First Time For Real

How will I feel when I hear the Indigo Girls live?

by James Brotheridge

As a kid, I think the only hope for me discovering the Indigo Girls would’ve been if they’d had a spot on my dad’s copy of the Friends soundtrack. They didn’t, so they didn’t sneak their way into my brainspace until later. The first time I can remember thinking of them, the first actual Indigo Girls memory I have, is when I was asking a friend at the time what he’d do for a job when he moved to Atlanta, Georgia.

“I know the dad of one of the Indigo Girls,” he said.

“That’s it?”

“Yeah, that’ll be good.”

It wasn’t until years later, working at a chain bookstore in Regina that I got to know one of their songs.

The in-store P.A. system had a terrifically small loop of music, so if I was working while the store was open (I usually started before it opened), I might hear the complete version of the Cheers theme song twice. Ditto for old Beatles songs, mixed for stereo with all the vocals in one channel and our store only playing the other channel over the speakers, effectively playing early Beatles instrumentals. Later, there were a lot of Beatles covers, the worst in my memory being “Hey Jude” where the singer couldn’t hit the fabulous scream from the original.

And the second Jann Arden covers album. An unidentifiable live jazz song. “Big Yellow Taxi”. I still can’t deal with Joni’s laugh at the end of that one. It’s fine heard once in a while, but after multiple plays per day for months, it makes me twitch.

A friend who started there before me always told horror stories of Ben Lee’s “Catch My Disease”, as if it almost prompted a physical reaction in him every time he heard it during its months-long stay on the rotation.

And the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine”, over and over and over and over again.

While I’ve heard the song hundreds of time, I’ve never given it a substantive listen. I don’t know the lyrics to the song. I know “closer I am to fiiiii-iiine, yeah-eh-yeah-yeah.” I could hear “doctor of philosophy” every now and then between bookshelves.

I’m curious to see what they’re like at the Regina Folk Festival on the main stage on Saturday night.

I’m also curious to see what “Closer to Fine” sounds like when my hands aren’t dried out from book dust or my psyche scarred by Joni Mitchell’s never-ending laugh.

2014-08-07