Sunday, February 22, 2009

Comparison Of Fun Things

This weekend Wyatt and I had occasion to take in some musical events, and today I will compare them.

Saturday night we went to see Willie Nelson at War Memorial Auditorium. He was backed by a superb band, Asleep At The Wheel, which had a smokin' horn section and was just all-around world class.

Loved the music, but alas, big shows like that are such a pain in the ass. We got there a half hour before the show but we still got caught in a traffic clusterfuck on High Point Road. Having to part with $10 to park was a real downer, too. And we realized that we'd have the leave the show early in order to escape the nightmare the parking lot would become at the end of the show.

Inside we had seats on the first row of the balcony, which was nice enough. Wyatt was happy because he could stretch his legs out over the railing. But it was still like being penned up like a veal calf. After a while it became downright uncomfortable. It's not a situation where you can stand up and stretch because the people behind you will complain, and you can't just get up and stand in the aisle for a break because the people between you and the end of the row all have to stand to let you by.

It's ironic that you pay big money to see a musician you enjoy, but you have to sit still and behave yourself during the performance, let your legs go to sleep and feel your back start to hurt, until you get the point where you're looking forward to it being over. Hell no, dancing is out of the question. What the hell kind of culture do we live in that puts people in this kind of position?

Sunday afternoon we went to see the Raving Knaves at Rider's in the Country in Randleman. That is a nice place - plenty of room to allow people to enjoy themselves. It has a dance floor, tables and chairs, a side room with video games and pool tables, and an enclosed porch. There was a hot dog buffet complete with chili, sauerkraut, and slaw. We had great seats, the kind that aren't attached to the floor. I would have gotten on the dance floor, but couldn't talk anybody into going with me. They put on a great show - I really like their new drummer, who played the harmonica too and stood on his seat to hit the cymbals for dramatic effect. They play rockin' blue collar theme song music, have great original tunes, and I know them.

I have to say I liked the Raving Knaves show more.

A couple of notable things related to dancing happened after the Knaves show. You know how between bands at a performance there will sometimes be filler music from the radio or a mix CD. During a break while the Knaves were taking their stuff down, some women got up to line dance to a Nelly song. Now, as far as I know, Rider's is normally a country bar, very sort of Urban Cowboy, lots of pointy-toed boots and cowboy hats. But hip hop seemed to get these folks rolling. A few minutes after the Nelly song I noticed a fat man dressed in a studded biker jacket and leather cowboy hat grinding his hips to another hip hop song. He just stood up from the table where he was sitting with his friends and started shakin' that thang, and he was very good at it. Hypnotic, it was. I salute that.

After we left Rider's, Wyatt and I stopped at a gas station on Wendover. He was filling up the Blazer and squeegeeing the windows when a dirty white pickup stopped nearby and the 50-something guys inside started yelling at me. Oh shit, they're going to ask me for directions, I thought, and I was filled with dread - I can't tell left from right without holding up the thumb and forefingers on my hands to see which one makes an L (that one's left). On top of that the driver looked like he was likely a recent transplant from one of the nations south of here, and I prepared to open the door to the dusty Spanish files in my brain.

But when I approached the passenger said "Lissenna this song here - less daince!" They were both grinning and bobbing madly in their seats to Irene Cara singing "Flashdance (What A Feeling)" so I spent a minute or so dancing too. "Whooo!" they shouted.

That was the most fun thing of the weekend.

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