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Shycat

Another concert

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Another concert and another year, from Marilyn Manson to John Prine. It was brutal. Now, I got nothing against John Prine--except how his songs are all sad or horrible.

I have to start at the beginning. I'd never been to the Grand Ole Opry House. I didn't know the Grand Ole Opry House was in the Grand Ole Parking Lot of Opry Mills Mall. Therefore. When I saw the big flashing sign that said event traffic exit 12, mall traffic exit 11, I thought to myself...what to do? What to do? I'm not going to the mall. I'm going to an event. Maybe they are talking to me. By that time, I'd missed exit 11.

I took exit 12.

I find "event" to be a very non-specific word. It could be a concert for over 3000 people. Or it could be whatever was happening at the Opryland Hotel--named in memory of a delightful amusement park they closed down to make room for shoe stores. Several uniformed persons waved futile red flashwands to guide me into conformation. I did not wish to attend the Hotel Event, holding a ticket to The Parking Lot House Event as I was. I had to turn around at a road block that was designed to keep any Hotel Event people from escaping south. I cut around the back way and arrived to my seat 15 minutes late. There was a woman singing at a piano when I arrived.

I didn't know who Iris DeMent was, much to the amazement of my neighbor as she informed me. I wished I had been 30 minutes late. Iris DeMent is apparently much beloved for her twanging nasal bluegrass gospel singing and serviceable self accompaniment on piano. She could hit those high notes with a little pause, a chirp, and a look of surprise mixed with relief on her face that said she couldn't hit them every time. My neighbor lady took out a roller ball applicator and put generous dabs on her wrists and behind her ears. I smiled and asked her what she was wearing. "Peppermint oil. I'm hoping it will help me stay awake."

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I went to a happier place in my mind and pondered whether to have my next waxing at the European Wax shop or just stick with my home set up. Those chirps (or maybe the smell of toothpaste) brought the subject to mind. After Iris's set, I got to chat with a lady a couple seats down when I noticed she was sporting blue nails with a silver glitter fade away. Her husband was dragging her to John Prine she said, and she only agreed after she found out Rateliff was playing. We hit it off and I'll be damned if she didn't pop a puffy peppermint candy into her mouth. I brushed my teeth right before I left home, but I started to feel paranoid and asked her for one. Can't beat'em anyway.

Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats made everything worth it. There's a band worth waxing for! I mean, waiting for. They were tight and the set was perfect. Rateliff's voice is strong and it bellowed out the smoothest soaring crescendos you could ever hope to hear. He's a charm to watch dance. I danced in my seat, as the audience seemed to be really feeling the church vibes from Iris and the pew-style seating. I glanced around, and like I do so often, eventually thought "fuck this" and stood up to dance. My friend down the pew joined me and it was a cascade effect. Most of our section was up dancing before long. Rateliff lifted his arms to us and I felt I'd discharged my number one fan duty. Our section was up first.

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They do a very energetic show and the whole house was up before long, dancing, clapping, and yelling "Son of a Bitch" at the appropriate moment. They did all the songs I knew and then some. It was fabulous show--even the John Prine fan behind me said "Wow. I feel like the evening's over." It wasn't.

John Prine got a huge rounds of applause and every song got big cheers of approval at the first recognizable note. The husband fan next to me stood to clap after every song. John was pleasant and funny on stage, and although he couldn't hit all his notes like his younger self, he did himself proud I think. Husband fan had to wipe his eyes while I sat there thinking "Man. What a downer. When can I leave without insulting everybody here."

We all took a break to watch some Halloween balloons drop (orange and black) and sing Auld Lang Syne.


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I'm glancing at my watch, hating to be rude. John sings a couple more, then brings out Iris to join him in some duets. I lean over to husband fan and lie my ass off. "I have to leave now to get home on time. Happy New Year!"


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  1. Shycat's Avatar
    Sam pointed out that orange is UT's color, and black would be universal for contrast. I don't buy that. Who could look at orange and black balloons and not think "Damn man. Them's Halloween colors."

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