The first song I ever heard by My Brightest Diamond was "The Robin's Jar" on Pandora, suddenly, without any warning, Pandora radio brought forth the robust yet delicate voice of Shara Worden. From that one melancholic song, a deep love began to blossom and flourish. My Brightest Diamond is one of those groups that has crept sneakily up the ladder that leads to my heart and mind, gently nudging at my psyche and asking me politely to listen and absorb the lyrics, the chords, the melodies, until, unexpectedly, they've become one of my favorite bands.
When I heard that Shara Worden was to be performing a one-woman My Brightest Diamond show in the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art, I dropped everything to attend. Clutching my museum admission ticket, I ran to the garden where I was met with throngs of curious on-lookers. All were holding little leaflets with performance details and a short My Brightest Diamond biography. As I looked at all the occupied seats, people sitting scattered all about the garden, some even perched on the stairs, I wondered how many there even knew her music. I was relieved to see that there was a roped off area designated for the concert, a small collection of less than 50 black wired metal chairs. I crossed a white marble bridge, and quite stealthily approached the less occupied roped off area on the far left side and plotted a seat as close to the front as possible. When the bit of wire cable keeping us eager vultures at bay was finally lifted I bolted towards the front row. Where I ended up was even better than I imagined— front row center! I settled in with a glass of chardonnay, enjoying the summer breeze and eagerly awaiting the start of the show.
Without her backing band and without Ymusic, Shara Worden's My Brightest Diamond had a stripped down style that despite its less complicated compositions still managed to be incredibly moving and effective. I think it has something to do with her voice being the most powerful instrument- it rang off the stone walls of the open garden and could most likely be heard on the streets surrounding the museum despite the thumping crashes of garbage trucks and the screeching tires of passing cars. Hopping from song to song and instrument to instrument with the nimble dexterity of a spritely little pixie Shara took us on a pleasant albeit brief journey through the My Brightest Diamond catalog- playing a blend of the newer songs and the classics. On top of the already playful theatrics of Shara's voice, her story tellings, her wild impromptu interpretive dances, and musical prowess, she also added into this one woman show was a rather impressive range of costume changes! I haven't smiled, been moved to tears, and clapped along joyfully at a concert like this in quite some time!
I am unsure how many people there were fans of her music before the show began, but by the end everyone was smiling and clapping wildly! For every cheer and clap- no one did so louder than me in the front, wiggling in my seat trying NOT to jump out and dance.
The best part about these little intimate gigs though, are the opportunities that arise for the fans to interact with the performers. Why, not 10 minutes after the show had ended and I purchased the 7" single for "I have never loved someone" Shara herself was standing in the middle of the MoMA sculpture garden glowing in the fading light of dusk, smiling and speaking with whomever wished to stop and chat! She was very gracious and incredibly sweet as we spoke. I got a little insight into her process for performing her music live. She attempts to convey the mood of each song regardless of the "limitations" of a venue. You will all also be happy to know that I asked her if she would be returning to NY anytime soon to perform again with Ymusic, to which she responded "We should put on another show, shouldn't we?". Yes, dear Shara, you should. I promised her a small army of people would no doubt be joining me if she did.
You should also know that Shara looks so deeply into your eyes that its disarming…and that hugging her is awesome.
1. We Added Up
2. Golden Star
3. Escape Routes
4. Be Brave
5. Walt Whitman Poem (Put to Music)
6. From the Top of the World (with a very animated tale about little boy diamond & the north wind)
7. High Low Middle
9. Inside a Boy