The Jayhawks in Chicago

Watching a favorite band perform live is wondrous. Seeing a favorite band that broke up and got back together for a reunion show is soul shifting. This happened to me last Friday night at the Vic Theatre with The Jayhawks. It was an experience that I never thought I’d have.

The Jayhawks formed in Minneapolis more than 25 years ago. As I wrote in a 2009 review, they were quietly credited with being a backbone of the alt-country movement. Maybe it’s their tragic harmonies or rugged lyrics, but I’ve never found another band whose music makes me so equally happy and sad. And even though I’ve attended hundreds of concerts and worked at a music hall when I was younger, this show presented several firsts. We were among the youngest people in attendance. There was no elbowing to get up front or shoving near the beer line. And I actually suggested that we move to the back of the room midway through to avoid post-show-ringing-ear-syndrome. These mini epiphanies taught me that life really is fleeting and you really should seize seemingly unseizeable moments. It proved that a band with more personality conflicts than Real World cast members can mend and move on. It taught me the value of concert etiquette and the wisdom of caring for oneself. Clearly, I’m getting older — but I’m still learning how to bask in music instead of just listening to it.