Metallica, Crying, Hamilton, And Brunch

I had a really good Friday night.

I don’t have a copy editor for this personal blog. Please send all typos and corrections to aaron.burr@state.gov. Thanks! - A

The first time I saw Metallica play I cried through the opening songs. I had spent more hours than I want to admit listening to their music, especially through my teenage years. By the time I got a chance to see the ‘tallica boys their records were part of my being and hearing them live was too much for me to hold in all at once.

So I cried more than I knew was possible, in public, while singing along as loudly as I could. It’s still one of the best nights of my life.

Tonight was nearly a repeat. Liza and I just got back from seeing Hamilton, a piece of art that I’ve loved since I first saw the clip of Lin Manuel Miranda performing one of its songs at the White House. (Michelle Obama reprises this a bit in her book Becoming, which you should read.)

What a badass, I thought, to get in front of such an august crowd and do that.

I’m no theater historian, but I think at that point the musical wasn’t done, the songs weren’t hits, and Miranda himself wasn’t a beloved national figure. Yet. But it was good, and when the rest of the music came into my life I put it on repeat. It hasn’t left regular rotation since.

And, a bit like Metallica, when Hamilton kicked off tonight with a bang I nearly cried. I kept tearing up throughout the show, especially at the end during the orphanage song. It wasn’t the full-face deluge from that night in Chicago during Metallica’s World Magnetic tour, but it was crying or something close.

I really don’t cry much. I nearly cried when I got married, tearing up during our vows. And that was just a few weeks ago. I’ve got two almost-cries in in under two months!

It’s lovely to be moved by something so much, to be grabbed by the collar by a piece of art, say, that you can’t contain your response. That’s the good stuff.

When we got home I called my parents, raving about the show, promising to send them to see it when it plays a bit closer to where they live. They were excited about how excited we were, and for some other reasons too. My mom was jazzed because she’s an art fanatic and gallery curator (more on some of her recent work here, she’s amazing), and my dad because he and I are reading The Federalist Papers at the moment as part of our father-son bookclub. Getting to tell him that the book we’re reading got a shoutout in the show was icing on an already slathered cake.

I’m nearly forgetting the brunch connection. Let me rewind a few days. Liza and I met a bundle of friends for food this Sunday (at Plant City, vegans rejoice) where we spent part of the time talking about crying. About how it is good, and can be a pretty healthy thing to do.

I don’t cry much, I said truthfully. Just the wedding in the last few years, I thought. Little did I know that just a few days later, a musical about a historical figure would do the trick yet again.

What a good night. Hell yeah, music.