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Lent, Day 20

Yesterday I was very happy because I was going to a concert that evening. I went, and had a fantastic time.

I took S., because I didn't want to go all alone to a venue I'd never been to, in a neighborhood I didn't know. As it turned out, the street was quiet and well-lit, and there was even a parking lot. The fact that it appeared half empty and there was no sound but street noise made me worry I'd come the wrong night.

The venue appeared to be an old church. We followed signs that said "main entrance", tried one door that turned out to be locked, and finally pulled open the only remaining portal, a heavy metal back door with series of numbers spray-painted on it, and found ourselves inside.

Inside was a narrow hallway, old white-painted wood, the underside of a staircase, and a shaggy blond guy checking id. The concert was being held upstairs; downstairs, I later learned, was pool-playing and smoking. (Since Kentucky is a tobacco state, smoking in bars is still allowed.) Climbing the steep, winding steps, I locked eyes with a man in a blue jacket and baseball cap at the top of the stairs, who gave me a sudden surprised, pleased smile. I smiled back and then looked away (shyness). I realized later that this was the man we'd come to see, Dan Bern.

(The ardent fan in me would like to hope that his smile had something to do with my pretty face, but it probably had to do with the fact that, besides us, there were maybe six people there who weren't staff. Eventually there were about a dozen, but -- perhaps because it was a snowy Tuesday -- it wasn't that much of a turnout.)

I liked the venue, though. I have a Thing for ruined glamour, and this place, with its dull walls and scuffed floor and unstable-looking stage, arched windows and folding chairs, with remnants of gilt still on the arched rafters and an indistinct mural on the nave, reminded me of England and youth and love among the ruins. Sometimes I think the youth I remember isn't actually mine.

The concert itself was excellent. He didn't play any of my favorites, but he played some that I bought this morning that are now among my favorites. And he was very funny. He actually improvised songs, whole sets of lyrics, based on things people shouted out. He didn't say he was and I'd never heard that he did so, but some of the things he sang were too location-specific to be prepared, and at one point in one song he ground to a halt and sang "It was evening/The cows were lowing/And I don't know where this song/Is going."

He played for nearly two hours, including some curtain calls. I was very impressed. And a little in love, but I already was, just from the music.

(If you're wondering, I invited the Whovian before I asked S., but he said he couldn't stay out that late that night because he was administering the ACT to students the next day.)