John Led Zeppelin

I was completely lost in reading my book in a ocean side café in Pacifica, where I went to spend a lazy evening. An hour later a weird looking guy with long hair and beard walked in. He looked at me and smiled. I don’t know why, but I hesitated to smile back and reluctantly moved my muscles to form half a smile! He asked Don, the barista, for some coffee and sat down quietly on a table in front of me. His quiet behavior as opposed to his wild appearance made me really curious and I found myself observing him every now and then. In a few minutes Don came and joined me at my table to continue with the chat we were having a while ago. He came at the table to ask Don for some more coffee and got talking to both of us. This guy isn’t as weird as he looks, I was thinking. I did not even realize when I had started chatting with him as if he were a very good friend. I had seen him carry a guitar case and hence asked him what kind of music was he into. He answered me mentioning Led Zeppelin quite a lot in his talk. I told him that I too listen to a few of their songs, a fact he could believe only after I named a few songs and showed him the collection I have on my laptop. When I told him that a friend of mine is a big fan of Led Zepp’s, he promptly got his guitar out of it’s case and asked, “Bigger than this?. It was an acoustic guitar with Jimmy Page’s picture on it. What followed later was a string of songs he performed upon my request. I could see that he wasn’t singing or playing music, he was feeling it. He was almost dancing in the end. Never had I seen such a great performance in such a humble environment. His stage: a café in Pacifica, his accompaniment: none, his audience: two strangers. Yet it was a grand performance, a performance that started with a quiet “Stairway to heaven” and ended in a vibrant “Rock and roll”. Don and I clapped really hard in the end, as if we were making up for the absence of the big audience that his performance deserved. I asked him his name. “So now is when you think of asking my name?!” he said in jest, and later answered “John”. “John Led Zeppelin ?”, I asked and we both burst out laughing.I told him that I thought he was a great artist and his performances deserved bigger, better audiences. He smiled mystically. He told me that he only pursues music as a hobby though he does play for a local band. In a short while his friend came to pick him up. As I watched him pack his things I wondered what it would be like to be friends with him. Then I thought we already were friends, friends who wouldn’t ever meet each other again. His voice shook me out of my thought. “Good-bye.”, he said, “And ahh, I should tell you that some performances are personal; they are not viewed but shared by special friends like you. Thank you for a wonderful evening.”

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