Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Saturday in Austin.

Sorry it's taken so long for me to put this out, but I've been busy with classes and tryin'' to get all these pictures fixed. You can go to the FlickR site here and check them all out. Now, I figure to do this justice I need to split it into two posts. One for Saturday and another for Sunday. So, here goes...

Denise and I woke up about 9:30 Saturday mornin' and then rolled around till about 10. We wanted to get to Austin, to Pappasito’s, by about noon, but all the layin’ around got us there late. Still, when we got there, the food and drinks were wonderful. The spicy queso, chips and salsa were as good as they always are, and those brochette shrimp, slathered in butter and white wine sauce, just melted in my mouth.

We stuffed ourselves to an unprecedented degree, not having the luxury this time of being able to take the leftovers home. We were gonna be heading to the ACL Festival from the restaurant, so we had to consume it all! As I predicted before, two beers off the tap for me, and two strawberry margaritas for the lady. Chicken enchiladas all around. One beef for me, but the chicken was better.

After that we went and checked into our hotel room at the Ramada. It’s right near the restaurant, on the other side of I-35. The room was nice. We stayed there just long enough to unload the bags and then headed out to find Republic Square. 4th and Guadalupe, in down town Austin. That’s where you get on the shuttle bus that takes you to the Festival. We found a parking garage right on the square and paid $10 to park there all day. Well worth the money for the convenience of not having to walk your ass off to get to the car when you come back after the gig. believe me, you've done enough walkin' by then.

The whole thing was amazingly well organized. You walked in a line with other folks at the park, with the line moving very fast, and got on a shuttle bus that took you on about a ten or fifteen minute ride, dropping you off right in front of the show.

Then you’re on your own. Denise had asked me what kind of shoes she should wear, never having been to one of these things before. I told her to be sure and wear good walking shoes. When she asked me if we were gonna be carrying folding chairs I told her that we wouldn’t need them. I told her that the festival was gonna be held in a nice park, with green grass, so we could just sit on the grass. A blanket would do.

Sheeeeiiiitttt! I forgot where I was. Yep, Texas in September, with no friggin’ rain for months. We’re talkin’ brown, dead grass. We’re talkin’ dust everywhere and hard ground. As we were grabbin’ stuff out of the trunk we discovered that there was one folding chair in there in it’s bag. Denise wanted it so I decided to lug it.

Later I was wishin’ I’d lugged two. Having said that though, I was also envyin’ guys I saw who didn’t have any crap to carry. Ideal thing would be to just carry money and a small camera. But then there’s the water, the blanket, the spare batteries and card for the camera, the t-shirts you buy, etc. etc. etc.

I told Denise some time Sunday afternoon that what we really needed was a friggin’ Sherpa. Some happy little dude who’d lug a ton of shit for ya so you could relax. Don’t we all need that in our life, now and then?

The crowds were amazing. They usually have something like 65,000 people showing up for this thing. We planned to get there in time to see this guy…

Robert earl Keen. He’s a local singer/song writer who has a large local following. He’s written lots of songs that you’ve probably heard other musicians singing. After that John Fogerty took the stage.

His music was wonderful to hear.

He played all the classic CCR stuff, plus a few others. Thing is, I couldn't stop thinkin' why and old geezer like that would dye his hair dark, takin' all the grey out. As if he could fool anyone with that old face and all those wrinkles. Looks like someones granddaddy with a wig on.

He came out in a hurry, as all these bands did. In the festival setting, each band has only a limited amount of time to play. Fogerty came out and told the crowd "We've only got an hour, so let's get to it!" Meanwhile, I notice all those folks who were able to take seats up at the side of the stage. You can see them there on the upper left of the picture. There were folks up there for every act that played on this stage (the AMD stage), including Fogerty, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, and The Raconteurs on Sunday.

I started wonderin' whose dick I was gonna have to suck to get a seat up there. Then I remembered a story Mushy told me about gettin' to sit up on stage at an Allman Brothers concert. He got passes from someone at work who was a relative of someone in the band. I guess it's always cool to know someone.

After Fogerty quit we shifted position down the hill to the north, where the Black Keys were gonna go on stage at the AT&T Blue Room stage.

This is one of the bands that my buddy Mushy's turned me onto in the last year or so. I have to say that at first, it was a hard sell. I wasn't much into the raw sound that these two dudes from Akron, Ohio put out.

You look up on the stage and all you see is just a drum and guitar, with the drummer, Patrick Carney, beatin' out a steady rythm and the guitar player, Dan Auerbach, blarin' out amazing riffs and puttin' out these amazing, soulful blues lyrics. That's it. His voice sounds like one you'd expect in a much older Blues artist.

Well, once you see them live, you'll be hooked, as I am. Here's a taste. Someone taped this at the show and uploaded it to YouTube after the show. Enjoy.

Excellent, stuff, I wanna tell ya. In 45 minute set, they played Thickfreakness, Set You Free, 10 A.M. Automatic, Psychotic Girl, Stack Shot Billy, Busted, I'm Glad, Strange Times, Your Touch, and I Got Mine.

Again though, the problem was they only had 45 minutes to play. It seemed like it was over before it started! That REALLY sucked, but it went with the territory. They flashed the news on the monitors later that they were gonna play and Aftershow at Stubbs BBQ Sunday night. I thought about it, but we were both pooped from all that walkin' around, and Denise isn't really a fan of the Keys, so we blew it off. Would'a been cool, but I'll see them again some day.

As the Keys show ended we all drifted back up the hill to the AMD stage to see Alison Krauss and Robert Plant.

These folks put out a great show too, but once again, the festival setting got in the way of things.

As they were taking the stage at our end of Zilker Park, Beck was taking the stage at the other AT&T stage, at the other end of the park. While the two venues were far enough apart during the day, at night the sound carried, and while Krauss and Plant gave a great, if abbreviated show, there was always the sound of what seemed to be a train going over a trestle down at the other end of the park. At one point, after backing up Krauss as she sang "Down to the River to Pray", Plant said something about how "Usually that's a beautiful song to hear", or something like that. Their show was MUCH more suited to the Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie, where we saw them a few months ago.

After their headlining show ended we took about 20 minutes to peruse t-shirts and used the shitter, and then we walked out the gate to get in line to get back on the shuttle to Republic Park. That's when the evening lost it's luster. We had to walk almost all the way down Barton Creek Road to get to the END of the line for the shuttle, and then walk all the way back up to get to the friggin' bus.

I wanna tell ya, that was exhausting and frustrating. The way was clogged with people who were ether walking home or riding bikes, and when we reached the end of the line and could get in it and walk the other way, it was as if we were salmon swimming up stream against the tide. We made it back to the park, and found out how handy it was to be parked right there in that garage, just in front of the elevator. before we knew it we were back in out hotel room, unwinding with a few adult beverages and checkin' out the TV channels. Soon we were both sawin' logs, determined to get a good nights sleep and sleep in before the next day of the festival.

Denise told me I was lucky I'd gotten the hotel room, because if we'd a driven home that night she wouldn't be back the next day. In the end though, while Sunday was maybe a bit hotter, the music was much better, and in the end she was glad she'd come with me. But more about that later. Cheers.


Mushy said...

Great write-up brother! Sounds wonderful and, after not getting to go to the Nashville concert, I'm jealous as hell!

Truthfully, I'm not sure this old man could have held out for all the heat, dust, piss, and alcohol, but I guess I would like to try one day.

I suppose that's what keeps me from going to Bonaroo every year here - afraid I'd flake out and embarrass everyone concerned!

Rock on dude!

Chuck said...

Man, y'all have the best fun! Sounds and looks like an awesome time. Can't wait to read about Sunday.

Suldog said...

Damn, that sounds like a great time! Fogerty! He's one of those heroes of mine that I have yet to see perform live. I envy you that.