Last night was a night I've been looking forward to ever since I was at a laundromat/web café in Valencia, buying my tickets under the impatient gaze of blinking ticker noting my rapidly decreasing surfing time. Yes - last night was the Josh Ritter/Boston Pops show.
I wasn't able to find a home for the second ticket I had, but saw some Wheaties I knew at the show and chatted with them before and after. And seeing as how I would have dropped twice as much for the seat I had, I'm trying not to look at it as a waste. My seat was fantastic - on the floor, only two rows behind the big dogs who dropped $80 on their seats. And the concert was phenomenal. This is the third time I've seen Josh and the guys perform since last October (what can I say - they keep playing shows here and I keep showing up), and this was definitely the grandest performance.
He opened with a haunting and intimate version of "Idaho" (appropriate for a haunting and intimate song), followed by what might be my favorite, "Best for the Best." Upon hearing the first opening chords, my eyes welled up with tears and I cursed myself for wearing mascara. Beautiful renditions of already near-perfect songs. The rest was a bit of a fantastic blur, but they played (among other songs) "Temptation of Adam," "Girl in the War," "Thin Blue Flame," Right Moves," and "Rumors" - where everyone promptly (and appropriately) exploded at the line my orchestra is gigantic - this thing could sink the Titanic. They also performed "Wildfires," one of the most simple and powerful songs off of The Historical Conquests, and one of my favorite JR songs to date. Such a thrill to see that done live.
Late in the show, Robert Pinsky did a reading, and even though I work in the same building as the man, it was the first time I'd ever seen him. He certainly added his own enjoyable dramatic flair to the show.
And while the Pops looked like they had a little too much starch in their shirts, it was obvious the guys were having a blast, and nothing's better than a bunch of joyful and skilled performers. While closing with "Empty Hearts," a song with a very singable chorus, Josh said, "if you ever wanted to sing at Symphony Hall, now's your chance." And yeah - I sang along - that is to say, I threw my hair back and I sang along (name that song!) You could tell the audience was comprised almost entirely of people who were familiar with the music, and the enthusiasm was palpable. It was an amazing monster of a show and I spent the train ride home with a smile on my face. Always a joy, that Josh Ritter. Always a joy.