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For a moment, the world around me stoppedPosted Tuesday, August 25, 2009, at 2:20 PM
It really doesn't help the street cred of an alleged music critic to suddenly rave about a song that's almost a year and a half old. However, anyone who knows me also knows I'm not terribly cool anyway.
So I'll proceed.
On Saturday night, I was fortunate enough to be at Radio Radio, a club in Indy, to see NEEDTOBREATHE play a show. I'll be talking about them in my regular review this week, though. Look for that in a few days.
The opening act was a guy named Griffin House. I've seen quite a few openers in my life. Most of the time, the opening act gets some attention, but it's often a time more for chatting and drinks until the real show starts.
In this particular case, though, the crowd was pretty attentive. There was some idle chat, but the fans were largely into it.
But nothing prepared me for approximately the fourth song of the set. Griffin suddenly left the stage, leaving his other guitarist to banter with the crowd for a few minutes. He returned with a harmonica, saying he couldn't do the next song without it.
He then told us a story about his grandfather, a World War II vet who used to tell his family he shot off Hitler's mustache and kept it in his back pocket.
Griffin said his grandfather is 89, and when he dies, the family is going to get into his wallet and see if it contains Hitler's mustache.
With that funny intro, he threw us a changeup and went into this song:
On a sidenote, that's his actual grandfather.
As the song ended, I couldn't move. There were tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. The rest of the crowd was equally riveted. The idle chat was gone. Mr. House had the attention he deserved.
I have to thank him for one of the best concert moments I can remember. (And I've had a few.)
I definitely walked out a fan.
I've looked around the Internet at comments and discussions about this song, and people are divided over its political message, but I'm not interested in that at all.
War is terrible and frightening for the young men and women involved. Whenever I hear this song I have two thoughts. The first is to find a veteran of any war and just say, "Thank you."
No political discussion matters as much as a simple expression of gratitude for such bravery.
My second thought is to say a little prayer for my friends and family members serving overseas and echo the final line of the song: "God, bring him home again."
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.