Radio turns to gold

The rhythmic thudding of the bass is mesmerizing. It vibrates through my whole body, but I feel it most clearly in my breastbone, as though there were a second, more powerful heart beating in my chest.

I’m standing directly in front of the stage, pressed against the metal railing, shielded from the crowd behind me by kind friends. Occasionally the crowd surges and breaks over us, and the security people pull a crowd-surfer over our heads and send them on a long walk to the festival’s entrance. But right now I don’t care about that, I’m not even looking at the security guys to watch for a warning in their faces. I’m trusting to luck. My eyes are closed, and it’s just me and the bass. The music and the crowd blend together in my ears. I achieve the calm trance that sometimes comes to me when I’m swimming laps, or when I’m playing a piano piece I know too well to hear.

I never really believe I’m at a concert until I can feel the ground shaking beneath my feet, until my body is vibrating with the music and that second heart is beating time. It has something to do, I think, with the way that I experience music. Walking by a store blaring a CD, my stride unconsciously settles into the rhythm of the song that’s playing. Listening to my iPod and waiting for a Metro  train, I can’t keep myself from giving the rhythm some outlet, tapping my fingers or wiggling a foot. I never think about moving to the music, but concerts take things a step farther—I couldn’t prevent my bones from vibrating if I wanted to. The music will move me whether I want it to or not.

(I’d recommend the band, Carbon Leaf, particularly their album ‘Indian Summer’ and not really so much anything they’ve done since then. The set they did at Shamrock Fest was perfect, being composed almost entirely of songs off of their first two albums.)

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