Sunday, June 22, 2008

Best Pool Party Ever: Gogol Bordello at McCarren Pool, June 20, 2008

Every time I think the thrill is gone, something happens, mid-concert. What that something is, is hard to describe. All I know is that the minute I give up on the idea of being transported, my feet start to lift and my body remembers one of the things it is meant for: to be crowded amongst other bodies--one body, one fist in the air--not woman anymore, not "Laura," just rush and shock of energy and worship and that old Greek moment of creative force manifest in performer, god in the accordion, god on the drums, god in the Ukrainian's mustache, god in the people next to me, us screaming in each others' god-like faces.

Come to the front of a stage at the edge of a giant drained out swimming pool in a residential neighborhood in Brooklyn and you won't find a congregation more ecstatically present. The next thing you know it's 2 in the morning and you're massaging Charlie horses out of your calves (from all the god in the jumping) knowing you won't need to sleep again for at least 80 years.

[you can't see the band at all in the clip below, and the sound is pretty fuzzy, but you'll get an idea of the ecstatic nature of the crowd--which really starts about 35 seconds in. It was at this point in the show when the drained pool we were all in became more than a pool....]

I stayed front and center for the whole show, one hand on the rail at all costs, and two fine protectors who had my back: Tama (Samoan) and Vesko (Bulgarian)--hunky bare-chested pals clad in silky purple scarves.

Best encore of "Baro Foro" I've ever seen (and this was show number 6 for me), co-starring Manhattan Samba--a 40-person-strong marching band with drums, bells, whistles--and one of Gogol Bordello's most satisfying and raucous fake endings yet: lights off, a pause that lasted forever, then BOOM, lights UP, Sergei at the front with his violin, bow paused above the strings, a quick raise of the eyebrows followed by one strong loud stroke, and off they go ... for ... how long was it? Ten more minutes? Hours? Days?

They played "Immigrant Punk" which I haven't heard live since my first show two years ago!

My friend J. put it perfectly later that night as I walked her to the G train. It was her first GB show ever (and she held her own in the pit!); she said, as she walked next to me with a literal bounce in her step, "I just feel like after something like that: I can do anything. My life can be whatever I want it to be. Everything feels possible!"

After participating in the surge of humanity that is the pit at GB shows, that is their music, their commitment to their audience, their willingness to go full force full blast for as long as they are allowed, one can't help but feel that anything really is possible, that you are possible, that people are good, and the human body can endure hours of something it isn't physically prepared for because somehow it knows that it has a responsibility to the spirit...

[Video clip of "Not a Crime" filmed from the shallow end at the very beginning of the show (song #2). More crowd mania and more of the band....]

Woo hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

[the above pics, with the exception of the first and the pic of Pamela screaming because she never wants to be young again, were taken by great NYC music photographer, Jonny Leather--click here for his review of the show and here to go to his website for a lot more pics of other concerts]


Anonymous said...

Laura - That was my video of American Wedding. Took it from the edge of the pool while taking a break from the madness.

Thanks for the great concert review!!!


Jessica said...

Yeah!!! I have been holding on to and growing and embodying that feeling ever since. watch out, world! :)

Pamelekh Klezmer Orkester said...

Thanks for sharing. I almost feel like I was there. You nailed it with the "anything is possible feeling." --E/PKO