One of the advantages of living in Southwest Indiana, besides the Tulip Trees, is the fact that we're only on average between 2 to 3 hours from either Louisville, KY...St. Louis, MO...Indianapolis, IN...Cincinnati, OH...and my favorite...Nashville, TN.
Lady Allwinky and myself, and sometimes just myself, make the trek to Nashville quiet often. Aside from it's beauty, great food and friendly people...the real draw is the music!
Best known for it's Country Music Roots, the Grand Ole' Opry and Honky Tonk Bars, like Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and Layla's Bluegrass Inn, it is also home to the Contemporary Christian music industry and a growing Rock N Roll scene.
The past week I had the good fortune to combine business with music pleasure while attending the Ambulatory Surgery Center convention at Opryland Hotel. After a couple of days of productive business, a vigorous workout and relaxing massage...I pointed my steel horse towards Vanderbilt University on the West End to take in a Dave Matthew's Band concert. It was AWESOME!
Held outside in the Football (Not that sissy soccer game...but real man football) Stadium under a clear 70 degree twilight to clear night sky...it was the perfect setting to let the Spirit flow! I was on the field the entire evening surrounded by 30,000 screaming fans in the stands.
The opening act was Jason Mraz, who is surprisingly much better live than on his records; however, he played the perfect background music to stand in the beer line for 20 minutes to buy your two pints at a time limit. While in line I was feeling quiet generous and gave a young college girl some money, when I saw her frantically looking in her purse for more money, so she wouldn't have to get back in line. I also struck up a conversation with a young 19 Delta soldier, my son being 19 Kilo, who just got back from Iraq on his second 15-month tour, who is getting out of service next month. I bought his beers.
Once Dave took the stage, I was overwhelmed with the aromatherapy of marijuana, something that I hadn't experienced since my college days. I could have closed my eyes and thought I was back in 1973, with young girls in peasant skirts, tie dyed tank tops and headbands swaying barefoot to the music. It was a great circle of life moment for me!
The Band opened up with Bartender...one of my favorite songs. "Bartender please, pour a drink for me, the wine that set Jesus free after three days in the ground."
I made it to the third row in front of the stage and mind melded with the crowd and the Band. I recently have been taking Yoga classes, and the site of the barefooted ladies made me decide to join them in being grounded to the earth while reaching for the heavens. My feet were being massaged by the well kept grass on the playing field and the vibrations through the earth from the music.
Nature soon called, which required a 100 yard run to the other end zone, where the portable toilets were stationed. It became a surreal trip as I remember weaving through bodies as a wide receiver towards the end zone in my younger days.
I moved with speed and determination as I picked my next cut through the natural seams being presented to me. A slight head bob to the left and cutting right to miss the bearded boy coming straight at me. A high step over a beer cup as a young lady was reaching back to grasp either it or my leg. I was Sticky Fingers Wells once again. OK, the nickname wasn't from the Rolling Stones album, or from sexual actions, but from the fact that if the ball was anywhere close to my hands...I CAUGHT IT!
After making a 100 yard Touchdown Reception at Vanderbilt Stadium, I was rewarded with a shit filled porta-potty and another interesting encounter. Making sure that I didn't spill my beer, not falling in and keeping the gag reflex down...I transcended the moment when the music bounced off the plastic walls inside. It was the absolute best place to listen to the music! Sonic purity at its precise point! Every bar, church, stadium has it.
I realized, after finally coming back down from this musical high, that I was there to SEE Dave Matthews, and I couldn't bloody well say, "Oh yea, I saw Dave Matthews in concert inside a porta-potty!" So, I headed back down to my third row front stage area for the last few songs.
The Band was awesome with its new sax player and Tim Reynolds making the tour on guitar with them. Two highlights besides the opening number, where actually covers, the Talking Heads "Burning Down the House" and Bob Dylan's made famous by Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower".
After the concert ended, I decided to make the 10 minute drive down Broadway to Music Row and Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. I was greeted by the house band with a guest female fiddle player, who looked like Taylor Swift but played like Charlie Daniels running from the Devil! She was awesome! I stayed and helped a squad of Marines on leave shut the place down at 3 a.m.
The perfect end to the perfect night in Music City! Stay tuned for Part 2.
Sir Hook the Music Man and Party Animal of Warrick