Reunion Peeps

The Messengers Rock at SOhO Reunion.

It’s a loaded word, a word whose warm-fuzzy implications are often tempered by an undercurrent of fear, loathing, or a desire to go into hiding. Take high school reunions, for example: Sure, it sounds fun to see the old friends with whom we’ve lost touch, but when you find yourself cornered by a Botoxed-to-the-point-of-expressionlessness someone you’re not sure you ever actually knew in high school, who’s giving you the blow-by-blow of what happened between her and her high school boyfriend, whom you also don’t recall, you remember why you were so anxious to get the hell out of there oh-so-many years ago.

Family reunions are more likely to involve panic over attempting to dodge drunk Uncle Wilbur before your significant other realizes just how murky the waters of your gene pool actually are than the easy bonding of DNA that they should be. And then there’s the reunion show — a thinly veiled attempt at resuscitating otherwise flat-lined careers — that’s good for little other than reminding us why the show was cancelled in the first place. A Very Brady Christmas, anyone? Painful.

However, on Friday night I attended a reunion of another sort, and this one was all good. The Messengers, beloved jam band born of Gaucho roots in ’90s-era I.V., decided to reconvene for an evening at SOhO, and when the invite landed in my inbox, I was stoked. Not just because I love the band — in addition to being a guaranteed good time, one of their shows is an experience that promises familiar faces, flailing limbs, and, always, a theme — this time flowers.

Happily, this reunion did not disappoint — even the rain didn’t deter the die-hard group of partyers. Walking in, I ran into a couple of the guys in the band, getting their buzz on before taking the stage. I wished them luck, and headed toward the bar. A few steps farther, I spotted some old friends who’d relocated to Oregon, but happened to be in town. By the time I got a drink in my hand, I’d probably stopped and chatted with 20 people I hadn’t seen in ages. There were newly minted mommies and daddies, friends whose careers or lack thereof had forced them to move, and friends who’d stayed local, but whose paths I hadn’t crossed in a while: the perfect makings for a positive reunion experience. And the night only got better. I may be biased, but The Messengers were the best I’d ever seen them. They’ve added drummers and a keyboardist since their early days, and the barefoot crew rocked the house, burned the barn, and kept us dancing ’til last call.

While the one bright spot about most reunions is that they don’t happen very often, this one got me to thinking: If everyone always has such a good time, why relegate it to the rare event — why not make it part of the routine? (Are you reading this, guys? WHYYY?) But when the haze of the evening faded, I realized I knew the answer. Life — work, babies, miles — comes between us. But Friday night, we were reunited, and it felt so good.

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