The Continuum

Oct 30 | Posted by: Andrea Zonn |
It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since I left my little East Nashville farmhouse. It seems I was just here.

I have no idea how many miles we traveled in this last month, how many laughs we had, how many notes we played and sang, how many poignant moments, both musically and personally, I experienced. Each moment so precious, as it always is with that bunch, the band, the crew, my hero, his gracious family.

My mind is full of fresh, fabulous memories

• The sold out crowd we played to last night in the rain, in Allentown, PA. They all showed up, a vision in slickers of every color, just faithful and enthusiastic, and soaked. How dear is that? Last time we played to a wet crowd, it was also in Pennsylvania, in Hershey. Just sitting there, soaking, basking in the music. Little smiles barely visible in the dim backlight from the stage lights. Staying.

• My still-sore ribs and knuckles from a clumsy, sleepy fall in a hotel lobby after too many hours on the bus. I remember not paying attention. I’ll never forget reading my horoscope after the fact, and wishing I had read it before. It should have started, “Dear Andrea...” As if I would have believed it.

• There was the beautiful barbeque James and Kim hosted on a day off in Massachusetts. Yo Yo Ma was in attendance. I was laughing as I confessed to Yo Yo that I cried when I realized I was to meet him and James on the same day, three years ago. It was just too much. My life is full of moments that are just too much. So blessed and so precious. And I seem to tear up more and more when I allow myself to just soak it up.

And yet, it seems that this last month must have somehow taken place concurrently with life in my little farmhouse in East Nashville. Right? Except that I missed the oppressive August heat. The humidity. Spared by a tour of the glorious mid-west and north-east.

I’m back. As I waited through delays and missed connections in the airports today, I watched the rain pelt down outside. I thought back to the day I left Nashville, a month ago. It was raining so hard, the console in the ceiling of the sedan they sent was leaking. The driver arrived 20 minutes early. Although I much prefer that to the alternative, it was stressful enough getting ready to leave for such an extended period. My God, I’ve tried not to overpack, but I’ve somehow managed to do it. Again. Geez, what can I leave behind? No, I need my speakers. I need to listen to music in my room. And I have to take the Bach Partitas. The edition that has markings from 3 teachers and my father in the E Major and D minor Partitas. And I need my books. And 6 pairs of socks isn’t too many. But maybe I could do without this one shirt, this pair of jeans, these earrings. It’s still too much. Screw it. I didn’t make my bed, didn’t empty the dishwasher. I couldn’t find Ruthie to say goodbye. Did I throw the perishables out? Lock the front door? Geez. Unplug the computer.

I’m never prepared to leave. Never.

But a day into the tour, home starts to melt away, and it seems that we were just here, picking up the tour as if no time has passed. I relish the moments spent making music with these extraordinary musicians. The ones that inspire me, that expand me, and push me to dig deeper. And playing live to an audience. The experience that is at once singular and shared. The phrase that goes by only once. No do-overs. The stillness at the end of a song. The magic. The air abuzz with frequencies that will never be expressed in quite the same way. Intangible. Fleeting. Perfect. Every person in the room living the same moment, and yet experiencing it in as many different ways. Divinity.

I call home often. Christina, Kristen, Lin. My Mom, my brother Brian. I talk to Wilson every day. I talk to Brad a couple of times a week. The familiarity of those voices, the people I love and cherish most in the world, makes me feel like I’m not really gone. I sleep in shifts most nights. A few hours in my bunk on the bus, a couple more once I settle into yet another hotel room, another temporary dwelling. I set up my speakers, light some candles. Call home to make it seem more like home.

In the afternoons, I pack my things once again. We head to soundcheck. One by one, we start to make sounds, and seamlessly find ourselves in some new groove, some new set of changes. Listening, stepping out, exploring time, tonality, space. We stop as mysteriously as we start, and I look around to see the faces on stage, every one grinning like we’ve just eaten a chocolate cake before dinner. In a way, we have. Then we sing, we play some more. Soundcheck feels more like luxury than necessity. Sure, it’s a good idea, but I never had to ask for much in the way of monitors. Glen Collett is the most intuitive monitor engineer I’ve encountered. What comes through my in-ears is so.... lovely. To play and sing is effortless. Dave Morgan, our front-of-house engineer, is phenomenal. So musical. These guys, and their teams, are members of our band. I’m blessed.

After soundcheck, we have dinner. Then it’s time to paint up, attempt to tame this uncooperative head of hair, decide on wardrobe. But the dressing room I share with Kate is a sacred space. We talk. We giggle. We sing. We cry. Sometimes, we just sit in a comfortable silence, preparing for the performance ahead.

What a magic life it is. I was so moved last night. As I stood at the side of the stage, listening to Fire and Rain for the umpteenth time, I fought back tears. Not just at the song itself, but at the privilege of it all. I watched Steve Gadd. The beauty of his movements, the ease and purposefulness in his playing. And then I started to laugh. “I’m crying at the drumming on a #$%*ing ballad,” I thought. What a sap I am. And then, as I gazed at the stage, more tears. God, I love this.

And late this afternoon, I walked back into my Nashville life. My house was perfect, thanks to some of my Nashville angels. Rob cleaned last week. A friend arranged a vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen island and slipped some half and half into the fridge. My mom had run the vacuum this morning, gave Molly a bath and brought her over to my house. I unlocked the back door and was greeted by my beloved animals. Molly, Ruthie and McGee. Oh, how I’ve missed them. I made coffee. I walked around the house. I walked past the mail, perfectly organized into piles by one of my angels. It will keep until tomorrow. So will the unpacking and the laundry. Wilson was right to laugh when I said I’d be doing that this evening.

And then, one by one, they appeared. One dear friend. Then Kristen. And Christina. And then Mom. Has it really been a month since I saw these precious faces? Since I heard laughter in my kitchen? God, I love this.

And at the same time, I’m clinging to the immediacy of the music I’ve just made. Of the time I’ve just spent. Of the chocolate cake faces.

I’m basking in the continuum.

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