Best Laid Plans

The Ottawa Jazz Festival ended last night.

If you were planning on attending and hadn’t noted the dates you probably aren’t all that thrilled with me for bringing that up. My apologies…but really, it is up to you to keep on track of these things. I am neither your mother nor your secretary.

I mention Jazzfest’s ending because for months I had been planning on being there for the finale. The closing act for the festival was not a jazz act, but Brian Wilson, legendary singer/songwriter of the Beach Boys. What better music for a hot summer’s night? Especially as he was to perform the landmark album Pet Sounds in its entirety.

I’m sure the reviews in this morning’s paper will proclaim it as the best show of 2016, maybe the best concert the city has seen in decades. I have that assurance because at the last minute I decided to skip the show, and inevitably that will mean it was something I shouldn’t have passed up on.

It must be a sign of old age. Or just a busy week ahead (and behind). Wilson was scheduled to hit the stage at 8:30 p.m. At 6 I thought that maybe I might pass on the show, I was a bit tired. At 7 it was pretty definite, I didn’t feel like making the trek downtown, no matter how nice the evening.

If I had bought my ticket in advance I might have forced myself onto the bus (and probably loved the show). But I must confess, facing the disaster that we call a transit system in Ottawa dissuaded me. Sunday bus service is nowhere near as efficient as during the weekday. And, with the system in the middle of a three (or is it five) year construction delay, I think twice before getting on the bus to go anywhere these days. And I meant to buy a ticket the day they went on sale, but I got sidetracked. And since it as an outdoor festival show I knew I could pick one up at the last minute.

The thing is, I have seen Brian Wilson before, a couple of ties with the Beach Boys and most recently at the 2008 Ottawa Bluesfest. If I had never seen him perform I would have made it to the show, no matter bad bus service and how tired I was feeling.

I’m wondering though, is my decision to stay home a sign of old age, or just of maturity. I made what I thought was the best choice, considering not just the evening and the entertainment but looking at the overall picture. Am I finally growing up?  That would be pretty scary!

There is a substitute for the show: the 2015 film Love & Mercy. I wrote about it here if you want my impressions. I recently watched it again, and found it just as compelling. (My wife was not as entranced, she saw the negative aspects of the story and didn’t find the film terribly uplifting.) If you get the chance, check it out and tell me what you think.


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