Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People


I am going to break from my regularly scheduled program where I change my Superbowl pick again and speak to you about the Billy Joel Concert I saw last week at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA.

Off the subject: 

English is a strange language (trust me, it’s related).  It is difficult to explain to children and people learning English as a second language about the subtleties of the language.  There are hidden meanings in words that are apparent synonyms.  For example, my wife used the word “Pathetic” recent when she intended to use the word “Pitiful”.  These two words are synonyms.  But “Pathetic” has a negative connotation that is at least less severe than “Pitiful”.  The words we utilize have meanings that are so subtle as to be lost on the casual observer.

Apparent Non-Sequitur:

I do not use curse words often.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find them offensive.  For the most parts their definitions are simply natural human acts or anatomy.  I don’t use profanity on a regular because I want it to mean that much more when I do use the occasional expletive.  If a person utilizes profanity on a regular basis, then it loses it’s power.  This is another example of the hidden meanings in words that I discussed previously.

Now for the main event:

I was trying to describe the Billy Joel concert I saw with a single phrase.  But I didn’t want to say that “He still Has It” or “He can Still tickle them ivories” because that implies that he is pretty good for his age. (which will be 59 this May – a mere 1.5 years younger than my mother).  I didn’t want to say that “He was good” or great or even awesome because many of those words have been over-used.  so this is what I came up with:

He Kicked Ass

I feel genuinely impassioned enough to say it that way.  If you have ever enjoyed his music I urge you to go see the concert.  I saw Shania Twain in concert a few years ago at the MCI Center in D.C.  That year she won the “Entertainer of the Year”award in country music.  She didn’t hold a candle to the concert put on by Billy and his gang.  Billy had no pyrotechnics (He did have an incredible light show that wasn’t distracting).  He simply played his stuff.  That included a few tunes I didn’t recognized intertwined around his best hits. 

I will also say that we booed him.  He was pretending to leave without playing The Piano Man”.  We just were not going to have any of that.  If he took a step toward his Piano we cheered.  If he took a step away we booed. He seemed to enjoy it. 

When I got up to leave I turned to the guy behind me (someone I didn’t know) and said “He didn’t play my favorite” (The Longest Time).  He said that his favorite was also left out (Uptown Girl), though he understood that Billy no longer plays Uptown Girl because it was written for his first wife.  He sang and played for almost two and a half hours, and there were songs he couldn’t fit in.  That is a good problem to have if you are a recording artist. 

If any of you have seen the concert, at one point he did an instrumental peice that was above and beyond incredible (made my fingures hurt).  If you know the name or where I can get a copy I would greatly appreciate it.


March 1, 2007 - Posted by | Random Thoughts

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