In December ’84 March ’85, Eric, a college friend of the resident rocket scientist and me, blew into Atlanta on business. We went out for the evening — Eric wanted to see local talent, so we checked out a show at Emory of several one-act Sam Shepard plays and a local folksinging duet. (Yes, we were cheap — we were living off a grad student’s stipend. Serious entertainment costs money.)
There were seventeen people in the audience. Pity, because the folksingers were really pretty good, I thought. I told Eric this, and he said “Nah, they’re too derivative — they’ll never amount to anything.” As it turned out, he was wrong.
I caught the same duet in concert tonight. The venue was quite a bit bigger — the Warfield Auditorium in San Francisco, and the audience much larger — the place was packed, and the repertoire was more extensive, but they were indeed the very same Indigo Girls.
Over the years one of their songs has become an anthem for the rocket scientist (“Closer to Fine”), and another has become an anthem for me (“Prince of Darkness”). I had not followed their career, though, and thus much of the music they played tonight was delightfully new. I look forward to rediscovering them.
It doesn’t seem like it should be over twenty years, but it is. They’re my age — well into their forties — and rockin’ on, making a lovable combination of earnestly romantic and politically progressive music. Strong women — gotta love ’em.
You go, Emily and Amy. You go, Girls.
ETA: There has been a dispute between the rocket scientist and I about when that concert happened. He said December ’84, I thought February or March ’85. (Thinking about it later, I decided it was March.) I went with his date when I originally wrote this (because he usually has a better head for dates than I do), but NPR other online sources indicate that they started playing together under the name “Indigo Girls” in 1985. Whichever, it seems clear that we had a rare chance to see something being born.