Tonight I saw something I’ve never seen before:
a music crowd entirely spellbound. Spellbound, to the point that nobody spoke, nobody moved, nobody clinked a glass. It was like being in church, a very quiet and contemplative church.
Except it was at The Pinhook, on a Thursday night. Folks were out on the town. There was mingling; there was beer drinking; there was storytelling. And then Phil Cook walked up onstage, picked up his steel guitar, and started to play; quietly, but with a bluesy, soulful intensity. Within a span of seconds, conversations were hushed, and then suddenly everyone was All In. Even the front half of the bar fell silent, and the patrons who hadn’t made their way towards the stage spun on their barstools and exhibited flawless audience behavior.
There was raucous applause after each song, of course, and then Phil would dive into the next piece, and it was silent again amongst the music lovers, all except for the mesmerizing music. Phil plays something like a jillion instruments, but tonight there were just two: the dobro, and an electric guitar. He sang two or three numbers, and the rest were instrumental. The whole set was thirty or forty-five minutes, and I didn’t see anyone in the crowd move so much as a step away from their original spots. No rustling, no texting, no refills, no distractions at all, for the lovely space of that lovely set.
The headliners tonight were probably great, too. I wouldn’t know. The last notes rang out, and Phil hopped off the stage and faded unassumingly into the crowd, as if he hadn’t just captivated everyone in the place with his Pied Piper roots-y blues-y folk music. Or blues-y, folk-y roots music. Call it anything you like.
Julia and William and I looked at each other, and decided that nothing would be able to top what we’d just heard, and all decided to drift home, filled up with music.