What a treat it was to have the Jeans ‘N’ Classics guys come out and take their bows. Then out came Lauren in a sparkly silver jacket, neon green boa and a huge pair of glasses a la Elton. He was quite breath taking and I thought I heard a wolf whistle or two from the audience. The audience clearly enjoyed all the pieces played and the singer of the Jeans ‘n’ Classics, Jean Meilleur, was awesome in his rendition of these great songs. All the members of the symphony, the band and Bartlesville’s Coral Society were amazing.
The first piece they played left me a little confused. It was an instrumental, and I knew that I recognized it, but then the Symphony played the notes that brought it back to me with force. It was Funeral for a Friend, which led into Love Lies Bleeding, just as it does on the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I missed the eerie wind and the doleful tolling of the bell, but it didn’t take me long to remember the classic. I’d forgotten all about it.
Then the music took me back with the song Daniel. I can remember how that song made me think of the book I’d read in my teen age years, Irwin Shaw’s The Young Lions. It’s probably a book that I should not have read at that young age, but it was very influential in my teen years; as was Earnest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. I can remember thinking of scenes in both those stories while listening to Daniel and looking at National Geographic’s maps of Europe. I can still smell the aroma of slightly musty old magazines.
This just re-emphasizes the importance and power of music. It has the ability to bring back the past, and to inspire creativity. Music is a powerful tool for learning languages as well. Children can learn to sing O Taunenbaum in German and adults can sing Via Dola Rosa in Latin because music is the perfect counterpart to learning.
When the Symphony played Your Song, it made me think, as the lyrics suggested, of my time in my childhood when I enjoyed sitting on the roof, or in the branches of the Sycamore tree in our yard watching the sunlight and shadow play hide and seek with the great leaves of the tree, some of which were bigger than my hand. It was in that tree that I heard, for the first time, the voice of my Lord Jesus calling me to belong to him. That will always be a wonderful memory for me, even with the turmoil of my later years. There was a time I almost forgot it, until my 30s. Now that I am 52 I will never leave that behind again.
I have to admit there were some songs I did not like at all. These were all the songs I’d never heard before that Jeans ‘N’ Classics played, and that might be part of the reason. I’m much more particular about what lyrics I allow in my head and the lyrics to these songs were not lyrics I will allow to take hold. Madman Across the Water reminded me of an image in my head that has haunted me for years and one which causes me to dislike rats. One day as a child, I was outside while my dad was mowing the lawn. I found a magazine picture that had been cut out, and which must have been carried by the wind. When I turned it over it was a picture of rats… but no. I don’t even like describing what I saw. Pardon me for bringing it up. It was a disturbing picture, and the song was disturbing in that same way.
One of the things I like about Jeans ‘n’ Classics is they give tidbits of history to some of the songs. I didn’t know, for instance, that Someone Saved My Life Tonight was about an attempted suicide by Elton. As we all know, it didn’t succeed apparently because Elton forgot to shut his windows.
The last song they sang was one of my favorites as a child, although now I don’t know why. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me is a very dark song, “I just allow a fragment of your life/to wander free…” but it’s a sad song that expresses the hurt a lonely soul can feel. Maybe the thing that called to me at that time was my own loneliness as a teen. But whatever the reason, I enjoyed hearing it again.
I have, since my younger days, left Elton John far behind. I loved being at the Symphony and hearing our excellent talent as well as the guest musicians such as Jeans ‘n’ Classics. I heard them for the first time last year when they sang a tribute to the Beatles with our BSO. If you didn’t get the opportunity to come to the Eternally Elton concert, you missed a great treat; but don’t worry. There are other great symphony programs planned, so check out the BSO website and plan on attending.