Buy. This. CD.
See. This. Man. In. Person.
If you do only one thing, go to the website. Songs from Under the Skin will begin streaming.
Click until you find “Cast Away Dreams” (PS: it works in Safari, not Firefox for some reason. Not sure about IE; I disavow any knowledge of Microsoft anything.)
Sometimes you need to be able to let a dream go before you can move onto the next level of your life.
If you have ever faced the need to do that, the song will resonate.
I just returned from the Lindsey Buckingham concert at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco; the best two hours I’ve spent in a long, long time.
An artist thinks outside the box.
Lindsey Buckingham doesn’t even acknowledge a box.
I have unfettered access to the most beautiful city in the world.
I had forgotten how much I loved San Francisco until I was flying “halfway to the stars” over the hills to the concert. When I left the concert I had no clue on how to find my way to the freeway and home.
“Who cares!!!” I yelled to the Marina. “We built this city on rock and roll and tonight you’re all mine!”
Okay. Occasionally I talk to myself.
It was a cool, clear, fogless night and I was alone in the City…ahhhh. I could have driven all night taking in the sights and sounds.
What an unexpected gift! Rock and roll cranked as high as my not-yet hearing impaired self could handle, windows down, I think I actually had “lift off” on some of those hills. I probably should have gotten a ticket, but I’m sure SFPD had bigger fish to fry than myself.
San Francisco. Loony, liberal, off-the-wall. It’s everything I’m not.
(Okay, I’ll admit to off-the-wall…)
So why am I so comfortable there?
Trust me people. You have not lived until you have crossed the Bay Bridge or turned the corner on US 101 and seen the skyline of San Francisco at night.
Tony Bennett isn’t the only one who left his heart in the City.
I think part of my right ventricle found a home on Van Ness.
There is a rhythm to be found in the emergency department.
You feel it when you walk in the door.
Initially, it resembles an orchestra anticpating of the arrival of the Concertmaster; the cacophony of tuning replaced by one tone that turns individual musicians into a symphonic cohesiveness.
In this case the symphony is the ED staff, under the direction of the emergency physician. The charge nurse is the Concertmaster.
Some shifts can rival a Beethoven concerto in their rhythm and harmony.
Others resemble a night with the Grateful Dead; the structure is there, but buried somewhere under extended sets with unremitting improvisation.
Occasionally your department channels the late John Cage. Instead of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of ambient sound, it’s eight hours, the “music” being whatever is tossed into the potential vaccum of your shift. Atonal. Unorganized. Disturbing.
There is a beauty at both ends of the spectrum.
Unlike a symphony, the emergency department embraces many guest musicians during each performance.
Some will be delicate flute-like children accompanied by strident trumpet-blaring parents. Others are like haunting oboes, bringing with them a forboding of doom.
Then the violins will enter. Some of them melodic and soothing, others with a screeching dissonance in their presentation.
Some will bring with them the coolness of a jazz piano. Others will resemble french horns; monotonic, but consistent – unable to be suppressed or ignored.
Many will present as high-pitched obstructed harmonicas, working with all their might to make a sound. Any sound. Some will not breathe at all, providing an inadvertent and unwanted “rest” to the score, signalling the entire orchestra to mobilize.
While the world plays in 4/4 time, the emergency symphony will accomodate those whose hearts beat in 32/4 time. Or provide choral support for those who can barely manage 1/4 time.
And stand in awe of those whose movement in the symphony of life has simply ended.
Underneath it all: the steadying presence of the percussion section.
The unrelenting base drum of the unit coordinator, keeping the ED in rhythm. Rarely seen by the visiting musicians; earning the eternal gratitude of the “regular” performers and working tirelessly with the Conductor to ensure a seamless progression from one refrain to another.
The flowing sound of the bass guitar in registration. Changing chords as they encounter each new musician and working in tandem with the drumming of the unit coordinator, they provide a solid riff for the rest of the “regular” musicians to work off of.
Transient percussionists will make their way through the ED in any given performance.
The clash of the Cymbals of Administration, causing a brief ripple in the motif.
The stand-by tambourines of security; acoustically invisible but available on a moment’s notice.
The triangle and maracas of dietary, radiology, lab and volunteers who add their small but invaluable beat to the ongoing movement of the night.
No performance of the emergency department is ever the same.
Oh, the regular musicians are always there.
It’s the visiting musicians who steer the tone of the piece to it’s final destination and provide the highlights (or lowlights) of the evening.
They keep the regular musicians on their toes as they work to assimilate each new addition into the rhythmic flow of the selection.
In reality, each shift in an emergency department is a work in progress.
Until the last musician has left the stage, you really don’t know what you’ve heard until it’s over.