I went to see these guys a week or so ago, accompanied by my son who is heading off for college in September. It was an ordeal to get there, traffic, weather, parking, but the show was great. There were songs from every phase of the band’s 21-year career (Stuart Murdoch, the lead singer/songwriter, mentioned that since they were 21 they could do anything they wanted) and apart from individual highlights like “Another Sunny Day” and this song, what I appreciated most was how much fun Stuart seemed to be having, how much he seemed to be enjoying his own songs, even the sad ones. A man and his catalog!
At one point he wandered into the audience and returned with about 50 people trailing him back up on stage, mostly women who looked exactly like Belle and Sebastian fangirls should look (use your imagination). Stuart danced with them for two songs and then called them all into a huddle so loved ones in the audience could take a group shot. At that point traffic, weather, and parking were all pretty much forgiven.
They sang this as the last song in the set and of the night. (I think there was supposed to be an encore but the opener Andrew Bird went on too long and they ran out of time.) When it began two little girls, maybe 8-10 years old, who I’d noticed earlier sitting with their parents a few rows back came up near the stage and started sway-dancing together. My son next to me was sway-dancing himself, when not snapchatting (he promised not to mention me), and I thought of how I’d bought Tigermilk, the album the song comes from, when it was generally released in 1999, the year he was born. He was a fussy baby (understatement!) but the album seemed to calm him. We’d put it on and rock him in our arms around the living room:
I gave myself to sin
I gave myself to Providence
Been there and back again
The state that I am in
What’s it about? Love, resilience, accommodation, not taking even the serious things too seriously. (We must have all heard that “I gave myself to God/There was a pregnant pause before he said okay” line a thousand times, but it still got a laugh in concert.) Mostly though: the circle of life. Or maybe its necessary passages. Can you tell I’m in a mood?