Dec 18 2008
I used to baby sit for friends of the family. I used to look forward to it for a couple of reasons. They had Sky television, which was an exciting and new thing to me then. They also had a fantastic music collection. Sitting in their large and beautiful living room after the kids had gone to bed, I discovered a love of so many artists that I had not been nor would not otherwise be exposed to.
I remember finding an album with a curious cover. Dark and brown, with picture of a person on the front that I was unsure if it was a man or woman. The CD case (CDs were fairly new to me then too) had a woman’s name on it, and I had just discovered one of the greatest albums I’ve ever known. Tracy Chapman’s debut was full of rousing ballads and haunting stories. I listened to that album over and over again. I knew every word and loved every note.
Last week, as I sat in the Olympia Theatre watching her perform solo on stage, the nostalgia overcame me. She opened with one of my all time favourite songs, Behind the Wall. This was a song that instantly filled me with both sadness and joy. Sadness for the story and subject matter, but a joy to be catapulted back to that living room, discovering Tracy Chapman all over again.
The gig was nothing short of beautiful. She played all the old favourites and did not disappoint a single fan. Chatty and charming, seemingly overjoyed to be playing for us, seeing Chapman was a treat. It was an experience I enjoyed far more than I expected, and as I left the Olympia, I felt moved by the night.