It was my neighbor’s 70th birthday yesterday and all of her friends and family were tight lipped about the surprise party that had been planned for her at her son’s mini-mansion in Raleigh. Just after five pm the guest of honor arrived only to be immediately startled by the 50 or so of us yelling at her “Surprise!” Miss Janet is a wonderful person who’s had a string of bad luck on a few recent trips. One of her trips (pun intended) even resulted in a broken femur bone in her leg. That was on her and (husband) Chick’s visit to Hawaii and since she never actually got the Hawaiian experience, the party had a luau theme. We were just about to sit down for shrimps, pineapples, rice and other goodies when the bottom fell out of the sky and put a real DAMPer (again, pun intended) on things, especially valuable pictures and presents. Everyone rolled with the punches though and with a little sunshine and diligent work by the catering wait staff, tables and chairs were toweled off and we dug on in. Here’s to wishing her 70 more great years! Well…how about as many of them as she wants…
Nathan and I then met Jonathan over at Jack’s for quick tambo-stick (thanks ‘Scoe!) work on “Walking with a Mountain”, the Mott song that we absolutely DESTROYED (and I mean that in a very good way!)! My buddy, Barry Herndon came over and after listening to a few Woods tracks we went out for Mexican. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “You had TWO dinners? No wonder you’re so damn fat!” No, at the party I had just a few shrimp and just tasted the other items, I knew I was gonna have to take Nathan out to dinner so I was saving myself.
After being serenaded to by the wandering, bad singing Mexican serenader dude at El Rodeo, who did our request of John Lennon’s “Imagine” quite nicely actually (it was the other folks he sang horribly for, especially “Unchained Melody”, yikes!), we ate dinner and scrammed to the concert. Now, I know I’ve talked ugly about Charlie Daniels before but when you’re a dad you gotta do things you really don’t wanna do. Nathan HAD to see him play “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” live so I said I would take him to the free show at Raleigh’s “Downtown Live”, in Moore Square just across the street from The Pour House. Barry had made the call to our friend Dave Rose the night before to get us into the reserved area complete with chairs and a tent overhead, usually a $35 per head ticket. Thanks so much to both of those guys for making that happen, without the tent the whole night could have been disastrous! After another one of them “Jam-grass” acts, YARN left the stage and it was only about 20 or so minutes before Charlie and the good ole boys cranked it up. The first song gave me a lot of promise. I mean A LOT! It rocked not unlike the Dave Edmunds show that inspired me so much years ago. I was bouncing on my toes! The next song, “The South’s Gonna Do It Again” (Do what? Lose?), was bearable but only because of the incredible musicianship of the band. The drummer was mind blowingly good, an incredible athlete! He was a double kicker which oft times confuses the hell outta me cuz I can’t sometimes figger out where that other beat is coming from. But he really was great…if you like that kinda thing. So the show goes on, and it’s a slow, downward spiral. He, of 40 studio records fame, lets a couple of the other band members do some their “original” compositions. They were awful. One was an instrumental that really sounded more like Santana and Steely Dan than anything I would consider as Country. Charlie then did some preachin’ about love of country and supporting the troops which was fine and then commenced to shouting the hell out of the Pledge of Allegiance. A song about being proud to be a redneck followed and then another useless instrumental which went on forever including a 10 minute drum solo accented by a few thunderclaps from the man upstairs. This excited the crowd and they screamed for more thunder and even some lightening! Then, for the second time in my day, there was a deluge of rain on my parade. It came down in buckets! The band was running into each other trying to get off stage and our tent became inhabited by them nasty commoners who hadn’t paid their $35! (oh wait a minute…neither had I!!) It was a scary scene, not for me but for little Nathan who has anxiety issues anyway. “Are we gonna die?” he shouted in my ear. “No, we’re fine” I assured him. Rain was flying sideways and the thunder and lightning sounded and looked as if it were attacking us from close range out of nearby trees. It was probably the 10 scariest minutes of Nathan’s 13 year old life, but it was soon over and the crew had already began throwing the gear into road cases and rolling it off stage.
That was it? No “Devil Went Down To Georgia”? Really? I waited all that time and put up with all of that musical masturbation for nothing’?! My son doesn’t get his wish?
It had quit raining and a small crowd of a hundred or so drunks gathered in front of the stage “Charlie, Charlie, Charlie…” but the cymbals were off, amps were gone and the crew was giving them the slash across the throat sign. Damnit!! Foiled again!...and in the same day! As Barry put it, “They could have cut that last instrumental and easily gotten “Devil” in.” You know, they DO have the Doppler radar on line, at the ready. Someone with one eye on their iPhone would have been all it would have taken to not disappoint a really big, raucous crowd…and Nathan.