If, in your life, you have a chance to see in person Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Project Ensemble, do so. And do whatever it takes to get tickets close enough that you can see the musicians interact, smiling and nodding and keeping an eagle eye on each other as they keep time on amazingly fast and intricate pieces with no conductor. This is instant reaction after three of the most memorable hours I have spent at a live event, in our waning days in Shanghai.
James Fallows is a staff writer for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, which has been a New York Times best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.