I would describe my life as interesting. Every day brings something new – a lesson, a memory, a different point of view, a reflection – and I welcome it all with much gratitude. June 28th, 2011 was no exception…
My thoughts upon waking: Tonight is the Sade concert! Sade tours once a decade and her music has helped me through some rough times. AND I love music and I love going to concerts! I bought the tickets last October, before I went to India, for this much anticipated event. I’m going with my friend D. who loves Sade as well, and I’m very excited! I have my outfit together – off-the-shoulder black cocktail dress paired with my Michael Kors heels. I have a busy day ahead of me – go to work, hit the gym, then get ready for the concert! Whoohoo! I am excited although I didn’t sleep very well last night. My neck hurts and I see that I have messages to check on my phone.
I got ready for work, boiled a few eggs and left my house around 7am. I checked the messages on my phone as I walked to the elevator. One was from my aunt who currently resides in Bosnia, informing me that my grandfather had ended his short battle with colon cancer last night. I phoned my youngest aunt while walking to work. We spoke about her, my dad’s and their oldest sister’s departure later that evening for my grandfather’s funeral in Bosnia. We also discussed the importance of living life and not allowing certain things to stress us out. We had a similar discussion last week as one of her friends (whom I also knew) passed away suddenly, while at work, at the age of 50. The conversation ended with us agreeing that we need to live life to the fullest and do what makes us happy. When I got to work I emailed my dad after failing to reach him on the phone.
As the day went on I thought if it was appropriate it was for me to go to a concert of one of my favourite artists knowing that my grandfather passed away the night before. I talked to my friends, I talked to my mom, I even had conversations about it with people on Facebook and Twitter, and it was unanimous – I was to go to the concert and enjoy it.
My friend D. and I met up at the Air Canada Centre, and as her cab took her to the wrong entrance, we ended up walking in after John Legend was already on stage. Our seats were in section Floor Left, row 13, seats 3 and 4.*** As we were ushered to our seats, sitting directly behind me in row 14 was my friend M! I hadn’t seen her in a VERY long time (her and I worked at a clothing store for some time, years ago but we keep bumping into each other randomly) and it was really lovely being around another person (who I knew!) who has a great energy. (I might not have mentioned but D. is really cool peeps!) We thoroughly enjoyed John Legend’s**** performance and I caught up with both M. and D. before Sade stepped on stage.
As you will see from the videos I took (links posted below), Sade’s concert was absolutely amazing…incredible…pure soulfood. I loved every second. It is so refreshing to experience an artist perform live and instead of a huge stage production (i.e. dancers, crazy special effects, etc), the use of lighting and simple video projections which complimented the music, enhanced the entire concert experience. It is hard to describe what I mean, but I do think you’ll be able to appreciate this from the videos.
After the show was over, before I even left my seat, someone tapped my shoulder. I turned my head and met the gaze of a man who said: “I came all the way from Nova Scotia to watch the concert and my camera broke. I noticed that you were taking a lot of pictures and I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind emailing them to me.” Of course I said yes, and he handed me a piece of paper (he was well prepared!) with his email address written on it. I carefully put it in my clutch and bid him goodnight.
D. and I said goodbye to M and off we went in hunt of a taxi. Our taxi hunt was a challenge (imagine the number of people who just attended a sold-out concert and were also trying to hire one) so we decided to walk a little ways in our search. Five minutes later, a lady approached me and said “Excuse me, but were you sitting in row 13?”. I confirmed and she said: “I was watching the pictures and videos you were taking with your camera and you must share them! Upload them on YouTube or something!”. I told her that I plan on doing just that and I offered to email her the links once I’ve done so. She gave me her card, thanked me and we bid each other good night.
After getting home, I was filled with so many different emotions but sadness wasn’t one of them. Yes my grandfather was gone but I work in healthcare and I know what cancer means – great pain. Although death is never a happy thought, I was not sad as I knew that he was no longer suffering or in pain. People grieve in different ways and mine was a celebration. A celebration of life. In addition to all of that, I was also able to give to complete strangers. I felt incredibly grateful to have life and to be living. And this could be my own way of making myself feel better, but I think that my grandfather would not have been upset in how I celebrated his life…
As I promised to the two strangers who approached me, I’ve uploaded the videos I obtained at the concert and I’ve made a slideshow of some of the pictures as well. You’ll have to excuse my shaky camera work – I did my best! I hope you enjoy my compilation and I hope that you’re living your life.
***The October morning of last year that the Sade concert tickets went on sale, I had to be at the Indian consulate to apply for tourist visa for my then upcoming trip to India, and D. had to be on the road, so neither one of us would be near a computer. Thankfully I have great friends! My friend E. booked the tickets for us online and got up early that Saturday morning to do so! E. is often one of my rainbows in the clouds and I’m thankful for him and his friendship always.
****I was fortunate enough to have attended John Legend’s concert at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto in 2008. His live performances are incredible.
Sade in Toronto, Parts 1, 2 &3
Slideshow of the pictures taken at the concert – unfortunately some of the picture quality was lost in compiling the video.