now and then free stuff came our way.
Like tickets to see Barenaked Ladies at Madison Square Garden. Now, look, in all seriousness, I never liked Barenaked Ladies all that much. The rap song with the line about chicken was cute and my sisters swear that their albums are great but I just could never summon up interest.
When I look back upon this particular night out, I wish I could give myself a swift caring kick in the ass.
Melody had to twist my arm to get me to go along, in spite of the fact that we had free tickets and Melody looked, as usual, like a photo shoot. My state of mind was so put-upon that I could barely look at this as anything but an imposition, as if the universe were taking up my time. I blush at this ingratitude now and even in looking back on it want to find the corners of joy that I was able to sense.
As is the case with most of the concerts I go to, my memories are blurry, one memory I'm unable to separate into distinct moments. I can see Barenaked Ladies spangled purple matching shirts, something they dared each other to do. I remember thinking that they weren't half-bad, that their sound actually deserved the size of the arena. I also remember thinking there was no way I would last the whole show.
There was a couple sitting almost directly next to us that developed a fascination with Melody. They seemed to be almost arguing about whether or not Melody had been augmented surgically. Needless to say this caused a bit of hilarity to ensue between Melody and I and almost extended my patience towards the Canadian band that was giving their all down there on the MSG stage.
Alas, I insisted that we leave after the chicken song, you know the one I mean. I think we went right home. In an alternate world, the world in which I wasn't overwhelmed by so many aspects of my life, we stayed through both encores and Melody flashed the band to give that curious couple a glimpse of the real things.