Sunday, November 03, 2013

Hugh Redux

When I started this blog, Hugh Laurie was my TV boyfriend. He was starring in House at the time, one of the most popular shows of its time, and I wrote about him more essays about him than any other topic.

Today, I remain a fan, but the infatuation has passed. House finished its eight-year run in 2012, and Laurie has gone back to acting in movies. But more importantly, he also is pursuing a life-long dream: playing blues music.

He’s made two albums (Let them Talk, 2011; Didn't It Rain, 2013) and done two US tours, and I’ve seen him both times in Boston (this year: October 29, 2013). He’s a highly-seasoned performer, and he’s assembled an amazing band, so both shows were worth the price of admission.

This year, however, I thought the show was better. Hugh seemed more at home on stage with the music. Last year he spend a lot of time explaining (and apologizing); this year, he talked less but spent the talking engaging the audience rather than expounding. He moved around the stage with tons of energy, and did three encores.

During the very last song, when everyone was on their feet and some people had already left, I couldn’t resist getting closer. I felt like I was sneaking down the aisle, but no one seemed to notice. From a distance of a few yards, there he was, those big blue eyes flashing.

I was struck by how very familiar he was to me. I experienced no revelations from being so close; he just looked like himself, as I’ve seen him on screen for years. Perhaps this is because I saw him last year, when I do remember a small jolt at seeing him walk out on stage, in the flesh.

On the trip home, my friend and I mused on what it must be like to be as famous as Hugh. I couldn’t imagine it for myself, and neither could she. He made so much money doing House that he should be able to retire to a remote desert island.

Instead he’s used his fame to set himself free. Music is his passion, and he’s parlayed his acting success into the pursuit what he loves. And you can tell he’s happier for it, which is quite a feat for the man, since happiness seemed to be constitutionally out of his reach earlier in his career. What a wonderful thing.

Cheers to you, Hugh!

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