I just returned from the Tortoise and Calexico show at Club Congress. It should have been sublime, but strangeness got in the way. First, the starting time was too early, because of complaints about noise for previous outdoor shows at Congress. On a 105 degree day, that's a problem. Second, I had a hard time connecting with people at the show, even though I knew a good number of them. Every time I turned around, the people I wanted to talk to or, at the very least, stand beside were gone. Calexico was surprisingly tepid, too. Then Kim called to tell me that I needed to come home right away because Skylar was having a bad night and wouldn't go to sleep. I talked to Skylar on the phone, who kept repeating that she was having, "bad thoughts," apparently, according to Kim, about the Creature of Darkness that freaked her out months ago in The Never-Ending Story. I made it to the car and was about to turn on the engine when Kim called back to say that Skylar seemed to be calming down. I waited in the car for a while, anticipating that Kim would call again. She did, but told me to go back to the show. Once I'd returned, it was almost time for Tortoise. I briefly explained my quandry to the newly wed Jim and Helena, along with their cohort of Tim, Noah, and Sara. Then Tortoise came on. I left the over-21 enclosure to get closer to the stage and watched the show from near the front, inching closer after people in front of me departed. By the end, I was in the makeshift "second row," able to see and hear everything as I wanted. Tortoise was great, I thought, precise and intense, though "cooler" than when I saw them at the Great American Music Hall. But I never did find Sean again, even though he said he was standing right behind me when I called him later. I loved zoning out to the Tortoise portion of the concert, but the rest of the experience left me feeling anxious and vaguely unhappy.