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All Night Long (All Night)

Crowd at an outdoor concert

All Night Long is one of my background songs that became a foreground song. My wife and I were at Bonnaroo when it happened, which is a place we both love. Bonnaroo is one of the few places where I feel comfortable and relaxed enough to be my most authentic self. Everyone is so happy and nice, the music is amazing, and there is just so much to do, or not do.

Lionel Richie headlined on Saturday night. The night before, Kanye West had an absolutely terrible performance. He couldn't get through a single song without stopping and ranting about something. It was an agitated and aggressive presence, one that made people feel gloomy and nothing like the spirit of Bonnaroo, and tens of thousands of people walked out.

The weather was perfect on Saturday night. There was a light breeze as the sun set and we had seats on a little hill overlooking What Stage. It had been an amazing day of music and food and new friends, and we had the luxury of another full day of festival in front of us. I was looking forward to seeing Lionel Richie perform because I liked his music and he is a legend, but I didn't have the excitement that accompanied seeing an artist that I truly loved. Mr. Richie came on stage and his smile was big enough to see no matter your distance from the stage. He seemed just as happy to be there as we were. He worked the crowd like an absolute master and told amazing, interesting stories in between each song. The stories were funny and moving glimpses into his life sharing his art with the world. He also talked about the night and people in the crowd in a way that made this performance unique to that time and place. It was a snowflake of a moment that will never be repeated.

Context is very important to me. I enjoy sports more when I know the players and the rivalries. Movies and TV shows are more interesting to me when I know little tidbits of information about the writers or the director or the actors. Hearing Mr. Richie so charismatically share captivating stories about the music he was playing hooked me deeply and held my attention.

When he played All Night Long, a joyous gem exploded into a bridge with such vigor I got goose bumps and a warm and fuzzy feeling that made me feel like I was floating. My wife and I had been married for less than two years, and we had a one-year-old child. We were in the dawn of a huge phase in our life and it seemed like there was nothing in front of us but potential and opportunity. Everything combined into a perfect moment.

Mr. Richie's energy permeated through the crowd in the magical way that is only possible when certain conditions, both known and unknown, align in just the right way. Sitting in the crowd, getting a drink, using the bathroom, no matter where you went, people were smiling and dancing. We were all best friends.

When I listen to this song I am transported to that little grassy hill. I feel the love of our budding family and the energy of being surrounded by thousands of happy friends. I also think about how quickly and deeply our energy can transfer to others and it reminds me to spread positivity.


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