Image courtesy of Robotclaw666. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.
On weeknights, I’m normally in bed by 11pm. This past Wednesday, at 11pm I was in Athens, GA, watching Tinariwen play at the Georgia Theatre. It was an unusually exciting Wednesday.
Athens, mind you, is an hour and a half away (at best) from where I live. This was an objectively idiotic activity choice for a Wednesday evening, particularly given that I had to be back at work at 9 the next morning (and my long-suffering parent had to be at his early-morning fitness boot camp at 5:30). The band wasn’t even scheduled to be on stage until 10:15. But two factors swayed me: 1) the tickets were free due to my excellently swank job, and 2) Tinariwen is made up of Malian Tuareg rebels, and so I figured the likelihood of their coming back through Georgia might be small.
(Long-suffering parent introduced me to Tinariwen, so he wasn’t just there for moral support. Plus he also thought Athens was 45 minutes away, so, whoops.)
The show was excellent. Because the band members don’t seem to speak much English (the front man would occasionally lapse into asking the crowd, “Ça va?” before remembering it was the wrong language), there was no show banter. Instead, they just played for an hour. Two of the members swapped off singing lead, with one doing some excellent solo dancing when he wasn’t otherwise occupied.
I got to lean on the stage. It was excellent.
After an hour of music, the band took a short break before coming back for an encore. The encore was the absolute highlight of the show, because both the bassist and the drummer got solos (which they almost never do in the songs). The bassist and the drummer rocked. It was unreal.
Because they’d gone on stage early, the band managed to wrap up by 11:30 or so. That meant that my exhausted parent and I managed to arrive back at his house at 1:30, and I wound up back at mine by 2:00. It has been a long time since I staggered into bed, but that is certainly the correct word for what happened.
I was back at work by 8:45 on Thursday morning. Honestly, I was less exhausted than I was expecting. Youth covers for a variety of terrible life choices, it seems.
I swear to god, though, I am never driving back on highway 316 after dark again.