Friday, January 30, 2009

Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night

Husband and I had the good fortune to catch "Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night" last night on MPBN, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network which we are very privileged to get as part of our cable package. (It makes us feel very close to our nearest American neighbours, who are similarly transfixed with moose, and snow, and fishing, and artisans making things out of wood and metal the way they made things out of wood and metal 300 years ago when this was a Strong Man and Woman's Country, goddammit!)

Anyway, we ended up staying up far too late for a work night, but please, please, if you have a chance to see this performance, take it. If you're an Orbison fan, hunt it down and bring it, kicking and screaming if necessary, home. Orbison's performance is so pitch-perfect your jaw will drop (the special was recorded but a year before he died), and you will be continually reminded of how absolutely wrenching and beautiful and painful and comforting his songs are. "Listening to his songs is like having him rip your heart out and show it to you," I said. And I mean it in a good way.

Something I hadn't known until today was the amount of tragedy Orbison had in his personal life. His first wife died in a motorcycle accident. A short time later, his family home burned down while he was on tour in the UK, and two of their three children perished.

A friend once told me she could never look at the Van Gogh painting "Wheatfield with Crows" the same way again after knowing that it was the last painting Vincent Van Gogh finished before he commited suicide.

I can't listen to "In Dreams" the same way ever again after knowing that Orbison, very young, lost a life partner and two children.

A candy-colored clown they call the sandman
tiptoes to my room every night
just to sprinkle stardust and to whisper,
"Go to sleep. Everything is all right".

I close my eyes, then I drift away
into the magic night. I softly say
a silent prayer, like dreamers do.
Then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you.

In dreams, I walk with you.
In dreams, I talk to you.
In dreams - you're mine.

All of the time we're together...
in dreams, in dreams.

But just before the dawn, I awake and find you gone.
I can't help it, I can't help it, if I cry.
I remember that you said goodbye.
It's too bad that all these things can only happen in my dreams
Only in dreams...
in beautiful dreams.

If you get the chance, see it. If you don't, buy it.

ronnie

4 Comments:

Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

You don't have to be as young as Orbison was to have that particular sandman visit you. If we live long enough, he visits every one of us, usually at about 3am.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Mog said...

I came to your blog because of the CI thing. I started reading this post with a sense of wonder and hope that with a CI I would be able to enjoy music again. I finished reading the post with tears in my eyes. A reminder that everything isn't always about Me, and that shit happens.

11:33 AM  
Blogger ronnie said...

Mog, the enjoyment of music is very different from implantee-to-implantee. It depends on so many things - length of deafness, success of the implant placement, model of implant chosen. It's also much better for me when listening to music directly plugged into my processor from a CD player or computer or MP3 player through a "direct-connect" cord available with my model of processor. I'd love to talk to you more about this if you'd like - you can email me at ronniecat at ronniecat dot com.

9:52 PM  
Blogger ronnie said...

Sherwood, I'm both young and lucky enough to have been largely protected from the painful experience of losing people I love.

But it's very comforting to know that when it does happen, there is another chance to be with them. If only briefly. In dreams.

10:00 PM  

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