Ah, I do so love it when an evening turns out unexpectedly to be a real treat. I went yesterday to a bar in Wiesbaden not having much of a clue what the music was going to be like. I'd been invited as part of an English-speaking group; whilst I speak German at work, and try hard to improve constantly, it is occasionally good to natter away with people in my mother tongue - you don't have to THINK all the time. So if the proposed evening sounds at all interesting, I try to go along (many of them I don't make due to performances or rehearsals - most, like yesterday's, have to be accepted on a provisional basis until I know whether I have the evening free).
Anyway, as I say, I went along for a little conversation in English and because the guitarists involved were relatives of Django Reinhardt, whose music I love. Because we were pretty late getting there, all the tables were taken. We squeezed ourselves into a corner at the front on little stools, ordered (very nice) wine, and nattered happily until the concert started.
At which point I found myself about as near as you can get without actually playing the guitar for someone to Lulo Reinhardt, and not that much further away from Mike Reinhardt. My goodness, but this was a feast for a musician! Virtuoso playing, my GOD can these guys coax wonderful sounds out of their guitars, but it was far, far more than that - they were really making MUSIC, and having a blast at the same time. Tossing solo opportunities and flamenco rhythms back and forwards (the concert was billed as Gypsy Swing, and was a glorious mixture of styles), slipping in odd little musical quotations which made me giggle, grinning madly at each other. At one point they introduced their "special guests", who were young members of the same family, one on guitar, the other on percussion; it was particularly touching to note how they supported them musically, the focused energy and attention almost visible. I felt completely part of the music they made and could feel it flowing through me. Didn't hurt that I really was so close that when they took a break, Lulo handed his guitar to me whilst he saw to something else...
I left feeling totally uplifted and inspired (the particular lesson I took from this, as a musician, is that it IS possible to be technically pretty much perfect and yet still perform with boundless passion and energy; something that we do need to be reminded of on a regular basis, as it is not at all easy to get that particular balance right). I am ridiculously lucky to have had such a glorious experience, and this is definitely one of those evenings that will never fade!