At about 4 p.m. on Sunday I get a call from one of my friends saying that he has an extra ticket to see Burt Bacharach at the Summer Pops at the Embarcadero. I LOVE Burt Bacharach. He has been among the artists that I would like to see before they pass away (or quit touring altogether). Among this group includes Etta James (who I am seeing in September), Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant… I am sure there is more that I am forgetting.
Burt Bacharach is a legend in songwriting and composing. He is the man behind many popular songs that were sung by Dionne Warwick, Luther Vandross, Tom Jones, the Drifters and many more. He has influenced many artists over the history of his career. I really shouldn’t need to tout him. His music speaks for itself, especially when accompanied by the San Diego Symphony. I could feel the rises and falls of the power and emotion that he consiously put behind each song. This is how it is supposed to be heard.
Halfway through the program, my now drunk friend convinced me to move to the front. I was hesitant, but knowing that he was pissing off the people where we were sitting, I felt maybe we could find a more tolerable neighbor. And we did… two rows from the front. The first two songs of the second set I was fearing that we may be removed from our seats since my friend was now singing loudly and poorly along with the music… as well as taking time in between one of the sets to shout “Your the man!!!” to Burt Bacharach, who graciously smiled in our direction.
Luckily for me and the rest of the crowd (sadly for my friend), my friend fell asleep until the last couple of songs. My friend ended up missing Burt Bacharach singing “A House is Not a Home” and “Alfie” as well as small parts of other pieces in his weak, fading voice. It was serene and sad all at once. I got the feeling that he would not be singing much longer and that hearing his voice in song was something that I needed to cherish. Seeing someone age in front of your eyes brings sadness but also appreciation for what that person has gone through to get this far. I can’t turn back the clock to have seen him and other acts in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s but I can let everything that is happening right now sink in, so I can share my stories with future generations.