I know my efforts to write about last night's Babes with Axes shows are inadequate. But, sigh, here goes. Suffice it to say, it was one of the best nights of my life:
1. It was Standing Room Only at the W.O.W. Hall tonight for the Babes with Axes reunion concert. The audience thundered their excitement and gratitude. The joy in the room was almost physical it was so thick. The band gave a show that lasted over three hours, filled with songs the audience knew by heart and peppered with a few new songs performed for the first time tonight. Love filled the hall. It was one of the best nights of my life.
2. I'm at a loss to accurately describe a Babes with Axes show. Their music follows no predictable pattern. There is no such thing as a typical Babes with Axes song. Not one of their songs was written for the band. All of the songs were written by each band member, except for the three covers they performed, as a "singer songwriter" piece and the band creates harmonies and instrumental arrangements for each song, elevating them far above what any of the band members ever did with the songs in solo performance. Their set list includes existential songs about relationships and love, absurd dada and surreal pieces, tender and touching songs, ones that are sad and regretful, others that are joyous and uplifting, songs that are satirical, funny, and biting, others that are political and angry, and songs that are long epic narratives. Tonight's show was what all of their shows have been: performance art, but not pretentious performance art. It's performance art dedicated to the members' love for each other, to mirth, to touching deep thought and feelings in us who watch and listen, and to the mutual love that builds between the band and their audience. It was one of the best nights of my life.
3. Knowing they may never perform together again, the Babes with Axes sang, as their final encore song, "Slip Slidin' Away" and, as the song ended, they slid through the audience on the west side of the hall, the entire audience singing along, and slipped into the green room. The audience was elated, grateful, and wrung out. Faces ached from smiling. The band greeted people as they headed out the door of the hall. I hung back, absorbing the way the Deke had just been a part of three hours of performance, making a crowd of people happy and grateful, lifting their spirits, kindling all kinds of memories and creating elation. It was one of the best nights of my life.