In Defense Of Tuesday
Tuesday is often viewed as nothing more than the day before "Hump Day," but, in reality, it is so much more than that. It just might be Sheryl Crow's favorite day of the week as she writes about, "drinking beer at noon on Tuesday in a bar that faces a giant car wash," in "All I Wanna Do," and a girl named Easter who was born on a Tuesday night, in "Everyday Is A Winding Road." It's also the day of the week that my daughter, Stella, was born, and she certainly lives up to the old adage that, "Tuesday's child likes to race."
But today is a Tuesday that all the world recognizes as "Fat Tuesday," or "Mardi Gras," in French. Mardi Gras arrived in North America during the late 19th century, as a result of an expedition set forth by King Louis XIV, who wanted to secure France's claim on "Louisiane," a territory which now consists of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Most people associate Mardi Gras with a day of eating, drinking, and being merry, as it's the last chance before the Catholic tradition of giving up such pleasures for Lent, which begins tomorrow. When I think of Mardi Gras, however, I think of the Dave Matthews Band.
Perhaps it's because the first time I ever saw the band, I was watching David Letterman from a friend's apartment in New Orleans. I was visiting for Mardi Gras, and before we went to join the parade, we watched the program that would forever change my life. It was the first time that I ever saw Dave, the first time that I ever heard, "What Would You Say," and the first time that I truly fell in love with a band at first sight. That was 18 years ago, and I am still outrageously smitten. For this reason, I've always associated DMB with the city of New Orleans, and Mardi Gras in particular.
And then there is DMB's second to last album, "Big Whiskey and The Groogrux King," which was, in part, recorded in The Big Easy. The album cover, which, if you remember, was unveiled to us in pieces was originally thought, by many, to be a picture of Mardi Gras festivities. Upon seeing all of the parts, we realized that, instead, Dave's art depicts a classic New Orleans funeral procession, with a beautiful tribute to LeRoi Moore in the center. In fact, "Big Whiskey," is the last album on which we are treated to LeRoi's soulful sounds.
In many ways, "Big Whiskey," brought New Orleans itself into the recording studio. Dave has always believed in incorporating part of his surroundings into the music, a trait that has stuck with him since his days in South Africa. So, during "Big Whiskey," the barking of a local dog, the sounds of a fruit and vegetable seller, and the story of Hurricane Katrina, as told in "Alligator Pie," are scattered throughout the album.
So, as we reflect on our own meanings of Mardi Gras, it seems a perfect day to wash out the tired notion that the best is yet to come. Instead, live as if this were the last stop and let love be your wings.