Last night I went to see John Carpenter perform live. He is currently touring performing themes from several of his films plus tracks from his two non-soundtrack albums Lost Themes and Lost Themes II. To say the night was amazing is an understatement. It was one of my favorite evenings ever.
John Carpenter is an idol of mine. When I was a kid I saw The Fog and was both scared and fascinated by it. I watched it over and over. As I’ve written before I was a huge film fan from a very young age and took great interest in directors which led to me being one. So when I saw a film that struck me, even when I was in single digit age numbers, I wanted to know what else they had done. This led to me seeing Escape From New York, which is one of my top favorite films, and Christine, and The Thing, and Big Trouble In Little China, and eventually Halloween. That’s right. The film John Carpenter is best known for I actually saw later. This did not minimize my love or admiration for it though. If anything I appreciated it even more. I love all of his films. Even some of the ones that didn’t click right away with me I find as I revisit them I realize how much I missed before and I have a new appreciation for them.
Indeed I became a huge fan of his from his own unique style not just visually but the stories he chose to tell. One added element was the music in his films which was always incredible. If I wasn’t already a big fan of his as a director he also scored his films as well.
John Carpenter’s music has been just as much of an influence on me as his films are. I actively sought out the soundtracks, back then on cassette then LP and then CD, and I would listen to them over and over. I still remember being in a music store in Florida visiting my grandmother in 1987 and finding the cassette of Halloween. You would have thought I found the Holy Grail by how excited I was. Well, in some ways I did. I bought it and listened to it over and over. Over the years the soundtrack list grew from one film to the other. I believe I have all of the soundtracks he ever did. Or maybe I’m missing one. And if I am then I need to change that.
Listening to his music did two things. It reminded me of his amazing films first but then my imagination would open up and I would start to develop my own story idea from the mood set by his music. Needless to say every screenplay I have ever written has included listening to his music.
When he announced he was touring I made sure I went. I had missed two chances before to meet him which I regretted so I got the the VIP Meet and Greet ticket. I had to meet him. And while they are a bit rushed since they take place before the concert I was at least able to thank him for a lifetime of inspiration and joy.
The feelings rang all over the place as each piece was played. Hearing these pieces of music that have played through my ears during so many times of inspiration and creativity is unlike any other feeling. You almost don’t know whether you want to cry or jump for joy. Or both.
I have been lucky enough to meet some of the people I admire greatly. Ones that inspire me to grow creatively. He was one of the few that I kept missing. Luckily that is no longer the case. Not only did I get the chance to meet him but also see him happy as can be playing music he wrote for the movies he made.
Thank you Mr. Carpenter. Not just for last night but for giving inspiration to a young boy who just wanted to make movies.
*I uploaded some of my photos I took at the concert which you can see on my Flickr page HERE. One I desperately need to update with other photos.
*Below are just a few short clips from the show. There will eventually be a DVD/Blu-ray that they are making. I was actually interviewed for it(!). I assume it will be out some time next year.
I did a Vague Ramblings episode on it in case you needed more of me gushing.