A concert for a friend

"I love you, and don't worry," she texted.

"I love you too," he replied.

Riding home on a Triumph Bonneville T100 about four hours later, Christian DaSilva was involved in a collision with a Lexus sedan. He did not survive.

Those were the last words DaSilva uttered to his new, 10-week pregnant wife, Emma Goodman.

"I remember crying and telling them I was having a baby, we were moving in together, and this can't be happening," said Goodman, who woke up from a nap awaiting her husband's arrival from work and instead received a call that changed the course of her life. "I felt very protected by him. He was such a rock for me that when he passed away it was kind of unbelievable, like "He can't, he's so strong, he had to have made it.'"

The 31-year-old Costa Mesa resident departed the hospital clutching only her husband's wedding ring.

Having spent 12 years as a trusted soundman at Chain Reaction in Anaheim, DaSilva was beloved by Orange County's music community.

A real-life pirate. A jokester. A big brother.

That's how DaSilva's friends remember him.

The news of his death spread rapidly via messages, phone calls and social media, triggering an immediate outpouring of support that continues even seven months later.


The show

The Glass House Concert Hall in Pomona hosted a bevy of local musicians Saturday night, including vocalist Roy English, acoustic stalwarts Limbeck and Huntington Beach indie pop band Hellogoodbye. The event was also a reunion show for punk groups Takota and Taken. All proceeds earned were donated to Poppy Monroe DaSilva, who was born Feb. 7.

The audience was greeted by a collage of photographs of the couple smiling, DaSilva goofing around and Poppy right after her birth. Jason Welsher, of To Die For Clothing, stood his ground outside the venue without a sweatshirt to protect him from the cold, printing $15 silk posters.

"Poppy doesn't have a whole lot to go forward on, so a show, or something to kind of get her back on her feet, makes a lot of sense," said Hellogoodbye vocalist Forrest Kline.

Onstage, hardcore punk vocalist Ray Harkins sang (read: screamed) Taken's entire set, which included crowd surfing and Harkins thanking fans for not running out of the room when he "scared the living [expletive] out of most of [them]."

Under the spotlight, Takota's headbanging singer-songwriter Grant Arnow shared the story of his son's birth just the day before, as well as snippets of his time with DaSilva.

"It feels good to have this here — a family," he said. "We're one unit tonight — somebody brought us together."

According to Jon Halperin, talent buyer at the Glass House, who met DaSilva in the mid-'90s and helped him find work at Chain Reaction, "He was sarcastic, funny, and said whatever was on his mind. I miss those things about him. We'd meet, go to eat, talk about girls, motorcycles, and gossip about our old co-workers. It goes without saying that we all miss Christian a great deal."


Behind the scenes

Arnow met DaSilva at Takota's first show at Chain Reaction, where they returned to perform nearly 40 times thereafter. He considered DaSilva a "mirror," since he helped augment the band's strengths and didn't shy away from pointing out their shortcomings.

"I remember Christian invited my now-wife and I to this … karaoke bar and there's barflies — these guys with no teeth — asleep, looking like they'd been there for a hundred years," said Arnow, 30, of West Hollywood. "And there he was, in the middle, singing a Beyonce song. He was a weird guy, but a special person."

While this concert was in the pipeline for several months, it was hard to organize. Halperin's November wedding provided a venue for Arnow to walk around and bring bands on board. That was when the idea took off.

"If I built brick walls, I would try to build one in memory of my friend, but I write songs and so do the rest of these people," Arnow said. "Orange County has always had a really special music scene, Chain Reaction has always been at the center of that, and Christian was at the center of Chain Reaction. There are plenty of places around the country that don't have a connection to music like we have and it's a rare thing, which we don't celebrate enough."

When Harkins received an email from Arnow, he immediately said, "Yes," following which there was no need to convince his counterparts.

Since word got out about the event, he was asked, "Why are all of you playing together?" since each band flaunts a dramatically different sound.

"His personal musical preference was not the style of music that we played, so he was always busting our chops," said Harkins, 32, of Tustin. "Christian was warm and very friendly, and we'd connect on real things that were happening in our lives — it was a true organic friendship."


At home

Humbled by the compassion of those who personally knew her family, and many who didn't, Goodman, who discovered she was pregnant on Father's Day last year, feels honored that Poppy will have "millions of aunts and uncles."

The 7-pound, 10-ounce, 19-inch baby girl was born naturally at home after her mother spent nearly 24 hours in labor.

"Poppy was a name that we had discussed and it's bright and cheery, out of something so tragic," she said. "She's pretty much what kept me going. There were times when I felt like I didn't want to live anymore, but she gave me motivation to keep going and be strong."

Goodman recalled meeting DaSilva at a common friend's New Year's Eve party in 2011. She hopped onto his motorcycle for their first sushi date two and a half weeks later, and on Easter, he showed up at her doorstep at 2 a.m. armed with an engagement ring. They wed in Panama on May 15 — a whirlwind romance that left no room for doubt, filling them instead with hope and excitement.

"I'd never had someone love me like that," she said. "We were on top of the world. We dove in head first. It was the first time I just trusted. I followed my heart, and I was so happy that we had finally found each other."

On the night of the couple's first date, Dasilva also created an email account titled marrymeemma@gmail.com. Week after week, he wrote her notes about their blossoming relationship.

Reminiscing about DaSilva's kind and protective nature, Goodman grew quiet.

The couple were a week away from moving in together at the time of DaSilva's motorcycle accident. Both longtime Huntington residents were fans of vintage furniture and enjoyed the mod style of the '50s and '60s, prompting Dasilva to gift Goodman with a pink refrigerator.

"I miss his laugh and smile," she said. "I have never laughed as hard in my life before I met him. He would sing his own made-up songs in the shower, put on my bathing suit bottoms and walk around the room. There was never a dull moment in Christian's presence."

As Poppy grows older, Goodman plans to keep DaSilva's spirit alive via stories and photos, teaching her about loving without fear, the importance of manners and how a good man should treat her.

Both mother and daughter attended the concert with handmade chocolate-chip cookies — a token of thanks to each band for their participation that night.

Wrapped in a pink blanket, with cotton in her ears and "U.S. Coast Guard" ear muffs, Poppy slept peacefully, despite the show's high decibel levels.

"Music is in her blood," Goodman said.


Twitter: @RMahbubani

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