Julie Stalmer 7:15 p.m., June 25
- Community Blog
The biggest fan
Gregory Page thinks I am in love with him. It all started innocently enough. In fact, I came to adore his music completely by accident. I heard a Tom Brosseau song on NPR one afternoon. I loved the rawness and honesty of his lyrics so much that I googled him. I found out he would be in San Diego the very next week. He was scheduled to play at a little place called the North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shop. I decided not to miss it.
Upon entering the Vaudeville, a tiny kitschy little theater with seating for just 35, I fell in love with its old school charm. The candy store was filled to the brim with 1950’s style treats. The woman working behind the counter appeared to have stepped out of a black and white movie.
The first performer to come on stage that night was Gregory Page. He was wearing an old fashioned hat and a vintage suit that may, or may not, have had actual dust on it. He sang most of his songs with Erika Davies. Her voice was so charming that I would not have been fazed if birds settled on her shoulders and a small deer walked on stage and nuzzled against her feet. A violin player by the name of Ray Suen accompanied them on stage. He was amazing. Every song they performed was hauntingly beautiful.
Next Roy Ruiz Clayton, a Dylanesque type musician, played a few songs. He was so entertaining that I wished he could come over for dinner so he could share stories about his life over meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
Lastly Tom Broussea appeared on stage. Although we had come to see him, it was clear the Gregory Page had stolen the show.
I was enchanted by the whole evening. I loved how vintage the music was. It was the kind of evening that made me want to go home afterward and write for hours on end.
On the car ride home I was buzzing with excitement.
“Wasn’t tonight amazing?! I think it might have been one of the greatest live performances I’ve ever seen.” I told my husband.
He agreed. Within a period of a couple of hours the two of us had become huge Gregory Page fans.
From that day on Gregory Page was my favorite San Diego musician. If he was playing somewhere around town I would try to secure a babysitter so that we could make it. While I adore his music, I have learned that none of his shows since have been able to capture quite the same emotion and excitement of that Vaudeville show. I took my friends to see him at Lestat’s on night and they complained afterward that they had been bored. I was annoyed, annoyed with myself for having friends that could not see the geniusness of Mr. Page and with Gregory himself for not wowing them. It was in that moment that I realized that I need to take a Gregory Page hiatus, a short one so that I could have a vaudeville type experience all over again.
An entire year, or perhaps a year and half, went by between attending one of his performances. Three weeks ago, my husband and I had a sitter and nothing really to do. Aaron suggested seeing some local music.
“Gregory Page is having a CD release party at Café Libertalia tonight.” My husband told me.
And so we went. First we stopped at the Blind Lady Ale House where I drank not one, but two double IPA’s. I arrived at the café slightly intoxicated.
I could see Gregory Page standing in the back of the venue. He was wearing a white polyester jacket circa 1960 and brown slacks. Seated around the stage where a handful of people, all of whom appeared to be personal friends of Mr. Page. I felt weird, like we crashing a personal party.
After the performance everyone left; It was just Aaron and I standing in front of a table neatly arranged with CD’s. Aaron went to the bathroom. It was just me and Gregory Page. I awkwardly attempted small talk with a man whose music I adore, the guy that I have called a musical genius, all the while possibly slurring due to the alcohol I had ingested an hour earlier. I told him that we had three children and don’t get out often. He asked their names. He commented on how beautiful the name Amelia was. I went on and on about how I had named her, not my husband, it had been all my idea.
“My husband” I told him “Wanted to call her something boring like Josie.”
I wouldn’t shut up, I was prattling on and on about how terrible Aaron’s taste in baby names where. I realized that perhaps it appeared I was complaining about my husband, and that maybe Gregory Page thought I was hitting on. I felt like an idiot. When Aaron finally got out of the bathroom we picked out a CD to buy. Mr. Page insisted that we have it for free. I couldn’t help but feel like maybe it was a pity gift because he realized that I had just acted like a total idiot. Perhaps he sensed how completely mortified I was.
When we got outside I told Aaron how much of an idiot I had made of myself.
“I was going on and on about Amelia’s name and how you convinced me to give the boys normal, boring, everyday names. I think he thought I was hitting on him.”
“He’s just a normal dude, I bet he poops.” Aaron laughed.
“You’re dumb." I replied
I am glad my Gregory page hiatus is over, hopefully the next time I attend one of his shows he will not remember me.