Back in high school, I used to work in San Francisco at the Macy’s in Union Square. I was a receptionist at what was at the time an Elizabeth Arden Red Door salon. I used to take BART back and forth between Hayward and the city after school to work evening hours now and then, and of course, my weekends were completely spent at work.
I remember thinking that I was so cool being able to work in San Francisco as a teenager. I can’t imagine why I would think it was so cool to have to ride 45+ minutes on a train with total strangers to be “just a receptionist”, but there was something exciting about the whole experience to me.
Our mom would always let my little sister and I hop on a BART train by ourselves when I was in middle school, too. Now that was thrilling to a sixth grader! I felt so responsible and mature, watching over my sister (who back then, I assure you, was shorter than me) in the big city. I know, some of you are thinking, “how could their mom let them loose like that??! And alone??!” Well we didn’t venture very far so don’t worry. We only got off at the Powell Street stop and took the escalators up into the “7-floor mall” as we used to call it back then. I think mom gave us $10 each for “shopping” and food, and I remember thinking that was so much money. More often than not, we would bring back a pound of ground coffee (French roast because I knew she liked strong black coffee) or a bouquet of flowers for her. Just because.
Fast forward back to being a high school teenager answering phones at a semi-fancy salon and spa in San Francisco. I always had my oh-so-cool CD player and headphones with me for the trip. And I would always stop off at the Virgin megastore on Stockton Street (it’s no longer there, sadly) after work on my way to the train station, whether I could afford it or not. I enjoyed putting on the humongous headphones at different stations to listen to different CDs whether I knew the musicians or not. It was weird but fun.
I remember listening to this CD by the Push Stars for the very first time and falling in love with Chris Trapper’s voice. It was definitely “Any Little Town” that convinced me to buy the CD. And I still remember listening to it over and over and over again.
For those of you who don’t know me or my husband, music is a big part of our lives. He is a drummer and listens to things like beats, rhythm, and the clang of a cymbal. I pay attention to things like lyrics and meaning of a song more, but of course a catchy melody doesn’t hurt either. So when we first started dating, I learned about bands like the Police, singers like Kurt Elling, and musicians like Pat Metheny that were a part of his growing CD collection. In turn, he learned about singers like Sarah McLachlan, musicians like Keiko Matsui, and bands like the Push Stars from my CD collection.
This post is getting long, sorry …
So fast forward a couple of years after we first started dating and the band that he was in started recording a CD in the studio. It turned out that one of the guys that mastered the CD for the group is Dan McLoughlin of the Push Stars. Go figure. When my husband told him that I owned a Push Stars CD – and had brought it across the country with me when I moved to Boston – he was floored.
The group has since then parted but Chris Trapper has moved on with his solo career, and we had the pleasure of seeing him perform last night at the Regent Theatre. He played acoustic versions of some of the Push Star songs and a lot of his new solo stuff, and it was nice to hear that his voice really hasn’t changed since that moment I first heard it through the big headphones oh so long ago. One song that he played is one of my favorites called “Miracle”.
The woman who opened for him was Kristin Cifelli, a Boston-based singer with an incredible voice. She also sang with Chris on a couple of songs. Would love to see her live again some time when she’s done touring with him.
It was a great show even though there wasn’t a huge turn out. I had a lot of memories flash through my head from those days of traveling across the bay to work on those days that seem like forever ago. Back when I was so much more naive and fearless, falling asleep to my favorite songs during the train ride and somehow miraculously always waking up at the right moment before my stop. I love when music takes you back to those times in life when things seemed so much simpler and innocent. 🙂