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"No one's striving to be Miles Davis. Everybody's striving to get paid. And, you know, I wanna be like Miles Davis."
~Meshell Ndegeocello

order dance of the infidel

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i am: 40...a capricorn / moon in pisces / libra rising...an old soul with a young spirit...older than i look...contemplating my 3rd tattoo...NOT a web designer...a lesbian...working things out with the g.f....a native iowan...a graduate of cornell college and ohio state...a critical reader and thinker...really rather shy...agnostic...an ardent feminist...a bleeding-heart liberal...a pacifist...and so not your average white grrl...

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an esoteric soul
April 15, 2005  
notes from london & amsterdam, part I
it's already a week later, and i'm still on a high from the london & amsterdam concerts featuring
meshell ndegeocello and the spirit music jamia. i would imagine my traveling companion deshigrrrl is, as well. *grin*

we were at the jazz cafe in london for the show on friday, april 8. incredible. the place was packed with a sold-out crowd. shortly after 9 pm, with no opening act (which i've come to really appreciate), meshell and smj--chris dave on drums, michael cain on piano/keys, ron blake on tenor & baritone sax, dahu mumagi on soprano & tenor sax, and dj jahi sundance (son of oliver lake & brother of gene)--came onstage and started in on a mix of songs from dance of the infidel and others i hadn't heard before. true to form, meshell has once again assembled a group of exceptional musicians, each a true artist in his own right.

chris dave busted a drum during one of the first few songs...it was the first time i'd seen him, and he was fantastic. ron blake on sax was so much fun to watch...the look on his face following his off-the-hook solos was priceless. and of course, meshell. she was smiling and laughing on stage in a way i'd not seen during the 10 previous performances i'd witnessed over the last 10+ years....so great to see her having fun (or at least appearing to). i hadn't seen her live in a couple of years, and i think she just gets better and better on bass all the time. i was blown away.

but alas....we had no idea what would be in store for us in amsterdam the following night. first,
the paradiso is a fabulous venue. large dance floor in front of a raised stage, 2 additional floors of balcony space, beautifully back-lit stained-glass windows behind the stage. the (again) sold-out crowd was large and very engaged, even more so than the previous night's crowd in london had been. smj came onstage shortly after 9, again playing a mix of songs from the new album and songs i either hadn't heard before, or had only just heard in london.

perhaps it was the fact that it was the last show on this leg of the tour (tho smj is headed back to europe, including the netherlands, later this spring). perhaps it was the ability--on the part of the band and/or the crowd--to smoke freely. perhaps the planets were aligned just right. but something was different in amsterdam. the show was magical. mystical. absolutely phenomenal. each member of the band seemed to have taken his/her musicianship to a different level...transcending the confines of this earth. i didn't want it to end, ever.

meshell was, again, smiling and laughing onstage...she appears to revel in no longer being the "frontman," the star. and on the bass?? she was in a total zone, and she took me right along with her. she played a particular bass line in one song (which is not on dance of the infidel) that i still have in my head, crystal clear, a week later (and i'm no musician, so this is not something i do on the regular).

as you may know, this was my first trip abroad, planned (by deshigrrrl and me) around these 2 shows. there were times when i threw back my head and laughed out loud...i was just so happy to be there, and almost incredulous that i was. then, there were other times when the music nearly brought me to tears. this range of emotion wasn't unfamiliar...meshell's music has had that effect on me since i first heard it in '93. but the atmosphere(s) added another dimension to the shows, and to the trip, that i wouldn't trade for anything.

this was an experience that i will hold in my head and in my heart, forever.
2:40 PM

Sounds like a wonderful experience. I'm so happy for you that you got to have it.

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