Thursday, August 18, 2005

Jacob's 2004 Adventure: Prologue

One Sunday night in 1999 I happened to be watching a show on the Canadian music channel, MuchMusic. The show was called Clip Trip, it featured music videos from all around the world, I guess on this particular night they were featuring Irish music. As I watched, a video I had never seen came on. There were three girls and a guy wearing matching outfits dancing around in a black & white room. The song was a strange mix of celtic and pop sounds with an almost reggae sounding beat. I had no idea who this was, but I was pretty sure I liked it. The video ended and the title came on screen, it was “The Right Time” by The Corrs.
They cut to the host, Bill Welychka, and he was sitting in a room with The Corrs and actually interviewed them throughout the entire show. A few more of their videos were played and they had my attention, I needed to know more about this band. I set my VCR to record the rerun of that show the next morning.

I remember being in the parking lot at Best Buy one day not much later. Mom had to run in really quick to pick up a gift for someone while the rest of my family and I waited in the van. I remember asking if she could see if she could find a CD by this new band I had heard of. When she came back out and tossed the bag into the van, I looked at it and saw not one, but two CDs inside. Mom’s always been cool like that. Those CDs, Forgiven, Not Forgotten & Talk On Corners, received nearly constant play in my CD player.
Sure, it wasn't the kind of music the average guy of my age might be into, but I didn't really care, I liked it.

A year had passed and I had spent my fair share of money collecting whatever Corr-related items I could find. Thanks to sites like Amazon and eBay, I was able to get my hands on import CDs, DVDs, and books featuring the band, none of which I'd have been able to find around here. I’ve said it many times, without the internet it’d be extremely difficult to be a Corrs fan here in the US.
They're very well known everywhere in the world, but they've had some trouble taking off here in the states. A family band that writes and performs their own music, I think it's a beautiful thing. Sadly, I think they're too clean for the US music scene. It seems you need scandal over talent to get noticed nowadays.

In late summer of 2000, I could hardly wait for their new album, In Blue, to be released. The day the CD was released Dad drove me to Best Buy. I raced to the C section, searched and found The Corrs...but In Blue was nowhere to be seen. I was a bit confused and disappointed, but that would soon be cured. After asking a clerk, I found they hadn’t even put the CD on the shelves yet. He grabbed me a copy right from the box it was shipped in and I went home happy.
As expected, I loved it. I noticed the celtic flavor was toned down a little in favor of a more poppy sound, it was different, but I still enjoyed it. Some fans said things along the lines of that they were giving up the unique sound that attracted fans in the first place, but I disagree. That sound was still there, it was just a bit more subtle this time around. The way I see it, it’s natural for people to change, and if they happen to be musicians, their music is most likely going to change with them. It’s like a if you were reading a book: if the characters didn’t change as they story goes on, it’d just get boring.

Four years passed. Not really a lot of time, but quite a bit happened during that time. I had grown and changed as the world around me did. I met people and made new friends, but some loved ones had moved on and some had been lost, one of whom left a big void in my life and my heart. My younger brother was gone. To say it had a big impact on me would be an enormous understatement.
I slowed down on a lot of things and closed myself off a bit from the world outside my door. Nothing had truly excited me much for a while, then one day in March a spark of excitement was given life.

I found out that later in the year The Corrs would be playing a show in Boston. The band I had been following for five years would be playing in the US, though it was a few states away. Nevertheless, I let my parents know we’d be taking a road trip to Boston that summer. A few days later, my hopes for going to the Boston show were obliterated and replaced with something much better and unexpected.
On March 24th, 2004 it was announced...The Corrs were coming to Cleveland. They were to play downtown at the Tower City Amphitheater. A mere half-hour drive from my house. This was easily the best news I had heard in a long, long time.

The tickets went on sale on Saturday, April 3rd at 10:00 AM. At that time, I was asleep in my bed, having been too excited all night to sleep. Thankfully, as I mentioned before, Mom’s cool. She was at the local ticket outlet a while before ten, ready and waiting in line. She told me it was an interesting mix of people in line as it was the day tickets for most of that venue’s summer shows went on sale.
As she waited, she debated the handicapped seating situation. I had heard from a friend that the amphitheater had folding chairs and it shouldn’t be a problem for them to just move a seat for my wheelchair, but we also knew from experience that some venues aren’t very flexible with this kind of thing.
Mom was frustrated when the person at the ticket booth announced they would be holding a lottery to see who would get to be first in line. She was tempted to raise a commotion about how unfair it was and that first come should be first served, she had gotten there early to get her good place in line. Thankfully, she decided against raising a fuss, she won the lottery and had first dibs.
The inner debate about what seats to get raged on as she approached the teller. Then she decided. She said to give her the best seats available.

A short while later she came home and decorated a paper plate with shamrocks and other little Irish highlights and secured the tickets to the plate with paper clips. She walked into my room to prop up her little display next to my bed so it would be the first thing I would see when I woke up, but I’m a light sleeper and kind of spoiled it.

Groggily I muttered “...What?”

“Front row” she whispered.

As I lay there trying to process what I had just been told, I couldn’t believe it. She was obviously toying with me.

“Shut up” I said, sleepily.

I forced my eyes open and did my best to focus, when I finally did, I saw she wasn’t lying. Right there before my eyes was something I never thought I’d see: three front row tickets to see The Corrs.
Not just front row either, they were almost dead center. I would be sitting right between Jim and Andrea. This was a definite spark and I was finally excited, but it would still be a few months before it fully hit me.

On June 8th, after four years of waiting, The Corrs were finally releasing their newest studio album, Borrowed Heaven. Now that I had been a fan for so long, I was so excited to hear the new album that I was actually nervous. Don’t get me wrong, these nerves weren’t because I doubted the quality of the album in any way, I had just been anticipating it for so long and I didn’t know what to expect, it was a good kind of nervous.
The first night I had the CD, I listened to it at least three times in a row. I wasn’t disappointed. In my opinion it’s their most solid album to date, I love every single track on it. I related to so many of the songs, some of them touched me quite deeply. It was actually a bit eerie how close certain songs hit home for me, it was almost as if this time around the music changed along with me.

The summer came and plodded along in an overall uneventful manner. Borrowed Heaven played frequently in the house and it seemed to get better and better every time I listened to it. I’d get impatient when I thought of the concert tickets I had, but even then it still hadn’t fully hit me. I tried to be patient, August 21st would arrive soon enough.

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