This is Pato Banton
So the other night I went to see a concert by Famous Reggae star Pato Banton.
Isn't that the coolest name ever? Pato Banton.
I wish my name was Pato Banton.
One of his Pato's big hits, titled "My Opinion," features the refrain, "My name is Pato Banton." So even he likes saying it! He likes singing it!
I would too, if I were him. I've been trying to replace the lyrical, sonically touching, "My name is Pato Banton," with "My name is John Shore," but what a dud that is. I might as well be singing "My name is Benjie Bigbottom," or something. "My name is Gilligan Floppyhat." It's just ... forget it.
I saw Mr. Banton perform in a large indoor club. I'm pretty sure that every single audience member in the club that night except for me was smoking pot. The thing is, though, even stoner Rasta enthusiasts at a concert want to be sneaky about the fact that -- gee, what a surprise -- they're having yet another experience that'll be enhanced by their ingesting a lung-frying psychotropic drug that'll make them seem absolutely fascinating to themselves. But the way to get stoned privately in public, apparently, is to bend way down at the waist when you're sucking on your joint or pipe, so that no one can see the little fire you're making glow like ... well, like a beacon straight to Security Central.
It was like being at a concert with 300 people who'd all lost their contact lenses. I could have walked across the floor on all the backs. I had no trouble seeing Banton. People would bow down, rise back up, surreptitiously exhale in such a way that no one looking at them would ever suspect they had a huge amount of thick smoke pouring out of their face, and then bend back down for another toke.
I felt like I was at some sort of convention for beach dudes taking lessons in primary Japanese social behaviors.
The music, though, was entirely acceptable. As a musical genre, I'm not actually a big fan of reggae. I am, however, a major fan of Bob Marley, who was one bonafide musical genius, and no doubt about it.
And therein lies the rub, for me. I know it's stupid and limited, but, to me, all reggae but Bob's sounds unsatisfactorily derivative of Bob. So I can never like it. I'm Joe ... No Bob Imitators Allowed.
Though Tosh was on it! So there are a few exceptions! But let's not turn this into a dissertation on reggae because how boring would that be!
But I must say, ol' Pato pops up a roof pretty good. He's very ... spiritual. I assume he's a Rastafarian, but don't really know. (Hey, I just went to his website -- and I think he's a Christian! Whoo-hoot! He's got a double-CD out called, The Words of Christ ! Sweet! Oh. Wait. It's " ... a double CD featuring over 100 minutes of soul touching lessons from Jesus Christ as revealed in the Fifth Epochal Revelation, The Urantia Book." Oh. So he's ... not a Christian. Or maybe is a little. Or something. Bummer. So close -- and yet so ... well, stoned. I would guess. But that's mean, since I don't know. So let's move on.)
Whatever the meat of Pato's spiritual soup is, he sure feels it. There was a moment in his show where he stopped and did a long, clearly sincere prayer. It was a little hard to see and hear him through all the smoke and ongoing Stoner Aerobics, but it was clear his prayer was entirely heartfelt. I believe he was praying for world peace, unity, harmony, and for every person in the audience to once and for all get their shoes tied right.
And then he told us to turn to the people nearest us, and to greet and show them love.
Whoo-hoo! Being an Episcopalian, I have practice at doing this! If I had to turn to total strangers around me before I was an Episcopalian and act like they were long-lost cousins, I'd be down and pretending to have lost something on the floor before you could say, "Oh, no. I lost my lighter." But now I'm Mr. "Peace Be With You"!
Cool. I was ready.
And it turned out to be quite the lovely, naturally prolonged little moment.
Faux-Japanese stoners turn out to be quite the affable greeters!
They were at that time, anyway. That was pretty early on in the show.
Ninety minutes later, and the Happy Mass Pot Buzz had transmogrified into the Unhappy, Highly Individuated Fry that invariably leaves "partyers" with the distinctly unpleasant feeling that, once again, they've fallen off that big bus to Funville, and are instead stuck exactly where they are.
Pato was still doing his thing, though: alive, bright-eyed, singing and doing the happy, hoppy little dance for which Rastas are famous.
As for me, it was all good. I'm almost never as content as I get whenever I'm surrounded by more strangers than I can count.
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