We just had Open Mike Night here in Iraq. It was in an outdoor tent at 8pm and it was 40 degrees outside. My hands are just now thawing out. Unfortunately, I didn't get to play the Steve Earle guitar because I couldn't get back to my office in time to get it, but one young soldier player Copperhead Road, so Steve was there in spirit.
Open Mike Nights are an absolute blast. I never resist a chance to get up on stage, but this one was special. There is a young enlisted soldier who plays a mean lead guitar and a young nurse who's a helluva singer and they asked me to join in. We rehearsed 5 songs and got to play them all. If you are wondering, the set list was:
Kiss Me – Jewel
Santa Baby – (which I always thought was done by Marilyn Monroe until I read the Wikipedia page) – Eartha Kitt
Original Piece (sorry can't remember the name) - SPC Barrows
Peaceful Easy Feeling – Eagles
Hold My Hand – Hootie and the Blowfish
I must say, we rocked the house. The harmonies were excellent. The sound was perfect. The crowd was raucous. That last part may have just been just to keep warm, but I'd like to think they were also having a good time.
Now comes the Dirty Old Man part. Talent comes in many forms. We had singers and poetry readings. We also had dancing. A group of young black soldiers got up to dance to some Cupid song (I realize I'm totally a nerd for not knowing the song or even the type of music, other than it was probably Hip Hop. Give me a break. I'm a 40 year old Jewish doctor. Get the hell off my lawn!)
Anyway, do you remember the scene in Dirty Dancing? The one where Jennifer Grey gets to look into some real dancing behind closed doors? It had a… feeling to it. It was like it was privileged information, and you felt like this was something you shouldn't be seeing. At the same time, you were mesmerized.
Jeez, this is going to sound so cliché, but black women can dance. I know. The sky is blue and cold beer tastes good. Give me a break already. I don't go to clubs and maybe since I've been without my wife for 3 ½ months it was more enticing than it should have been. Still, I felt privileged for getting a glimpse of something I would otherwise never have been able to see. I even suspect that if I walked into an all black night club the dancing would immediately change so I would never get a chance to see this kind of movement.
It's silly, but I half wanted to go up to these women and thank them personally for allowing me (and the other 60 soldiers in the crowd) to watch this.
But then everyone would know I'm a dirty old man.