Ali ventured from corporate research to corporate advertising one morning:
Ali: I heard on the radio this morning that Jason Mraz is playing in Bangor. Do you want to go?
Me: Yes, let's do it. I have a 10:00.
Ali: See you at lunch.
A month later Ali and I are on the highway jetting past a magnificent amount of untouched trees, with a stash of Sisters Salsa, chips and a few old-school J-RAZ CD’s in the back seat.
Please note: Jason Mraz = J-RAZ .This was the nickname I insisted we call him after 20 minutes into the trip - so let’s just stick with that.
Rich green pine needles border a stark blue sky. I’m wondering why I don’t spend more time in a place that has so much beauty and is in such close proximity to home. Ali is coolly singing to the music and enjoying the two-day vacation that arrives every Friday.
Our actions are methodical: Trek 2.5 hours north, drive past our exit, reverse our direction, navigate to the hotel, check-in at the front desk, find our room, put our salsa on ice because there isn’t a mini fridge, giggle continuously at the fact that we can see the enormous Paul Bunyan statue from our window and mosey to the concert to find our seats.
- I really don’t know anything about Jason Mraz before I find myself standing in the middle of a field in Bangor waiting for the show to begin.
- That’s a lie. I know he likes hats because there’s a sea of the accessory and they all seem to be perched ever so slightly - covering the faces of the fans wearing them.
Patiently waiting for the music to begin, Ali tells me he’s a vegan and that I should download the album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. because... “You would like it. The lyrics are great.” Then I remember that my sister Jodie, who is a Berklee School of Music grad and dissects a tune the moment she hears it, did have a slightly bitter tone when I told her I was going to the concert.
It all started to add up: Ali enjoys the sweet sultry lyrics, Jodie approves of the riffs, I generally like most vegan people, and there are chips and salsa awaiting our return– this might turn out to be fabulous evening.
And it was.
He was fun and energizing, and although I didn’t really know any of the lyrics at that point, the live music turned out to be just as good as the recorded version I downloaded to my iPhone the next day (while finishing up a few projects at the office).
The truth is his music is a burst of positivity in world where positivity rarely gets promoted. And during the show the audience seemed comfortable, appreciating the music and the relaxed environment. Because while J-RAZ was up front crooning a crowd and flashing “FREEDOM” on recycled bottles behind him, Ali and I spent the concert in the back being our own biggest fans - laughing and dancing through the crisp Maine air.
The next morning when we departed the hotel, said "adios" to Mr. Bunyan and set forth south-bound to Portland, we both agreed the artist and the album deserve an A+.
Moral of the story: Check out J-Raz if you haven’t AND don’t assume that your hotel room will contain a mini fridge.
|The salsa…on ice.|