If it’s alright, I’d love to tell you about one of my favorite random things on the internet.
It’s a video of Eric Clapton playing his hit, “Cocaine,” at the Royal Albert Hall, in 2015. It starts with that legendary riff, in E, and you can see the crowd recognize it immediately. But here’s the thing that amazes me the most: You’ve got one of greatest guitarists of all time, in one of the most famous concert halls in the world, and people are just… sitting there. They’re not, up they’re not dancing. Eric Clapton is playing freaking “Cocaine,” and people are sitting on their butts like they’re watching someone perform at an open mic night.
And then comes one of my favorite random things on the internet.
It happens at about 2:19 in the video. Clapton’s in a guitar solo, and the camera pans across the crowd: 5,000 people, lots of butts in seats.
But there, in the bottom corner, at the edge of the stage to Clapton’s left, is this one couple.
They’ve snuck up to the front, and they’re dancing like — excuse the cliche, but it’s accurate here — no one’s watching.
They shimmy. They shake. They twirl.
They — and I mean this in the best possible away — do not appear to give even the slightest shit about the fact that no one else is dancing.
The camera cuts to the band, and they’re loving it. They cut back to the couple: Now jumping up and down, cheering wildly for Clapton.
And then something happens: People notice that couple, and seem to snap out of their stupor. They remember: They’re watching Eric Clapton! One of the great rock and roll musicians of all time! And he’s playing one of the most famous rock and roll songs of all time! People start to get out of their seats. Some folks rush to the stage to cheer. The crowd gets loud.
Sometimes, it takes two people, getting up and showing everyone else the way. Sometimes, you have to be the one to give everyone else permission to get up and do something — to dance, to experiment, to try something bold.
We’re moving into this next phase of the pandemic, and I don’t know what happens next. But here’s your permission: Don’t stay seated. Don’t idle. Get up and dance, even if you feel like you might look a little silly. You never know who might be right behind you on the dancefloor.