Thursday, June 26, 2008

Awesome concert!

*This post is really long and has lots of pictures. I think it is worth it, though. Enjoy!

I went to see Merle Haggard last night at the Ryman Auditorium. I was impressed and highly entertained. (I also arrived early enough to take in some of the history and country music artifacts from the likes of Hank, Sr. and such.)

When I took my seat (only 13 rows from the stage, center), I sat and thought about all of the history of the Ryman. I'm not a country music scholar by any means, nor do I pretend to be. However, I do know a little. As I sat, I wondered about what it must have been like to see Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash play on that stage-along with so many others. I thought about all the people who have sat in the audience dreaming of their turn to take that stage.

In my limited drives around town the past couple of days, I wonder how many of the lost folks I see wandering around had those dreams and gave them over to despair and discouragement when those dreams didn't come true. But enough about my thoughts, you want to hear about the show.

First on the stage was an "unknown" who admitted that knowing the guy in charge of the monitors (roommate and songwriting partner) helped. He had really nice songs, but I couldn't help think how many were sitting in the audience that are just as talented, if not more, and were going unnoticed. I know of at least one person who would have done that stage justice, but goes largely ignored. The guy on the stage said that fact was not lost on him, either. He was truly grateful for the opportunity. It must be hard to be a musician and watch other people get the breaks.

Next up were a couple of guys from North Carolina playing with Haggard's band (they worked really hard the entire evening). They were colorful. They played a few cover songs, and very well. Sometimes watching people do cover songs can be painful. These guys were great and people I assume are relatives were in the audience. Before the show, they came out (in their outfits) to say hi (excuse me; in the South it is "hey"). I noticed at one point before the festivities began that the older woman they had greeted was knitting or crocheting or something. Yep. I thought that was pretty funny and cool at the same time.

There were four opening acts. The next one was Noel Lee Haggard. He was really good. In fact, he has a new CD coming out, and I am thinking of buying it. The young man sitting to the left is Merle Haggard's other son (Danny?). It was neat to see Merle Haggard and his son playing together and seeing dad's pride in his son's ability.

The last opening act was a guy who played with Haggard's band (the Strangers?). He, too, did cover tunes. What was nice about hearing some cover tunes was that I was familiar enough with the artists being covered and some of the songs that I didn't feel lost. He did George Jones and Waylon Jennings. WOW! I cannot tell you how much fun I was having at this point. While it really sucked to be alone and not have someone to whom I could say, "Wow!" or "This is really cool," I still managed to have some interaction with folks sitting next to me. (That fun began when Merle Haggard took the stage.)

See, at every event, there is "that" girl. She's hot, she knows it, but when you put a little booze in her, the high-maintenance, crazy, pouting, beyotch comes out. Yeah, that girl was two rows in front of me and apparently thought she could dance. This was not the type of concert where you get up and dance. Most of the people are older and just want to sit (still hoot and holler) and enjoy the show. I did not pay to see her ass in my face. That pleasure should be reserved for her boyfriend (someone who I think might be just as much as an ass as she).

So, by this time in the show I am really enjoying myself, annoyed with the drunk chick, and I'm trying to think of ways to not go back to NJ. Now, a few people that figure in to this story need to be introduced. First, there are two burly, hunky, handsome guys that sat next to me. They were big and tall (good manners and called me sweetheart). Then around us, save for that wacky chick,the people next to her and the people in front of her, there were mostly older people. (Cute thing: a young man brought his grandmom to the sweet!)

Now that I've set the scene, keep in mind, booze is being sold and allowed in the auditorium. Yeah.

Mr. Haggard takes the stage and drunk chick can't keep her fanny in the seat. Now, it is perfectly acceptable to get up and dance and cheer, but not throughout the entire song when you have people behind you who paid to see Merle Haggard, not a drunk chick who needs a stripper pole. Remember those big, hunky, burly, hot guys I told you about? Yeah, to quote one: "I'm about to go redneck on that guy if his girlfriend doesn't sit down." Big guy grabs the ass-boyfriend and tells him rather sternly that the guy's girlfriend better sit, or there's gonna be trouble. (Guys, you realize this kind of manly behavior makes women hot, right? Not that you have to go through with a fight, but the fact you have balls...I digress.)

Drunk-ass-boyfriend made his girlfriend sit down. Actually, he was a little physical with her, which didn't set right with me, but I'm not getting in the middle of drunken mayhem. I didn't come to Nashville to fight; although, I kept thinking about how much fun it would be to knock her on her ass. It has been at least 21 years since I had a good fight, and that was a really good fight.

So later, drunk boyfriend with the courage only beer can create (a few songs later), gets up, turns around and announces to the big, burly, hot, hunky guys that this is his favorite Haggard song and he's gonna stand. Then the guy next to him got up and did some kind of dance that was crossed with Pee Wee Herman and a bad white rapper. As we were all getting peeved, the guy in front of me (a sane guy) turned to the hunky guys and said, "I got your back." I started to get worried that I didn't know the concealed weapons laws and that I might have to duck punches and stuff. However, I am 5'10" and when pushed, I push back.

But have no fear, security is always near! Yep, ours was about 80 years old. Maybe his dentures would put out an eye in a pinch?

But other than that slight bit of grrrr, the concert was amazing. Merle Haggard played over an hour. He played the guitar beautifully, his voice was without a hiccup whatsoever, and he played his fiddle a few times.

He did a song about half of a garden being for Willie (Nelson), with pot, mushrooms, and such. Yeah. Someone my dad's relative age...then he revealed what a horny old bastard he is. A good thing in my book.

The band was awesome, Haggard was awesome, and I am very glad I went. It was really neat to sit and observe how people identify with the words of people I consider prose-ish poet types who put their words (and other people's words) to song. It is a talent like no other, and one that I admire greatly.

(Yes, I knew some of the songs, but I thought you'd like an atmospheric post about the show.)


Ssssteve said...

Sweeeet!! I remember at Rex's wedding in Nashville, that the people that he had sing there, were better than the average country singers that were popular at that time. It who you know!!

Snigglefrits said...

Sounds like you're having a really good time RT. I would have loved being there with you- we could have enjoyed the music AND managed to trip the drunk dancing girl. ;)

RT said...

Hey stranger!

It befuddles the mind at how some very deserving and talented people get overlooked while marginally talented people get the recognition.

It was just something that really made me think last night while I was watching that guy on stage. I'm a sucker for fairness and justice, and I while I didn't begrudge him his luck, I was thinking about Rex's talent.

I remember watching my ex-boyfriend practice his drums one day for six hours while I did stuff around the band's practice "place." People don't realize a lot of the hard work that goes in to the love of the music.

I think I'm layig low for a couple of days to get myself settled in a bit more and to get a little rest.

Next week, I'm going to start on the belly busting thing. I have Zumba, ab sculpting (they are in there somewhere...I saw them once), and I will be walking. The absence of work-related stress has resulted in some weight loss already, but that won't be revealed until Saturday.

Yeah, I would have given anything to pour a beer on that girl's head.

USA_Admiral said...

Break out the Flyer and spank one of those Predator fans.

I could just see you getting put in the clink for bashing one of the locals. Talk about a vacation to remember.

It does sound like you are having very good time.

RT said...

They have hockey fans in this town? Heh.

I'm on my best behavior. Honest.

Considering I've only been here four days, I'd say I'm off to a good start. Hope it gets even better.

It is so quiet where I am. I'm so used to hearing the highway traffic and screeching brakes. Oh, and noisy neighbors. I'm loving this. There are a few condos for sale right here. I wish I could buy one.

Old NFO said...

Sounds like you had fun! Good pics too! thanks for posting them.

RT said...

Yep, had a good time. If I go anywhere, I plan on taking pictures to share with y'all.