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I bought the Live and Counting Crows newest releases in preparation for the upcoming Voodoo Music Festival, where they are both playing, in addition to Eminem, Cypress Hill, 311, Ben Harper, and Galactic. Quite a blend for an all day concert the weekend before Halloween. Briiiiian and Byzantine are coming to attend it with me, and I am eagerly awaiting the gathering.

I would likely not have bought them if I wasn't going to see them play live. I have a hard time enjoying a band when I don't know their newest songs, when I can't sing along because I don't know the words. I am, as you know, a creature built of words, and music is no different. For me, listening to the album prior to seeing it performed is a form of tribute, since they are touring, I'm sure, to promote themselves and the latest album. In this way, I allow myself to be a consumer, to purchase by motivation.

I know there is room in my head, somewhere, for another album of words put to music, music put to words. I put the CD in and unfold the lyrics sheet, reading ahead, finding the rhythm the line breaks afford, feeling them press each word into my mind. Yes, I thank the stereo, put someone's else's words in there besides my own.

One of my fondest memories of a concert was when I went to see Rollins Band a couple years ago; they had put out the album Come In And Burn and were touring to get it circulated. This was one time I didn't get a chance to buy it before hand, but it didn't matter. This was my man Rollins. Skunk Anansie opened for them and afterwards I bought that one too.

I got into the new songs as best I could, but again, I came to stare at Hank, who looked just as awesome as he did when I saw him tour the Get Some Go Again album earlier this year. To my delight, they played my favorite song of theirs, Low Self Opinion, one I knew the words to more than I wanted to admit. As loud as a girl by herself at a principally male show can mouth the words to a song, I did. The bassist looked right at me, with my arms flailing, knocking against the banister that was almost level to the stage, and smiled, nodding his head back in forth with me. It was that collective YES!! Someone here knows a song from an older album!! kind of look, a white grin in a black face. Golden.

But really, I don't need moments like that to reap the benefits of knowing the songs beforehand. I just feel like more of what's going on up there, that all the words the bands worked hard to remember I remember too. It's one of those rare moments where you are connected by words without having to go through the messy business of getting to know one another first. Golden.