In those days I was not the big music lover I am now. I listened largely to oldies, with occasional forays into Top-40 radio. It just wasn't that important to me.
Then one night, when I was a freshman in high school, I was at a cast party, after one of our plays. The host was a really cool senior, that everyone looked up to. He put in an album that he wanted everyone to hear, because he was real excited about the band. As it played I realized that I knew all of the songs on the CD. Turns out I had been listening when my uncle played his music. I had a great conversation about the music with the host, and later told my uncle all about it. The next Christmas I got that album from my uncle. One of the seminal gifts of my life.
The album? Flood, by They Might Be Giants.
This was the album that really began my love of listening to music. I stayed up late every night of that Christmas break listening to that CD over and over. I loved it then and I loved it now. My music listening has expanded tremendously, but to this day I consider Flood to be the greatest album of all time. The songs are fun, the music is tight, the sound is balanced, the instrumentation is flawless, and "Birdhouse in Your Soul" is one of the most perfect songs ever crafted.
Fast forward to last Friday night. I've got half a dozen TMBG albums, a bunch more mp3's, have passed their music on to a sizable handful of other people, and watched a documentary about the band. But I've never been to one of their concerts. The day after Thanksgiving, they had a concert here in D.C. They played two sets. The second set was terrific - at least one song from all of their albums, great humor, excellent variety, crowd participation, even the lighting was well-done - and they played two awesome encores. Heck, they even played a much-loved song ("Why Does The Sun Shine?")(Answer: The sun is a mass of incandescent gas) and a follow-up tune that reflects the more current scientific understanding ("Why Does The Sun Really Shine?")(Answer: The sun is a miasma of incandescent plasma").
But the first set; Unbelievable. Their first set was greater than words can express. Simply outstanding. They played Flood straight through, in its entirety.
I got to see my favorite band - the band that made me love listening to music - play the greatest album of all time. I can't think of much that would be better.
We're having a good time
Rock'n'rolling 'til the break of dawn