Many times I talked myself out of going to the show this evening.
The final time was the moment I walked INTO the show this evening.
Being alone is so uncomfortable. Even when it’s technically by choice.
I had the opportunity to work with Nick Hakim many years ago. He was still in high school, I was still working in the nonprofit world. I organized a large event at 9:30 Club, he performed. Fabulously. Even then he had the presence and talent of someone who, no question about it, was going to be great.
I love love love Emily King. So when I found out she was performing at The Hamilton (a venue I have been wanting to check out) and that Nick was opening for her? No question about it, I had to go. I have listened to her for so long I just feel like everyone of course knows who she is. Apparently, I have some more sharing I need to do in order to get everyone else hip to this beautiful music.
Nick Hakim at The Hamilton
Emily King at The Hamilton
I walked in uncomfortably, made my way to a large table right in the center of the room (best viewing seats, in my opinion), and asked the one couple sitting at the other end if there was room for me. I took my seat at the other edge, trying to take up as little space as possible.
The table continued to fill up – the couple kept multiplying. Friendly people arriving, hugging, sitting. Except for the one couple who sat directly opposite me. The woman complained from the time she sat down until the time she left. I’m surprised she even had a moment to enjoy the music. I thought about moving. It just seemed like this was going to turn into a less-than-pleasant experience.
There was even still time for me to leave, I calculated.
And then, somehow, instantly, the night was transformed. It turns out I was sitting at the table with Nick’s mom, family and friends. We began chatting – they were lovely. (Excluding for the couple sitting opposite me – they, like me, were just looking for good seats and were not a part of the family.)
And then the music started.
At that moment, of course, it clicked that this is why I was here – why I had waded into uncomfortable territory and was sitting alone in a room full of friends, couples, groups. Because, of course, this was to be a magical night of music that I would have kicked myself for missing.
Nick’s sound has evolved, become so much more mature in the five years since I knew him. That stage presence and assurance (not to be confused with cockiness – no, this was just a feeling of comfort, that the stage is the exact right place for him, home) is still there. It was a beautiful set.
Emily is the kind of performer you feel like you KNOW. She is an artist in every sense of the word – from her vocal ability to her connection with the crowd, her band… She is just spectacular to watch in person.
It’s the kind of music that MOVES you. Me, at least. I found myself going for a ride right along with her – all of her songs are personal and emotional.
I told Nick’s family that I was sure he wouldn’t remember me – it feels like so many lifetimes ago we were doing that show – but that I was so excited to support him and his work, and glad to be able to see him back in DC.
As it turns out, he came right over to the table after his performance and gave me a big ol’ hug. Super appreciative that I would come out to see him perform.
With Nick Hakim after the show
The night was proceeded by several text messages from several people I most certainly had no expectations of hearing from.
Somehow, letting go of my deep-seated fear of being alone in a crowd (if only for one night) made some monumental shifts in the universe. My universe that is.
And if nothing else, I have confirmed for myself that any amount of inner personal discomfort initially, is worth the gift of participating in such incredible moments of creative energy and talent. Because if you let it, that energy will reach right out and embrace you.
Here’s to another day of creativity…