Every Song Has A Memory: Girlfriend

Every Song Has A Memory: Girlfriend

Songs have a way of attaching themselves to a moment that never fades.  It becomes personal.   You hear the tune and are instantly sent back.  Another place – another time.

Every song has a memory.

Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend

Vancouver’s UBC Thunderbird Stadium.  July 13, 1995.

Arriving in the middle of the eight hour long Another Roadside Attraction music festival, I lassoed my media pass lanyard around my neck and headed for the gate.  Soon, I would be asked to walk on stage, rev the crowd up and announce that one of the bands were minutes away from playing.  Honestly, I don’t recall the band I brought on (Rheostatics perhaps?)  I just remember double checking to see if my fly was zipped up, then walking onstage, looking at the crowd and thinking:

“Yep…that looks like thirty thousand people out there.”

Now, you would think that would be the dominant memory:  greeting a giant mass of humanity and watching the crowd give a sudsy salute back at me by holding up their plastic beer cups while softly bouncing giant beach balls back and forth in the air – feeding off the festival frenzy.

But it wasn’t.

As the afternoon carried on, I found myself backstage again, grooving to Matthew Sweet, who was five or six songs deep in his set.  The cloudy, muggy day had finally given in to a west coast summer shower.

Near the hospitality tent, two guys were deep in a vicious game of table tennis.  A large, burly man with a floppy brimmed hat was holding his own against a denim clad, slender dude showing off his catlike agility.

As I stepped closer to take in the sporting event, a thunderous group of cheers rose up from the crowd.  Sweet had kicked into his signature hit “Girlfriend.”

The two ping-pong players stopped for a second and took in the energy.  I watched the band wail until the vocals kicked in:

I wanna love somebody
I hear you need somebody to love
Oh, I wanna love somebody
I hear you’re looking for someone to love

Heads were bobbin’.  Like someone had all of a sudden turned on the party switch.

The ping-pong game resumed.  Stepping closer to the table, I realized I was looking at John Popper from the band Blues Traveler deliver a backhand smash towards Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip.

I smiled and became part of the growing crowd watching two immense music talents engaged in a backstage battle of skill.  The “k’nip k’nop – k’nip-k’nop” of the ball kept a steady rhythm with the song.

A musical memory to last a lifetime.

Whenever “Girlfriend” blares out of speakers, I’m right back at the ping-pong table.

Every Song Has A Memory – a weekly blog about how music helps you remember the moments of your life.

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