70000 TONS 2017 HIGHLIGHT : FALLING IN LOVE
Let me set the scene: the lights were dimmed, I was sweaty and elated, smiling from ear to ear. My lips, once cherry red and painted to perfection, were starting to get patchy from my incessant singing along to one of my favourite bands, my glasses were fogging up from the warmth of the packed venue, my ribs were bruised from the rowdy crowd ramming the front row warriors in the barriers for twenty minutes and my shirt was clinging to me like another layer of skin from the wasted beer of the wasted man standing behind me without a care in the world. And not even I could blame him for being too mesmerized to care about how much of his $10 beer he was spilling on me. Dalriada's set was that entrancing!
Four songs into the folk metal heroes’ set, it happened! A melody so beautiful it would make angels weep filled the room, a melody I knew only too well but had never been able to prepare myself adequately to hear live. My heart rate picked up the pace, my hands got warm and moist forcing me to hold onto the comfortingly cold metal of the barrier to try to regulate their temperature. The entire room melted away around me. The band disappeared, as did the spectators whose cheering also faded into nothingness. In that moment, all that existed was me and the fingers of Gergely Szabó expertly dancing on the black and white keys of his Yamaha instrument.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the Hungarian angel of music is a force to be reckoned with, but even with my knowledge of his prowess after listening to Dalriada and Mandara at length, he still managed to take my breath away with his undeniable skills as he played the beginning of one of Dalriada's most popular songs, "Áldás."
On any given day, "Áldás" sends shivers down my spine, but if the song is beautiful in its entirety, the first few seconds of unadulterated piano are otherworldly. While I had grown accustomed to the celestial sound of the intro of the song from the confines of my living room, hearing it being played in front of my very eyes was an experience I never could have prepared myself for. There was something about Szabó’s playing that night, a sort of solemn gloominess that made his moment in the spotlight unnervingly ethereal. Up until that point, I had never heard any piece of music being played so beautifully and so effortlessly seraphically. There was a knot in my stomach, a ball in my throat, my heart beat faster, my lungs refused to give me the air I so desperately needed after getting the wind knocked out of me by a few notes…
Years from now, when someone asks me to tell them the story of the first time I fell in love, I will not tell the tale of a tall man who swept me off my feet once upon a time. I will rather tell the story of "Áldás," of Gergely Szabó's unquestionable gift, and of how my heart got turned inside out in thirteen seconds.