SEND IN THE CLOWNS

 

15 SEPTEMBER 2015

SEND IN THE CLOWNS

Outdoor performances are unique equalizers. Everyone joins; no one is excluded; all walk out with a smile, a pleasant sign or a hum of a tune. That's why New York summer outdoor concerts are deliciously unique. Particularly the wide space of Lincoln Center, its beckoning fountain, and a light evening breeze, made July and August's music variations uniquely enjoyable. It's all free. But then any drop of cash in available boxes will be welcome. Afro, Latino, Jazz, Asian fusion, nostalgic folk songs, plus of course Mostly Mozart and a lot of visiting ensembles cater to every taste or whim.

One of the most participatory performances was by Judy Collins at Damrosch Park. She did her own songs in addition to those written by others like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Some recalled that Hillary and Bill Clinton had named their daughter Chelsea after one of her songs: "Chelsea Morning." The crowd was mainly New Yorkers who grew up with that wave of the Seventies; now they looked much older but with youthful spirit, almost brotherly and sisterly in sharing seats and participating appropriately with Ms. Collins. "Amazing Grace" was shared by everyone. The song that usually gets a standing ovation received a boisterous one: "Send in the Clowns." Following are the lyrics:

Isn't it rich? Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground, you in mid-air
Where are the clowns?

Isn't it bliss? Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around, one who can't move
Where are the clowns? There ought to be clowns

Just when I'd stopped opening doors
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours
Making my entrance again with my usual flair
Sure of my lines, no one is there

Don't you love farce? My fault, I fear
I thought that you'd want what I want, sorry, my dear
But where are the clowns, send in the clowns
Don't bother, they're here

Isn't it rich? Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing this late in my career
But where are the clowns? There ought to be clowns
Well, maybe next year