You and Me
My Cherie Amour, 1969
I was putting the full court press on a lot of my friends to come to the WONDER-Full™ party this year and at the last minute (when I was eating a burrito across the street from the Hammerstein) I got nervous that I might be overselling it. I got there pretty early (9:30, doors opened at 9:00) and was surprised to find out that the event was in the actual ballroom (“Hammerstein Ballroom”) on the 7th floor, not in the concert venue on the first floor. I was quite a shift from last year’s all concrete warehouse setting. The ballroom featured carpeting and an expansive wedding-style wood cube dance floor that was placed in the middle for the occasion.
As usual Keistar/Spinna/Bobbito brought in their own sound which, in my estimation, has been really heavy on treble for the last two years. I brought 8 pairs of earplugs for friends after Ben was so kind as to save me the morning-after-ear-ringing last year.
There were maybe 100 people there when I got there and a quarter of them were already dancing (mostly alone on the huge almost empty dance floor) and I felt better about my campaign already, remember how serious the Wonder-Full crowd is about dancing. By 11:15, the entire dancefloor was full but the real treat came around 1:00 a.m. when Stevie showed up. There was a commotion as he (and his daughter Aisha and the rest of his entourage) walked along the side of the ballroom making there way to the front and very quickly, what had been a free-moving dance party turned into a uni-directional cell-phone-camera wielding semi-reverent mass.
That picture doesn’t do justice to the number of recording devices being used. As has been pointed out on other blogs, people seemed so consumed with trying to capture the moment that a lot of them seemed to forget to be in it. After endorsing Barack Obama and mentioning that the party was a month late (it’s traditionally been within a week of his birthday, May 13th) among other things, he sang “That Girl,” “Uptight (Everything’s All Right),” “Superstition,” and “Do I Do” more or less a capella with intense crowd participation.
He left the stage after that but came back 10 or 15 minutes later to just sit down and hang out. The funny thing was, people couldn’t handle it. Everyone rushed back up to the front and starting taking pictures…of Stevie sitting…and it went on for a while. It was a little silly. Someone asked me “why is he just sitting there?” to which I more or less replied “he’s hanging out, the real question is, why are we just standing here?” Just when people finally went back to dancing, Spinna played “Master Blaster” and Stevie got up and sang with it [insert rush-to-stage part 3]. Then talked about Syreeta (his first wife) who died in 2004. Then he left (for 15 seconds) and Spinna played “Isn’t She Lovely” (written for Aisha) which he came back and sang for her.
I thought I would post this song, one of my favorite Stevie album cuts, as a tribute to the party and his concert at Jones Beach which I saw last night. This song is also on my Music For My Funeral list. As it says on that page and it worth repeating, “You and Me” is not to be confused with the (also awesome) better known and more predictably sentimental “You and I” from Talking Book. “You and Me” instantly makes me picture sunshine and hills. It’s very much a “closing credits” song and therefore perfect for the list.
>> right-click –>
here to download the 192 kbps version [3.7 MB] and here for the 320 kbps version [6.2 MB].