Myself and Susan had been in the U.S for over a month and we were hanging for a good night out. We knew Glen Hansard was coming to Oakland and we made several attempts at booking tickets but always ended up putting it on the long finger. Susan's friend Patrice was due to visit and we wanted to check with her first if she wanted to come. Turns out Patrice had also tried to book them but there was a problem with the online booking system. In the days before the gig I hovered over Ticketmaster, ready to press the trigger. However something was telling me to hold off. I wasn't sure what it was, or why, but I just heard this little voice nudging me to wait.
I knew we might end up missing out completely but still, I decided to ride it out. Then, on the morning of the gig I got an unexpected email from Chris Drury, an American friend of a friend who had stayed with us two years ago in Dublin as part of his world peace pilgrimage. Chris had emailed months ago to say he was staying an hour north of us but I had totally forgotten. Turns out that he is living with Sean Hayes, a well known musician who would be supporting Glen Hansard at the spectacular Fox Theater that evening.
He wanted to know if we wanted guest list tickets. Boom, we were in!
Meeting Chris reminded me of the strange world of synchronicity and reciprocity, the random encounters that lead to other unplanned connections and happenings down the road. We had given Chris, then a stranger who became a friend, some Irish hospitality and here he was, unexpectedly, returning it in divine style over two years later.
We ended up having a fantastic night. We went backstage and met Sean, his wife Harmony, and some of the other musicians. Sean played an amazing set and later Chris presented us with a signed copy of his recently published book 'The Light Inside' which documents his peace pilgrimage.
As for the Glen Hansard gig, well, that man can rock! What a night. He was in his element, banging out his solo stuff, a few covers, and a Frames number. It was a little odd seeing some of the Frames lads on stage without violin supremo Colm Mac Con Iomaire. However I knew he was busy back home putting the finishing touches on his new solo album, which I'm sure will only serve to further highlight his own musical genius.
Speaking of Colm, another so called random encounter. On the way back from the bathroom I got a bit lost in the crowd. I couldn't find my way back to our spot up front. Standing there lost, a lady turned around to me and says 'hey, I know you'. I said 'nah, I don't think so'. She said 'sure, you're a friend of Colms' (Colm Mac Con Iomaire) that is. 'He told me to look out for you in San Francisco. I recognise you from Twitter!'. Turns out Lisa and her friend Ana are long time American Frames heads and friends of the lads.
It was another lovely twist on a beautiful night.
As for that thing, that mysterious voice that led us not to book the tickets. Well, call it gut feeling, a hunch, a sense, intuition or instinct, I don't know. It's like some form of higher intelligence beyond the realm of the mind, the world wide cosmic web that you can log into if you listen and trust enough.
The more I take this approach, the more I trust it and the more 'mad stuff', so called coincidences or random encounters occur. There's also the karma factor, you give with an open heart, and you end up receiving down the road.
It's still a mystery and one I love.
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