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Randy_NewmanOne of the wonderful, beautiful things about New York City is that you can happen upon something unexpectedly great like I did tonight – a free Randy Newman concert at the Apple Store in SoHo. He did a half-hour show of tunes from his new album, Harps & Angels. Trust me, you need to buy it right now. (Randy Newman is performing at Carnegie Hall Sept 19.)
The last song he sang tonight was “Feels Like Home,”, which I first heard him sing to about 300 people in the waterfront courtyard behind the World Financial Center not too long after 9/11. The fires at the site were still smouldering, the workers still sifting through the pile for bodies. It was misting rain, and we stood in a sea of umbrellas. It getting dark, and I think it was late October, because it was chilly.
But there was something so comforting, so re-assuring to be hearing live music again in that courtyard, in our poor, beat up neighborhood, where music and dancing and all sorts of lovely events took place regularly before 9/11. It’s a place where so many of us have had so many good times. It was the first concert since the disaster, and it felt like we were reclaiming our neighborhood, and our city. We’d made it through and we could still come together to have fun. There was something magical about that. And from the first note he sang, it was clear that Randy Newman knew how we felt in a heartbeat.
When he sang “Feels Like Home, his beautiful song about how love made him feel like he was home at last, many of us in the crowd put our arms around the people next to us and cried. It was, as I told Randy Newman tonight, a cathartic and happy moment, despite the tears. Because at that moment, the feeling that gently wove through the group of us was that we would be home soon, and that it was all going to be allright.
Thank you again, Randy Newman.