If you know anything about me, it might surprise you I went to a Jason Mraz show. Although I’d love to say I’m open-minded about most things, I’m particular about music. For reasons that’ll soon be obvious, I’d rather say as little about the music itself as I possibly can.
To each his own, I say…or I try. Here was a venue filled with his adoring fans, and who was I to question the man’s songwriting or performing abilities? No, I’d rather simply not go there. For one thing, I was there at the invitation of one of those committed fans and a lot was riding on whether I could mask my real impressions regarding the evening.
Instead of dealing with all of that, I’d rather focus on more important things. Things such as Jason Mraz personally breaking my fingernail. Well, not personally. Nevertheless, it did happen at his show and there were a lot of butterflies and good vibrations graphics up on screens behind the stage, so I think indirectly he’s responsible.
‘Why does it matter anyway?‘ I can almost hear you asking. ‘You’re a dude. Why do you even have fingernails long enough to be broken?‘
It’s the fingernail on my ring finger of my right hand, which incidentally is rather important to me. I play acoustic string instruments, and have never quite gotten the hang of playing with a pick. I use my fingernails. It feels better to play this way, and, in my opinion, it sounds better.
It’s certainly not a matter of life and death, but it is frustrating. And while waiting for my nail to grow back, I’m left playing strangely syncopated rhythms that’d make even Thelonious Monk uncomfortable. Not a pretty sight, either. It’s like there’s a part of me missing.
After making such potentially specious allegations against Mr Mraz, I suppose I should at least attempt to recreate the scene. You can decide for yourself if I’ve got a case.
See, we were at one of my least favourite local music venues. There are some bad places to hear music in the world, but Zenith in Munich really is one of the worst rooms I’ve ever encountered. Acoustically, it’s the equivalent of an airplane hangar with the doors wide open.
Every time I hear a concert there, I vow that it’ll be my last. Not my last show – just the last one at this godforsaken location. It’s that bad. Don’t go there.
Then, for some reason we seem to have chosen the perfect spot in the audience to stumble in and out of the crowd. General admission without any seats means you’re going to have a bit of mayhem, and I’m all for mayhem, but there seemed to be a thoroughfare of people either leaving or going towards the prime real estate right in front of the stage and that thoroughfare went directly through me.
As if I was wearing a sign on my back that said, ‘You need to knock this guy down before you get to enjoy some soothing, uplifting tunes about peace and harmony,’ and these were some earnest and committed fans who weren’t going to let anything come between them and their namaste.
In retrospect, I realise now that I was ok with all of that. At the time, it was a bit annoying, but if it’d just been that, I’d have let the evening’s entertainment wash over me, and make my way back to my temporary bed, where I’d most probably sleep deeply with a good-natured sense of purpose and presence. This music was going to work its magic on me whether I wanted it to or not.
But then it happened. I’d come to terms with my evening and made some sort of a reserved peace with all of it up to that point. Despite the fact that I cannot prove it, I have come to understand that it was then Jason Mraz intentionally sent one of his zombie-like pod-people fans to wreak havoc on me and my carefully crafted personal détente with him.
One of those people on the well-worn path directly through where I was standing either dropped or knocked over a sugary beverage right where my bag was standing. At some point soon thereafter, I looked down and there was a lake the size of Buffalo at my feet. My things were soaked and I suddenly lost all sense of hard-fought mellowness I’d achieved as a result of the music.
In a rage, I scooped up my possessions and stormed back towards the exit. Glaring at the first aid volunteers provided by the Red Cross, who were standing by in case of an emergency, I was quietly seething that they didn’t recognise the severity of my predicament. My things were all wet and sticky. Isn’t there some sort of Red Cross protocol for just such an eventuality?
Well, there should be.
Only after I’d completely dried off my bag, entirely without any assistance from the nearby Good Samaritans I might add, I noticed that my above-mentioned fingernail had been broken during the melee.
He might be singing about eating vegan and everybody getting along with one another, but my fingernail’s gone and I’m holding Jason Mraz personally responsible.