It only took nine plus hours to get from gospel in the garden to Joni on the balcony at 3:30 a.m.
The Valentine Museum's new Music in the Garden series was having its second installment on such a gorgeous and California-like Thursday night that I couldn't think of a single good reason not to head to the leafy garden for music before my date.
Kenneka Cook was mid-set when I found a spot and began scanning the crowd for people I knew. There was the show booker making faces at a baby, the brass band drummer adjusting knobs onstage, the marketing man looking studious in glasses and the Frenchman, just back from Tampa where they'd beaten the impending storm by just two days.
Moving closer, I was charmed to see people sprawled out on the wide porch of the adjoining Wickham House with the "door" windows behind them, a fact I learned from a tour of the house. I'd been struck by the concept of windows so tall that the house's occupants would just throw up the sash and stroll through the opening to the porch.
"We only know how to do one thing and that's gospel music, so let's go to church," the Ingramettes announced and commenced to get people clapping and toes tapping while shaking the rafters on the tent over their heads.
On my way home, I spotted a line at the National for Catfish and the Bottlemen, a group I'd never so much as heard of. A couple clicks once I got home and I quickly learned that they were a British indie band mining '80s jangle, '90s rock and '00s alternative pop in the service of one of my favorite genres: young man music.
Sounding like their influences were comprised of lots of my guilty pleasure songs with a singer whose voice resembles that of the Arctic Monkeys' leader, the songs were buoyant, testosterone-fueled and likely drawn from the narrow scope of boyish experience.
I was hooked immediately, of course.
And I'd beg you but you know I'm never home
I'd love you but I need another year alone
I'd try to ignore it every time you phone
But I'm never coming close
Adorable, right? Now I understood why all those people were standing in line for an evening of young man angst.
But my date and I were off to Amour for dinner where a private party had commandeered the bar area, which necessitated us taking up residence in the front window for a lovely meal that began with veal sweetbreads in a Madeira wine sauce, moved through a crabcake-topped salad, lamb chops and housemade cocoa sorbet.
After making a pit stop at Secco for pink bubbly from Greece and a unique Rose blend of Malbec, Gamay and Cabernet Sauvignon, we witnessed a verbal testament to the powers of Queen Bey ("I want three things from a man and I can't remember the first two, but the last one is he has to know that Beyonce is the most important thing in the world") from a visiting California woman who will be seeing her hero in L.A. in September.
Pop star conversations aside, I'm trying to get in my Secco fixes in before they close their doors next week.
Once we were back on the street, the evening continued on my balcony with Breaux Rose we'd picked up at the winery and some triage on my boombox to get it to play on its inaugural night of summer season 2016, for which we couldn't have asked for finer weather.
Our musical entertainment began with the new Clair Morgan album "New Lions and the Not Good Night," which qualifies as young man music given its musicians, but not its subject matter, which is a reflection of songwriter Clair exploring his role parenting young children and memories of being a child himself.
But ultimately, it was Joni Mitchell's "Hits" album that we listened to twice, agreeably taking tangents about the musicians on her various albums, how sometimes a cover can be better than the original (CSNY's "Woodstock" being a perfect example) and what an absolutely brilliant medley "Chinese Cafe" and "Unchained Medley" make.
Somewhere around two hours before sunrise, my date expressed a wee bit of concern about the music and conversation being broadcast to the neighborhood pretty much in the middle of the night, so we scaled back a notch but it was a small notch.
We've never been the types to make ungainly concessions, whether music or relationships.
To "settle" is to give up. We never settled. But, man, can we kill some time together.