I had the huge honor of seeing Taj Mahal perform at Jazz Alley last night. The WAC (Washington Athletic Club where I belong) had gotten 60 seats right up front and offered to members. So Janelle, also a member, got them and invited me to go with her. I love going to jazz alley. The atmosphere is right up there on the top of my favorites list. The music always so good. The seating is set up to feel very intimate with the stage. The food spectacular. Wine list marvelous.
Taj Mahal is a legend. 67 years old (I had to look that up) He's been in my life since seventh grade as I listened to my brother play his bluesy, folksy music. His music is on my most frequently played playlists. "Goin' fishin'" "Leaving Trunk" I hear several times a week. I was so thrilled to get to go with Janelle to this performance.
After waiting outside with the rest of the WAC crowd in the cold wind for a good half hour we were shown in and, with the rest of the WACkers led to an area near the stage. I was glad to see there were long tables and we were to be seated with other members. I chose a spot basically right front and center, separated from the stage by one small table. Across the table from this sweet looking older couple: Ferris and Corrine Somethingorother. Sweet, sweet people. A retired dentist from Mercer Island. Married for 51 years. Janelle, who is so outgoing and good for taking up conversations with strangers reached out her hand to introduce herself to these folks. Then over the two empty seats next to her to the couple sitting at the end of the table. I can only see the woman, as she is on the far side of the table. The man is on the same side as me and at the far end so not really within easy eye shot.
The woman looks like an overaged Barbie Doll. Her peroxide hair in a short thick cut adds at least three more inches to her height. Her tight skin and lack of wrinkles betrays the plastic surgery that her wrinkled neck cannot hide. She is wearing severe glasses, slightly tinted. When Janelle reaches out her hand to introduce herself I witness something I have never seen before. "Mrs. Jerold Grissbitchsomethingorother" with a tone like "leave me the fuck alone" which I interpret to mean "don't you touch my husband." Janelle recoils from the snake bite and looks at me as she says "Wow. That was interesting." We look at Corrine across the table who informs us that when she introduced herself similarly the woman didn't even respond. Just turned away and continued her conversation with her husband. Corrine laughed as she said she just responded back to snake lady "delighted." and that is why they seated themselves at the far end of the table from this couple, which made a wonderful seating opportunity for us.
I leaned forward to take a look at this precious husband that Mrs. Jerold Grissbitchsomethingorother was keen on protecting from us. He was a fat, ugly, old coot. The second or third martini was delivered to snake lady. As the seating filled up a cute young couple took the last two seats at the table: the husband sitting between Janelle and Mr. Jerold G. and the young woman between sweet Corrine and snake lady. I watched with interest (and wanting so to give warning) as this sweet young thing, after being greeted and introduced by our end of the table, turned towards snake lady's husband, introduced herself and then stuck her hand out to Mrs. Jerold G who blatantly turned her head from this sweet thing. From that point on, our end of the table (all but the Mr. and Mrs. Jerold G) were bonded. We watched as snake lady drank martini after martini. Then a few glasses of red wine with dinner. Only three times during the course of the evening did she enter into conversation. Each timeshe shared something about drinks. She described some drink that had a can of Red Bull poured into the top of it. She described some drink she had at a very exotic resort in a very exotic place in the world. I don't recall the third conversation except that it had to do with a drink.
There were so many delightful and interesting parts of our conversation with the rest of the table. The young couple were pawn shop owners in Burien. You would have never guessed. They had been married for 23 years.
After a drink Corrine shared the story of how a good friend of her husband's had cornered her in an elevator and gave her an incredible kiss. The kind where he bent her over backwards. Ferris got strangely quiet there for that story. But after a few minutes dived back into the conversation. Neither Corrine nor Ferris were familiar with Taj Mahal. Corrine had bought the tickets because she is familiar with the Taj Mahal in India. But when the music started, like everyone else in the place, everyone that is except for Mr. and Mrs. Jerold Grissbitchsomethingorother, everyone was bopping in their chairs. You just couldn't help, nor would you want to, participating in the music. I glanced back at the snake lady a few times. Though she was turned toward the stage, not a hair on her head jumped to the music. Not a drop of her drink, clutched in her hand, jumped from her glass.
Old Taj was such a great showman. Sitting where we were, less than twenty feet away, I could watch all his expressions, his smooth moves. His strutting and gyrating. Amazing. The drummer and bassist were good support and he played to them and gave them solos but really the show was all about Taj.
It was a great evening. Even Mr. and Mrs. Jerold Grissbitchsomethingorother added to the entertainment. Once you got over her meanness all you could feel was pity: pity for her miserableness. Pity that she missed out on a really great table with really great people to converse with. Pity for the nice women who mistakenly reached out to welcome her. Mean people suck.