My Telepathic Connection with John Prine

This is a real thing, people. I am not some crazy groupy-stalker. I’m married. He’s married. But I’m telling you: I totally have a telepathic connection with Singer-Songwriter John Prine. How do I know? Well, it all started like this…

Our two oldest kids, R and Eli, gave us tickets to a John Prine show for Christmas. Best gift ever. The show was last night at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, VA. Great venue for this concert-roomy enough, cushy enough for the aging crowd, not quite a smoky bar but still with a vibe of intimacy that made us instant friends with our neighbors on either side. Oddly, the HOH allowed flash photography and video taping which was distracting, blinding, and really robbed a lot from the show for which we/the kids, paid $62.50 per ticket. Anyway, we had good seats and the show opened right on schedule. It’s good being old and sober. I googled around a bit and still have no idea who his opening act was but the guy sounded like the inside of a bar room and had great hair. His feet did things that were completely independent of his body or the instrument he was playing. I love seeing someone that is comfortable in front of an audience. He was. I really enjoyed the harp thing he played one song on, about rivers in Montana, one of which I used to live by. In a car.
There was an intermission after the first act and Mark and I decided to have a drink. We waited in a long, slow line and finally got our $6 drinks which included 2 shots of liquor and 1 shot of mixer. It seems they were trying to save money on mixers or something but damn. I tossed mine in the trash but still had a shitty taste in my mouth. We should have just walked around for a few minutes. Lesson learned. Lights blinked. We sat back down.
John Prine walked out with 2 other guitarists. 1 was a bass player, the other with an electric guitar which did amazing things and also with a mandolin. Beautiful. They played. I thought two thoughts regarding which songs I wanted to hear:
Donald and Lydia
Green River, Green River, please play Green River, Green River. Yes! Green River.
Yeah. It’s on the list of all-time favorite songs and is very near to the top. It reminds me a bit of when my kids were little and we camped all of the time.
John told a lot of stories with his songs. He told the stories of how the songs came into being. I liked hearing the stories about his music because the songs are like old friends and I thrive on hearing people’s stories. And then? And then he played Donald and Lydia which is not the name of the song. There aren’t many people who can concoct a song about a young Private First Class and a fat girl, both masturbating to the same fantasy, which almost has them making love, and then sing it out loud in front of an audience and have it work. In fact, this is the sole case I’m aware of. I was thrilled. They closed the show and then came back for the requisite encore, now more of a ritualized scenario than it used to be, and the opening act man came back with his hair and played and sang along. They played a song, what it was I can’t remember, and then they played Green River. I squealed and bounced almost out of my seat! Normally, I’m pretty reserved and have never squealed without meaning to before….but I admit it. I squealed like a grandma at a Tom Jones show. Ah. Satisfaction. I rode home on a cloud.
So, there you have it. I telepathically messaged John Prine and he performed my two requests. I rock. He rocks.

About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
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