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Columns > Rob Kallick

Published: 2001/09/19
by Rob Kallick

The Mozart Effect

Wake up, theres been a terrible accident at the World Trade Center. Thousands of people are dead. These words, spoken by my mother, woke me on the morning of September 11. The fear in her voice and instantaneous sense of dread that filled my body will surely haunt me for the rest of my life. The next few hours were a bit of a blur as I sat in my house in Chicago trying to understand what was going on in a city across the country.
I spent a lot of time in New York this summer. Ive always had a pretty negative attitude towards the Big Apple, but, as a result of the good times I had there last month, I developed a new and positive relationship with the city. We had our rough times, sure, but in the end when I said goodbye I believe we had come to terms with our differences. So seeing the World Trade Center in pieces hit me in a much more profound way than it would have, say, six months ago. But the loss of life and shear magnitude of the situation, thats a different story. I dont see how anyone could not be affected by that. I found myself over the next few days falling asleep with the TV on and waking up in the morning thinking for a split-second that it had all been a dream, only to turn over and see Dan Rathers somber face on the screen. This wasnt a dream. Far from it.
Saturday night I did what any depressed music-lover would do. I saw a concert. The Disco Biscuits at the Vic. Keeping in mind a book I had read a few years ago called The Mozart Effect by Don Campbell, I approached this concert as an opportunity to let the power of music heal the body, strengthen the mind and unlock the creative spirit. Campbells book eloquently examines how music, Mozart in particular, can perform all three of these functions. I just needed some good ol fashioned healing.
The Biscuits were the Biscuits. Nothing too fancy or unique about the their performance. As much as I would like to say that seeing them completely took my mind off everything that happened, it didnt. I did everything I could, however, to let my mind wander but I found my thoughts occasionally drifting back towards last weeks events. Yet, even with that, there was a moment in the show that made it all worthwhile and one that Ill never forget. After a set that lasted nearly two hours, the band left the stage for the end of the second set. An absolutely exhausted crowd, who had been out of it for the last 30 minutes or so, slowly came to realize that yes, the show was over. With whatever little energy they had left, the crowd began to cheer. Things got louderand louderand louderuntil it reached a deafening roar unparalleled to anything so far that night. It was clear that this was more than just showing appreciation for a kick-ass Basis. These people were cheering because it felt good and they needed it. With a week that left people with so little to be happy about, the chance to share joy with others was greeted with open arms. To my right a concertgoer illuminated a sign with a lighter that read simply: U.S.A. As more people noticed the sign the noise in the room got even louder. When the band returned onstage for their encore with huge grins on their faces, it seemed, that just for a moment at least, everything was normal again.

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