January 23, 2013


Above: Yo La Tengo tickets, over the years. I'm missing the one from Cat's Cradle on January 22, 2011.

The first time I saw Yo La Tengo, I was about to graduate from college, and determined to do so with a design job. I remember the morning after the show, I flew to Minneapolis all by myself for an AIGA portfolio review, and to interview at a few firms. I was pretty sure I wanted to live there, and somehow work for Target. I remember wearing my new Yo La Tengo shirt on the flight up (which was red-eye, and the venue had been a solid two hours away from my house – oh, to be young again!). My ears were still ringing, and my hand was still stamped from the show. I ultimately accepted a job offer at an agency in Oklahoma City - and started working full-time a week before graduation.

The second time I saw Yo La Tengo, I was alone. Same venue (Cain's Ballroom - my favorite in Oklahoma). The forecast called for a blizzard that night, but the show hadn't been cancelled. Against my better judgement (and thinking that forecasts are never as bad as they talk themselves up to be), I drove that two hours again, and easily got a prime spot up front, as half the ticket-holders opted to stay home. I remember being proud of myself for being there alone and for taking the chance. I drove home through flurries, and woke up to six inches of snow. A few weeks later, I got (and accepted) the offer to move out to North Carolina. The day after that, I made out with a cute guy at an annual advertising awards show, and started a fling that I thought would end when I moved.

The third time I saw Yo La Tengo, I was sick. I was having a widespread allergic reaction to... something (I still don't know what), and all my joints were pretty grotesquely swollen. But they were playing two nights in a row in Chapel Hill, and I was a fabulously independent woman living on her own on the East coast!, and stubborn.  I remember having to hold the more swollen hand above my heart for the whole show to ease the throbbing, and almost not being able to get in my car afterwards, because my knees were so swollen. The next morning, I went to urgent care, and got steroid and antihistamine shots in the ass. I didn't get to that second show – I didn't even get out of bed for the next day or so. Oh - and that cute guy (Micah, you guys, IT'S MICAH) had just agreed to move across the country and join me in Durham.

I'm seeing Yo La Tengo for the fourth time tonight – Micah got me tickets for Christmas!, and they happen to be playing at the same venue in Chapel Hill. There is no blizzard forecast, and I'm not feeling itchy. I'm excited – not only to see my favorite band, but because seeing them seems to be a harbinger of change, growth and general upheaval in my life. Encore!

UPDATE: And I just realized that tonight's show is exactly two years after the one I missed! Oh, universe.