Moissac, France – 2015

Moissac, France — 2015

We played in the court yard of an 11th century Abbey—all stone work with arches and pillars and alters where church services would happen after our sound check. I was in awe. You could almost hear the monks singing in this Cloister. Stone statues taking months to chisel and carve look outward and downward in protection of this sacred place. Oh what amazing things we accomplish when we direct our thinking and doing toward the highest principles. When we huddled up before hitting the stage, Larry gave a very appropriate thanks and invocation. Amen all around.

This was our first night on the European tour and so a screaming audience send off with five encores would have been super fantastic for getting everybody’s energies all charged up. Well this was our first time in Moissac with a new audience of listeners gathered in a church courtyard with statues of saints looking on. So their response, while quite welcoming, seemed a little shy and tentative. But by the end of the evening some very energetic people from the sides and way back came rushing down front and really danced and had fun. And soooooo, almost without missing a beat, Joe Turano walked back out and, with me, starts the chords of the last eight bars of the Gershwin’s’ “Summertime”. Only John Hendricks and I do this portion of the song. In fact I use his lyric, which is as sensitive and poignant as anything in the Broadway musical. “Life should be like summertime”.

Real quickly here, the Gershwin’s were Russian immigrants who were so able to empathize with the black experience during the 1900s marginalized in ghettos, many still working in fields. They captured it so well that it still makes lots of sensitive black folks in America really uncomfortable. Somehow we managed to offer up a lot of that same meaning and even the dancers down front paused for a minute. A little moody, slow funk backbeat helps all of this.

Everyone felt the change of mood in the Cloister and so we gave them some fire-y “Spain”. We all felt really good about saying goodnight at that point. As we walked from the courtyard there were lots of shouting well-wishers reaching out to shake hands and thank us.

We then got on the bus and headed for Bordeaux…like the red wine. Yum! See ya tomorrow.



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