Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jessi Meets The National (or at least Matt) in Central Park!


I am still ecstatic about my random encounter with Matt Berninger from The National in Central Park on Tuesday. I'd been in the city for meetings on Monday and Tuesday and finished around 4 that day. I was meeting Kevin for a drink after work and his office was a block away from my building. I was in stilettos for the second day in a row and already so close to Kevin's place, but something was drawing me to the park, aching feet be damned.

I walked into the entrance at Columbus Circle, ready to sit in my favorite row of benches and there was Matt on the second bench. I knew immediately, but it took a second glance to convince myself. Besides, only musicians and artists can get away with the funky, green sunglasses he was wearing. (This from the girl who was in all black and white.) I sat down next to him and introduced myself, managed to say that I LOVE The National! and then we chatted for a few minutes. He was enjoying the day around town with another guy from Dayton, which I learned after excitedly announcing that I'm from Ohio. After establishing myself as the crazy girl from Ohio, I told him that I didn't want to be a stalker, so I'd go sit across the way, but it was great to meet him. I had my camera and kinda wished that I'd gotten a picture with him, but I was afraid that it would ruin the moment.

I was so proud of myself for keeping it together and having a regular conversation, but kinda wish that I'd told him that
  1. I was so happy that they came out for a second encore to play Gospel in Brooklyn in February.
  2. I wish they'd told the crowd to stand on Friday night, because one shouldn't be forced to sit at their concerts.
  3. Their music has overtaken my life in the past year, but I have yet to tire of it and continue to find bootlegs to add to my collection.
  4. My YouTube videos won over a few people from the crowd at the South Street Seaport who left with a bad impression due to some bad acoustics and the setup of the stacks. Fortunately, I was 5 rows back and the sound came across perfectly on my little Sony camera. (Still, not enough people are watching my videos of the band. I should be much more famous than I am. )
  5. And if they ever need someone to work on their tour, I'd leave my job in a second.

I grabbed a seat a little further down the row and was able to hold it together until they left the park at which time I immediately called my favorite music friends and was excitedly yelling about my encounter, throwing fist-pumps in the air and howling like our favorite Canadian gambling partner in Vegas. There was an Adrian Brody-esque European guy across the way who I first assumed must think I was absolutely insane, but he was actually quite intrigued. And if I hadn't been talking to The Warners, I would've ventured over to say hello before he left.

The best part of this story is the karmic revelation it brought me. I'd gotten in touch with Cloud Cult's manager in order to meet the band at their upcoming show, since they're Jeff's favorite band and I love making connections in the music industry. I was amazed when he wrote back that it would be cool and very proud of myself, but also a little sad that no one would ever get me backstage to meet The National. (Yes, there was even stomping about this, combined with my general crankiness on Monday.) Yet, the universe righted itself on Tuesday, when amazingly, the lead singer of my favorite band was sitting right in front of me. I decided that it was the universe's way of telling me to still do good things for people, even if things don't seem to be going the right way, everything will work itself out.

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