He arrives thirty minutes early for the show. He thinks it’s wiser to eat something before; after all, he hasn’t dined yet. He parks the car in front of a social service office. Although it’s Sunday, he questions himself if he can do this, if it’s legally ok to park the car in this place. He eventually shrugs and ditches the issue, and goes across the street to the craft beer shop. He enters the shop and counts two waiters standing next to the kitchen, a couple sitting at the bar, and three forty-something-year old people sitting at a table. He goes to the bar and asks for a stout beer and something to eat. The only food they have is pie, chicken or meat. He chooses chicken. He drinks the beer smoothly, he enjoys its round flavor. When the pie arrives he proceeds to eat it slowly. He takes note of the couple. The couple is arguing about her life. She wants out, out of her job, out of her house, out of here. She wants to go soul searching, and he, well, he thinks that the guy that’s with her is being too polite in answering, maybe because he wants to have something to do with her later on. Our man at the bar, drinking the stout he ever tasted (Severa, for all of you) and eating pie while thinking, from the top of his laughable wisdom, that she should just go. Go, do something, and then come back, with or without the guy. But nobody is asking his opinion, and even if he said something, nobody would care. He finishes eating, drinks the last sip of beer, pays and leaves. He thinks the pie was too expensive for what its quality. It’s now raining outside. He hasn’t got an umbrella, nor a hoodie. He puts his hands on the side-pockets of his jacket and thinks he’s a cowboy leaving the saloon, into the soaking rain. This place is full of warehouses, could be a western scenario, he says to himself. In more or less fifteen minutes he’ll be in one of the warehouses, in the concert hall, and the space will make him remember that concert hall in Chicago, next to the Mexican neighborhood, where he once saw his favorite all-time band. He will listen to the trio of women playing string instruments and singing their cute form of neo-country while joking about Tinder and dates in between songs. He will repeat in his mind the names of the instruments – bass, violin, cello – and he think that this, all of this is so fucking america, like all the references that he has in his head and in his heart. He fucking loves an idea of america that is made of these sounds, of these lyrics that talk about prairies, and ashes, and California. Then he will go next to his brother, sister-and-law and nephew, and they will all listen together to the show that brought them here in the first place, on a rainy Lisbon Sunday. And they will sing, they will laugh, they will jump, they will admire the passion and energy that the singer-songwriter puts into all those songs, and he will think that this love is not for the songs themselves, but for the characters of the songs, some real and some fake, all fucked up, but all alive, all very much alive, all alive in tones of e, g, and d, and played in two to three minute takes. Chorus are cathartic affairs, and this singer knows it all too well. It’s beautiful, and violent, or maybe violent because it’s so beautiful, or maybe beautiful because it’s so violent. Gee, I don’t know. I only know that he will leave the concert hall at the end of the show and go straight to his car, parked on the sidewalk, and he’ll spend the return trip trying to recite the lyric from that song that he didn’t know before, the one about calendars and Illinois.