Did you hear the dams are full? It’s flooding out west
but this is Brisbane and in the Botanic Gardens among
fig trees and shaggy palms the crowd has mostly forgotten
raincoats. Everyone’s drinking—I’m sticking to water.
You’d think this was deep north, but above slick branches
silver towers light the storm clouds lining up to drench us.
A flying fox ghosts overhead as The National take the garden stage.
One of the brothers says we’re excited to be here and the crowd agrees—
people are in the trees.
And then: guitars, keyboard, drums, brass, vocals. One, two,
three songs, and with every cold raindrop life gets better.
You must be loving your life in the rain. People laugh and hoot, raise
plastic cups. This is Brisbane—the dams are never full.
Last song now, and the band sings Terrible Love. The sky opens:
It takes an ocean not to—it takes an ocean not to—
down, down, down it comes, bringing the singer with it,
our shoes sloshing in inches of water among the golden
fig trees and the silhouettes of people drowning in sound
and light and voices cracking with pleasure as the stage
crew mop and the whole crowd knows the words,
new suit soaked but so what and so wet and tipsy we spill
out onto Alice Street and all the streets
are rivers no really all the streets are rivers and the sky is open.
This is Brisbane, and the dams—the dams are full.