Lately, I've been thinking about the idea of foreshadowing, in the sense that I think it happens more than we realize. Those of us that are readers will recognize the term as that which signifies what is to come in a story. But if we look around, we can find clues everywhere about events that are yet to happen. I'll generously spare you my theory on how this works in everyday life, but there's one place where I think the dynamics might be of interest to you.
Every year, and if we're lucky multiple times a year, we head out to the Dave Matthews Band concerts in anticipation of great shows. Some of us have our fantasy set-lists and we psych ourselves up on the way and try to imagine what songs we'll hear. And once we get to the venue, the anticipation only grows. Dave, of course, knows this and drops little hints before every song. Upon much consideration, I think Dave's hints can be divided into three rigorously defined categories: obvious, less obvious, and not obvious at all. Some of the obvious hints are the Southern rambling he does before “Cornbread,” and the different but equally unintelligible musings before “So much to Say,” and “Eh-hee.” Less obvious hints would be like when he said, “Everybody's got a story,” before “Gravedigger” in Live Trax 9, or when he told us, “This is not a song about totem poles or sporting events,” before “Crush” at Radio City Music Hall. Both of these examples fall into my less obvious category because if you think about what he said, it's “clear” that he was ambiguously insinuating what was coming next. Indeed, “Gravedigger” is an account of various people's life stories, and “Crush” is a passionate, whimsical, love-struck song lacking any mention of totem poles, sporting events, or other achievement oriented images.
That brings us to the not obvious at all category. Here's where I fear I might lose some of you like I did when I told my friends about my “last name corresponds with job choice” theory. But I digress, and anyway, if you made it this far you probably have an open mind about these things. So, in this category are Dave's “random” comments that in hindsight don't seem random at all. Consider in Live Trax 6 where he said, “I'll try standing a little taller so y'all can see a little better,” before launching into “Proudest Monkey,” who, as we know, is “Walking tall, head high up and singing.” Or try Live at Piedmont Park where he's talking about playing with the Allman Brothers and says, “The world is upside down and crazy but I just tell you it's such an honor to share the stage with those men,” before singing “To change the world, start with one step. And however small, the first step is hardest of all.” Finally, let's look at Live Trax 9 in Vegas where he advises, “Don't gamble if you're drunk, cuz that would make you bold and stupid,” before belting out “Louisiana Bayou,” a song detailing various acts that could easily be considered both bold and stupid.
And there you have it. I realize that this is not a scientific theory and I'm sure there are plenty of examples that would not fit into this framework. But, what if there's even a little truth to what I'm suggesting? If there is, I wonder if Dave is aware of it or if it's something that comes from his unconscious. If only I could interview him for these articles! In any event, it gives us something to think about as we wait for the Spring tour and the new album. Maybe thinking about the idea of foreshadowing makes waiting easier because it reminds us that things are always in the works even when we can't see what's happening; that there is motion in stillness and whispers in the wind.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and The Search for True Self