This might go a little all over the place, but bear with me. I think there’s a point here.
Over the past week there’s been a lot of 9/11 talk on the TV, on the internet, and everywhere. And of course there would be. It was a terrible day that happened (somehow) 20 years ago.
I try not to think about it. At all. I don’t watch the documentaries, I don’t read the books and I don’t sit around telling or listening to “Where were you when…” stories about that day because of the obvious reasons. But given it’s omnipresence recently, my kids – 13 and 11 – asked me because apparently they haven’t learned about it in school. Or, it’s just one of those things that kids do.
So, I told them what happened. My caveat to this is that I was nowhere near New York City. I was a 22 year old college student, living in a tiny (TINY) third floor apartment in St. Johnsbury, VT, with 2 cats and an ex-wife before she was a wife, and in the immediate aftermath, the only thing I really wanted was for everything to go back to how it was before that morning. I was a kid. I mean, shit, I was just at the moe.down like 10 days before hand, very carefree, no actual issues. But it clearly, literally everything had changed.
After this conversation with the kids, I started to reflect and the one thing that I think has continued to increase in importance in my mind is that there was a united front to not allow this horrible incident to mess with our everyday lives. So, to that end, me and 80s jumped in his Jeep and went with 2,700-ish other people to the Orpheum Theater in Boston for two nights of shows that all of us desperately needed, whether we knew it or not.
Prior to these shows I’ve taken the T a million times (and a million times since). I’d never been so nervous on the train as I was that day (this includes the Marathon Bombing Day, in which I was also taking mass transportation). But we got off at Park, walked down the little alley to the hidden façade, and hesitantly entered the hottest building in all of New England.
I remember almost nothing about the music from these shows, other than it was a comfort to be surrounded by sound. The first night we got in a little late and missed most of Ekoostik Hookah, but there was a feeling of true comradery in the building, which is wholly abnormal for any gathering of people inside the city of Boston. There was a moment of silence, we all flooded out to the alley at the first intermission for a candle lighting ceremony, then we all scurried back in. The second night the same sense of calm was there. Jazz Mandolin Project opened, and moe. guided us again through the night.
The most important part of this is that everyone was alright. There was no tension in the air, people weren’t being dicks waiting in the beer or bathroom lines, there was a lot of hugging and high fives, moe. saved Boston (for at least 2 nights anyway), and I hold these two shows in a special place in my heart and mind.
I listened to these shows over the weekend for the first time in a long, long time. Take a listen. The sources here are just one of many, but I chose them because the legendary George Johnson patched out of this rig both nights and I have clones of these DATs since I chose to not bring my equipment to these shows.
9/14/01 – Orpheum Theater – Boston, MA
Set 1: Captain America > Recreational Chemistry > Happy Hour Hero > Seat Of My Pants > Sensory Deprivation Bank
Set 2: St. Augustine, Four, The Faker > Interstellar Overdrive > Meat
Encore: New York City
9/15/01 – Orpheum Theater – Boston, MA
Set 1: Hi and Lo > Kids, Cajun Moon, Jazz Wank * > Buster * > Spine Of A Dog *
Set 2: Jam > Head > Timmy Tucker > Low Rider Jam > Brent Black > Head
Encore: Blister In The Sun
*-w/Jamie Masefield of the Jazz Mandolin Project on Mandolin