Sunday, February 12, 2012


Mr. Betty and I received the most thoughtful gift from Darling Daughter for Christmas: a couple of tickets to something called "Forever Young" at the Narrows Center in Fall River.

I'm not sure DD had any idea what it was (all) about, but she dug the concept. As did we.

She also knew that Mr. B & I have been to The Narrows on a bunch of occasions and tend to enjoy it. What's not to enjoy? They offer a diverse schedule of live music that's affordable (relatively) in a very cool space where the acoustics are great and all seats are up, close & personal. The crowd is a little older — ahem, our age — so we're comfortable there. And, on top of all that, it's BYOB.

BYOF, too, if you want.

"F" is for food, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, "Forever Young" — which took place a few weeks ago — was OK. The voice most closely resembling that of Neil Young, which I hadn't anticipated but which makes perfect sense, was that of a woman. They did a fine rendition of "Old Man, look at my life; I'm a lot like you were" which was a little hard to take on a conceptual level but nonetheless enjoyable. Somehow, though, perhaps because Forever Young is such a big group (so many guitars!), Mr. Betty and I lost sense of the individual talents and their contributions, which in turn lessened the impact.

Not so Friday night, as in the night before last, when we returned to The Narrows to see Pousette-Dart. There were just four guys, each of whom was terrific (to our amateur ears) and whose music stood apart in a big way while simultaneously contributing to the larger sound. A sound I remember so well from high school and college days. I remember it too well, it could be argued, in the sense that holding onto all those old lyrics in my head must diminish my capability to remember more recent (more important?) matters.

I was thinking about that — the whole forgetting/remembering thing — when they played "Amnesia." Funny how you think about the same stuff differently as time goes on.

Funny, too, how you notice stuff like a guitar player's bandaged wrist and resulting limited movement and think, "Ouch. That must hurt. But good for him for carrying on ..."

Meaningless aside: I always assumed The Narrows was so-called because it's a long, narrow space. Or because the historic mill building in which it's located is near a narrowish spot in the river beneath the highway near that battleship (the USS Massachusetts) that looms large, even from above. But then, Friday night, as we scrambled to make the show but were running late and looking for a parking space, I noticed a standard-issue yellow street sign just before the venue that said, "Traffic Narrows." Now I'm thinking that was the inspiration.

It doesn't take much.

On that note, I looked to my left at some point between numbers and said to the woman sitting beside me, "Excuse me, may I take a picture of your hand?"

She looked puzzled, just for a sec, before saying, "Sure. It's an old hand."

It's as if she'd read my mind ...