Life Behind the Velvet Rope: Featuring Maxwell
November 29, 2012
I don't think I've written a real fan letter since John Schneider starred in the Dukes of Hazard, so you're in fine company.
Or something like that.
Last weekend, I had the good fortune of attending your Winter Warm-Up Concert at the Foxwoods/MGM Grand Theatre. It was a make-up for me too. Last summer, I scored, (sniff) fifth row (sniff, sniff) tickets to your cancelled shows in New Jersey. Man, was I ready to rock my jumpsuit. An epic weekend for sure.
But then there was that throat surgery.
And my jumpsuit stayed in the closet.
Fast forward to Saturday night. And excuse me if I get a little pissy. My irritation isn't directed towards you. Nope. I'm angry for you. And I guess it's been brewing for a while.
Truth is, I've been a fan since the very beginning. And outside of 'For Lovers Only' (I'm sorry. Any touch of country twang gives me instant hives), you can do no wrong. I am still amazed how every single one of your albums, from start to finish, are going strong in my personal rotation. That's a testament, not only to your perfectionism, but your refusal to cave to outside pressure to release a project until you deem it finished. Even as the world loses patience with your timeline.
With a whole bunch of live shows under my belt, nine and counting, I've also been privy to not only your consummate professionalism, but your extreme humility. I had the privilege of hanging out at the Times Square meet and greet after your last show in June, 2010. And that's where it all started to click for me. The metaphor of life behind the velvet rope that must ring a bit too true.
Straight up: Folks forget there's an actual person powering that voice. Or maybe it's the other way around.
Here's the thing, after a free cosmo, or three, and the urging of my angel husband, I worked my way over to say hello. I couldn't get this close and pass up this opportunity--or worse, take on the negative vibe of the sour ladies a table away, who were incredulous that you weren't working the room.
I got my reward alright. Two unsolicited hugs. That's right. Read it and weep. What's my secret? It wasn't a low cut blouse, red lips or heavy fawning. I think we connected because, newsflash, I treated you like a real person. Listen, that's just what I do, but it became clear to me, through your sweet shyness, this human to human vibe is far from the norm. Especially in this hyped up celebrity hungry world of: "What Have You Done For Me Lately?"
So listen man, because you've proven to me over and over that you are a genuine solid dude, I've got your back with this whole Winter Warm-Up mess. Go ahead and cover your ears because it's going to get ugly; I know you're a lover, not a fighter. But some of this East Coast Maxwell Nation has got it a bit twisted and they need to stand corrected.
Listen, NJ and CT. I so get it. I'm a Northeast girl. You know, AKA the center of the universe. But these two shows that came our way didn't come courtesy of hitting the Maxwell lottery. The low-down: Brooklyn brother, just came off throat surgery. He can rehab all he wants in the privacy of his own Manhattan digs. But eventually, if he wants to keep on performing live, he's going to have to bring those pipes out into the public.
For a test.
Yup. Sorry. You can go on believing that Maxwell really loves us best. (You do, don't you, Max?) But the truth is those two Warm-Up shows could have easily been called: Let's Take To The Stage and See What We've Got. Now would not be the time to tell me you were expecting some sort of full-fledged stadium production. I repeat. Two. Dates.
And, could we just pause for a second and consider the balls it took to come out on stage in the first place? Maxwell doesn't know how his voice is going to hold up over two hours, nevermind two days. And with a cold on top of everything, I'd say all things considered, he worked it out better than fine. He's a man, not a machine.
Yeah, I would have been cool with an more accurate start time, and spending more time in my room, enjoying another bottle of two buck chuck, instead of rushing to try to get to church on time. But how much of that is in Maxwell's personal control and how much lies with the venue and/or promoters? Someone hook me up with a drink next time and we're straight.
Maxwell, you've still got my admiration and respect. And that rendition of 'Symptom Unknown'? Off the chart. I only wish my husband had the sense to illegally video it.
So what the hell is up with the rest of you? Where's the love? The appreciation? Does anyone remember that EIGHT YEAR vacation a certain someone took not too long ago. And wasn't this Thanksgiving weekend after all. Can't we just be grateful the surgery seems to have corrected the problem and no one's dealing with a career ending injury? Stand up in our damn seats and dance in the aisles?
Maxwell, you're still here right? I so get it now. So go on. Poof. Disappear if you must. Book some sort of Caribbean cruise and hide behind your straw fedora and Ray Bans. Apparently absence really does makes the heart grow fonder. Oh, and if you make it to Puerto Rico, can you bring me back some rum?
Until next time, with much respect and appreciation,
Dawn from Providence