Yesterday I had one of those most-of-the-day kind of dates. Obviously you only do those kinds of dates with someone you've at least gotten to know a bit, in case they turn out to be crazy or something. So I've been out with this very sweet woman, Diana, several times, and she had a few suggestions. Her aunt and cousin were in town, so they were there too.
First we spent a few hours at the Irish Cultural Festival out at the fairgrounds. This immediately made me think of one of my former volleyball kids (second favorite) because she was into all things Irish, and visited Ireland at least once a year. More on that in a minute. Diana is actually Italian, but being a redhead, I suppose she can pretty easily fake it.
Naturally they have all kinds of Irish stuff to buy, food, and lots and lots of music. There were at least five stages that I counted, and it appeared most of them were entertaining continuously. The first one we spent time really watching was pretty good. Lots of guys with guitars, a young lass who could tear up a violin, and a guy on bag pipes who pretty much blew my mind. They played a lot of what sounded traditional to me, but also did some very rock-n-roll style stuff (think Ashley MacIsaac, circa 1995) that I thought was pretty cool.
We also saw a band that was kind of a cross between Barenaked Ladies (with an actual lady) and that couple who did wedding singing on SNL (Will Farrel and someone else). They were pretty entertaining though.
I realized while watching these bands that I really can't get enough live music, and I don't understand why I don't endeavor to see more of it. Recorded music causes me to feel a great deal of emotion, but when it's performed live that's multiplied by ten. Sure, it makes a difference when it's something I know, but even when it's not, I really love it.
It was at that point, seeing the second band, that I ran into Katie and her mom. I haven't seen either one since I was coaching at The Elms, almost two years ago. Katie has really grown up. Her mom quit coaching basketball for much the same reasons I wanted no part of coaching volleyball. I swear the parents at that school are the equivalent of small-town assholes. Anyway, I miss them. They both contributed quite a bit to my sanity when I was coaching.
Diana's brother and his kids were also there, and after a few hours we went back to her house for pizza before the part two, of our day, seeing the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom, conducted by Howard Shore, the guy who wrote the music for the Lord of The Rings movies. They had a pretty huge chorus too.
I can't even count the number of times that I've been to Blossom. I've seen a great many shows there, including my first rock concert, and first date (Def Leppard, 1988, don't laugh!). That said, orchestra shows are so strangely different. Not only are people not searching your shit when you come in, but you can bring as much alcohol as you can carry. It was interesting to see people there with coolers and candles and such.
We brought chairs, but because of the slant on the lawn (we were about 200 feet up from the pavilion), it wasn't very comfortable, so Diana and I abandoned the chairs for the ground at the intermission. Good decision, because lying on our backs, taking in the music, the stars out in the middle of nowhere were pretty intense. It was a little cool and damp, but otherwise, it was a bit more romantic than any other date I've been on in a long time.
The music was pretty amazing. I don't remember there being so many chorus parts in the movie, but I guess that shows how good it all was, that it was so seamless with the overall movie experience. Well done, indeed. A crying baby or two aside, it was a pretty amazing environment to take in a concert like that.
So that was my day. Definitely ranks up there as one of the better I've had in a very long time. I'm crossing my fingers on this one, so let's hope I don't screw it up! :)