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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What's a riopelle?

Last night, for New Year’s Eve, I went to a concert. ‘Saw a band that I’ve seen over 20 times before. ‘Most of those times were also on New Year’s! Four years ago I started this blog and part of my first entry concerned this same topic: “...People ask me why I'd want to do the same thing so many times for the same holiday, instead of trying new and different ways and places to ring in the new year, and I guess I'm starting to understand that it's partially about the concept of tradition. Doing something the same on an anniversary helps you think back to your past, and remember who you were, to help you figure out who you've become. And figurin' out who you've become is probably one of the big goals of the journey.” Well, this particular tradition in my life is coming to a close. Jerry Riopelle and his band first played New Year’s at The Celebrity Theater in 1975. And I was there. Along with some friends, including a dear friend of mine that was also with us there last night, at what appears to be the last Riopelle New Year’s Eve show. He didn’t spell it out, but there were many small, poignant moments telegraphed to the faithful, in the show that left no doubt in my mind that we were witnessing the last encore. For one thing Jerry’s in his 70’s! ‘Not that the performance suffered, but the audience attendance is waning. -Or should I say “dieing off” (literally)?  For me, this band’s career- span coincided perfectly with my becoming an adult, and on into “middle age”. -That terrible phrase that denotes the age at which you really should stop going to rock concerts. Not because you realize that they are over-priced, overly-loud, and don’t sound nearly as good as the studio recordings we already have. But because it gets harder to stay up that late! Jerry Riopelle is a consummate songwriter that weaves double entendres into upbeat songs about keeping relationships honest, but interesting. With lines like: “...come tell me the truth, when you’re most afraid to. If you ever stop talkin’ to me, I’m gonna leave you. You tell me how you feel, and there’s just no need to steal...”   And even silly songs get a dose of honest caring about your partner: “Been up all night, strokin’ the hot slot machine...and I’m goin’ back tonight, just me and my machine. We’re gonna get real fat...sit out on our boat and watch tv. ...’pay off the phone and call your whole family...’buy you some panty hose and a diamond ring...I’ll chase you every day, and I’ll catch you every night, don’t tell me your ‘ole man don’t treat you right....”   -Thanks Jerry! For a lifetime of so many infectious songs that are secretly lessons in love.

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