BNL gave a great, sort of manic concert. Usually, they'll giggle slyly at their own jokes. This time around they were snorting and convulsed with their own jokes. Ed was greatly amused with his own description of Jim eating salmon by hand in his underwear. There was also a frankly alarming story of how Ed had a shouting confrontation with some pinball player in the last city they played. At the time, it was peculiar. Funny, as always, but more of a desperate uncontrolled funny. Frankly, a manic funny.
Then, they'd segue to a minimalist somber song upstage that just begged for a large group of a capella musicians. They'd clearly staged that (and a few other songs) so they could be joined by the Persuasions, who weren't there because of some emergency that called them home.
As it turns out, the emergency was the pneumonia of the Persuasion's bass singer. The singer died a few days after the concert I saw.
I just cannot imagine what it would be like to perform as a happy band, and yet to think at every turn: we have to cut this song because out friend's dying, we need to keep this in the set though it won't be the same ...
So, it was hilarious. Happily, not a manic hilarious that made me worry a moment about cocaine, but a laughing in the face of death hilarious.