Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothing short a’ dying
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down

Sunday Morning Coming Down by Kris Kristofferson

In The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs, Greil Marcus unearths the roots of rock music in America’s history of religion and gospel and country western music. Rock and roll represent Saturday night: singing, dancing, and raising hell.  Sunday morning, however, means going to church, redemption, and forgiveness. Kris Kristofferson’s genius and Johnny Cash’s voice combined the two experiences in one song, Sunday Morning Coming Down.

If Annie Savoy can believe in the Church of Baseball in the movie Bull Durham, I can have the Church of Rock and Pop. I have my sacred texts, holy spaces, and experiences of redemption and salvation. 

There are many great churches in the Twin Cities, but for many, our rock and roll cathedral is First Avenue, made famous by Prince in Purple Rain. In 1985, I made my first pilgrimage for a show by The Replacements at 7th Street Entry, the much smaller sidebar of First Avenue. That night I was baptized, and blood was sacrificed.

The Replacements just released their major label debut album, Tim.  I bought it at Cheapo Records the day it came out and had most of it memorized before the show, already hailing its genius and how it spoke to our generation, from Hold My Life to Bastards of Young and the lyric, “You got no war to name us.”

Leaving the cold dark October night, we entered the dimly lit, smoky, and tiny Entry, one-by-one handing over our I.D.s proving we were 19.  Buying bottles of Strohs and PBR, trying to get drunk, we listened to someone called Good Joe to play before Paul, Bob, Tommy, and Chris came out.

One thing that maintains my faith is the belief that there is poetry to our lives.  Every once in a while, things come together in a way that Carl Jung synchronicity.

I wish hope and history rhymed every day, but the few times they’ve aligned in my life are some of the closest things I’ve ever had to a divine encounter.

That night at The Entry with the Mats reunited me with my past.  Known for their cover versions, they played the theme to the Brady Bunch, and when my friend kept calling for it, they also offered the silly ’70s song, Yummy, Yummy, Yummy from The Ohio Express.

In the ’80s, we called it “slam dancing” since it has come to be known as The Mosh Pit.  In front of the stage, we danced, bumped and smashed into others, and pushed each other to the ground, releasing our energy and celebrating the music and surroundings with primal antics.  My roommate, Ricker, fell to the ground and cut his hand on a broken beer bottle.  There probably weren’t more than 100 in the club that night, but the guy who helped him was a kid who grew up a block away from me.  Poetry. Serendipity.

Standing outside, steam rising off our sweaty bodies in the cold night, leaning against the dark walls of the club, we were exhausted.  Ricker was still bandaging his hand with his jean jacket.  He declared he wasn’t going to wash it for a while.  “It’s kind of rock and roll, punk, this way,” he said.

When we have a mature adult relationship with the divine, there is little separating Saturday night from Sunday morning.  Redemption, forgiveness, grace, serendipity, and even the sacred fill our days and nights. Our lives and our relationship with the divine are one, and that’s good as hell. Lizzo sang those words, too.

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