Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Respect Yourself

Miss Vicki and I went to see Mavis Staples on Friday night.  The whole thing was completely glorious.

There is free street parking after 5pm in downtown Tucson, a fact the street person resting under the bank awning noted as I examined the parking meter.  He complimented Miss Vicki's new Subaru, agreed that Tucson is very visitor friendly, and then asked if we could help a brother in need.
Having spent the afternoon testifying in Amster's custody suit, I felt the need to right the karma in the world.  The ten dollar bill on top of my wad of money went from my purse to his hand, both of us agreeing that it was his lucky day.  In a world where grown ups lie under oath, a random good deed helped to straighten my outlook.

Miss Vicki was worried that we'd forget where we left the car, but the library building, one block south of our parking space, was an excellent landmark.  Leaving her tenderly cared for vehicle on the street, we walked to 47 Scott for dinner.  I love restaurants which use their address as their name; it makes finding them very simple.  We shared bread and oil, soup and kale salad and peppers stuffed with black beans, and just managed to get in under the two minute warning for happy hour.  Cocktails taste much better at half price.
The stroll to The Fox Theater was a busy one; everyone downtown was headed our way.  Sharing a loveseat in the loge, we discussed the advantages of sitting in the second row versus the first.  Below us, the front row people could rest their feet and their drinks on the ledge ... until the usher asked them to remove their cups so they didn't fall down on the people on the first floor.  They also had to deal with the light fixtures blocking their view of the stage.  We, one row above them, were quite comfy.
The opening act was performing for the second time in their careers; we're not looking for their third outing.  The lead singer had been a member of Silver Threads, a trio of beautiful voices and odd instruments.  Her new group is still finding its way.  They couldn't get off the stage fast enough for our liking.
An hour after the show began, the lights dimmed and guitarist Rick Holmstrom led the band onstage.  I would have paid to see him perform a solo gig; his guitar was magical.  Sister Yvonne joined two back up singers, a bassist and a drummer, but Miss Mavis was front and center and definitely in charge.
There were covers of Buffalo Springfield and Funkadelic and Lauryn Hill tunes.  Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and The Weight now have new "best ever" versions in my head.  We clapped along with Freedom Highway as Miss Mavis reminded us that she and her Pops had marched from Selma with Dr. King, that she was a warrior and was still a warrior.... and the audience roared its approval.

She turned 75 on July 10th. She needed help walking on and off the stage.  Once she took the microphone off the stand and shook her shoulders into place, she needed nothing at all.  Her voice was loud and strong and delicate and powerful and she articulated every lyric.  It was a bravura performance, capped off with the entire audience singing along with I'll Take You There.
She certainly did.

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