Saturday, April 29, 2006
Kenneth met me at my house and we than went to meet Larry. Larry is the driver, he knows his way around New Orleans better than either of us. So after a quick stop for breakfast at Mickey D's we were on the twin spans heading into the city. And Larry has to ask "Do you have your ticket?"
Guess what? Guess which dunderhead didn't have his ticket? If you guessed me you guessed right. So I was off to a good start.
Tickets at the gate are forty dollars. My only hope is that the tickets are for any day of the weekend, so the ticket that I still have at home is for this weekend. I'm going to bring it with me tommorrow (let's hope so) and try to sell it for thirty dollars, cause that's what I paid for it. Shouldn't be too hard, I'm saving someone ten dollars. I figured ten dollars is my price for being stupid.
Today we set up at the Southern Comfort Stage. At Acrua is Dave Matthews Band today. I'm sorry Dave Matthews does nothing for me. I don't dislike him, but I don't like him. He leaves me blah. But boy there were a lot of people there to see him. There was a line outside the gate when we got there at 8:30 and it was his fans.
First act we caught was part of a local pop group called World Leader Pretend. They were alright. They didn't convince me to run out and buy their cd.
We wandered around some, spending more money. Got some food this time before heading back to the stage. It was weird, when we were outside the gate waiting in line we got to talk to this guy named Bud. He remembered seeing us last year. Bud ended up being on the front row at the Souther Comfort Stage with us.
First act up at the Southern Comfort Stage that we caught was Clarence "Frogman" Henry. This man is 74 years old, walked out with a walker and had a chair on the stage for him. But once he started singing he stood up, holding onto the mic stand and sang his heart out. He closed with his most well known song "Ain't Got No Home." Too true for too many people in the city still.
Up next was Snooks Eaglin. Snooks is another older singer, probably not much off in years from Frogman. Snooks is also blind. George Porter from the legendary Meters played guitar with him. Snooks had no set list. He would just ask someone to call out a song and that was what he would play. Snooks is a joy to watch perform, he is having so much fun.
After Snooks we stayed for Luther Kent. We were going to go to the other stage for the Subdues, but we were afraid we wouldn't get back. Luther is a local blues singer with a band of 12. He was good, just not the subdues.
But after Luther came Etta James. Now Etta is another performer that has been around forever it seems. She also has lost a lot of weight. Etta has a voice that is one of a kind. It is awesome. Her stage act would put Brittany or Christina to shame. For a woman of her age she is very sexual. The things she did with that microphone....
All in all it was another great day at the Fest. The weather was overcast all day, very windy and it looked like it was going to downpour any minute. But it didn't. We managed to make it out without any rain.
Tommorrow is Bruce Springsteen.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Larry and I left for the Fest at 7:30. Now you have to understand that the Festival doesn't even start until 11:00. It only takes about an hour to get there, so we were going to have a few hours to kill. But it gets us at the head of the line. And imagine this, when we got there we weren't even the first ones waiting for the gates to open. In fact there was a group of girls from California that had slept on the street in front of the gates so they could make sure they didnt miss Dylan's appearance at the Fest.
Once inside it's a quick sprint to the stage. Okay, maybe not a quick sprint. In fact for me it was a sprint than a stop and catch my breath and think that I used to be able to run longer than this without having a cardiac arrest before? What was I doing? Getting old or something?
The idea of the rush to the stage is to claim a spot. Today most of the acts we wanted to see were going to be at the Acrua Stage, which just happens to be the biggest stage there. It's good to see some of the smaller acts and the smaller stages, but sometimes it's also good to catch the major stages. This was the stage that Dylan was going to perform on and I don't miss Dylan. We managed to get a spot at the front and set up chairs up. The nice thing is once you get your spot, you can generally leave your chairs and wander a bit. At least for the first few acts, by the time the main events come on you need to be back at your chairs or you'll lose your spot.
So we planted our chairs and than headed off to buy the offical Jazz Fest poster. We figured this would be ten, twenty minutes tops. We waited in line for over an hour to get the poster. On the way back we stopped and bought the Jazz Fest beads also. This is getting expensive, so much to buy.
Once back at the stage and our seats we figured we were stuck for the rest of the Fest. It was getting very crowded. Fridays are normally the lightest day of the Fest, a lot of locals are working and can't make it.
First up, actually second up but he was performing when we got back, was Anders Osborne. Anders is orginially from Sweden and has lived in New Orleans for more than a few years. He sings a blend of New Orleans music and blues. Very good.
After Anders came the blues great Keb Mo. Keb is one of the best blues singer out there. He performed with just himself on guitar and one other player, this man was either playing guitar or banjo or mandolin. Keb plays sitting down for his entire performance. He doesn't do the jumping around or showing off, he just lets his music speak for itself and it speaks volumes.
Bob Dylan was next. He was about fifteen minutes late, which is not a good thing for the Fest. The time lines are pretty strict, with a seven o'clock cut off time. They need time to get the place cleaned up for the next day. Finally Dylan came out and began to play. I've read that he is playing keyboard now on tour. It was interesting to see him stand behind the keyboards and sing. He started with "Maggie's Farm" and ended with "All Along the Watchtower" in his encore. I was surprised that he had an encore, ususally there are no encores mainly due to the time restraints. In face Dylan played almost thirty minutes past his time.
I was surprised by the amount of young people that were there for Dylan. There were a lot of kids in their teens and early twenties that were there just to see Dylan. I didn't realize that he was still that popular.
Dylan loses points though cause he would not allow anyone to take pictures. That's one of the nice things about the Jazz Fest. You can take pictures. I enjoy taking pictures of the singers and groups. And what was worse was that there was no announcement from the stage that you couldn't take pictures. You found out when you raised your camera to take a picture and a security guard descended on you like a ton of bricks and demanded that you stop what you were doing. They were pretty ugly about it, none more so than Dylan's head of security. He strutted around scowling at everyone and jumping on people if they even looked like they might be thinking about taking a picture. I know it's Dylan's right not to have his picture taken, but some reason I would think he would be above such acts. It just didn't set well with me.
Dylan wasn't the final act. Dr. John came after. I was going to leave that stage when Dylan finished and head over to see Ani Difranco. I've seen Dr. John a few times and have never seen Ani Difranco. But Dylan went long, so by the time he was finished she would have already been started. And there was a little matter of the size of the crowd. This has to be the biggest Friday in the Fest's history. There were more people there than I have ever seen. There was no way I was going to even attempt to make my way through that crowd. So I just sat back and listened to Dr John and enjoyed it. Dr. John always puts on a good show.
After the end of the singing we headed over to buy more goodies. A t shirt and we were ready to head home. All in all we couldn't have asked for a better opening for Jazz Fest. The weather was great, it never got too hot and the rain held off. So tommorrow is another day and more great music.
If anyone that has been reading this blog for any length of time they'll know how important music is to me. I'm one of those idealists that still believe that music can change the world. To me music can bring tears, laughter, just about any emotion that you can imagine. Music can heal the soul.
For a lot of people out there New Orleans has slipped off the nightly news. The hurricane was eight months ago. More than enough time for the city to get itself straightened out right? Things should be back to normal now. Right?
Just drive down I-10 through New Orleans East and you'll get an answer to thost questions very quickly. As many times as I've driven that section of the interstate my heart still sinks a little when I travel it. It's hard not to want to cry when you drive it, the homes are still wrecked, buildings with the roofs collapsed, store signs fallen over into a building, long sections of wooden fences just blown over...I could go on, but you get the point.
This is not something that will be corrected quickly. New Orleans may take years to get better. As much as it important to the soul of the city to continue with events like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest I believe that there is a section of people out there that see these things going on and believe that must mean New Orleans is fixed. Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest are helping to fix New Orleans, they're helping to rebuild the soul of this city, to bring a much needed feeling of normalacy to a battered citizenary.
In its own way its showing that music can change the world.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Next weekend will be really busy. That Monday after Jazzfest I'm going to Disneyworld. I haven't been to Disneyworld in over twenty years. Heather and I had talked about going for awhile now, but she can't make it at this time, so Nick and I are going.
Jazzfest is Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday night after I get back from Jazzfest I'm going to have to drive over to the Westbank to bring Buffy to my brothers. Buffy will stay with him for the week that I'm in Disnyworld.
I can't wait....it's been too long since I've been there.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
This was from 2004 at Christmas time. Last year was the first year that I have not been over my parents for Christmas. They moved right before Christmas and are too far for me to drive for one day. I work in retail so I get Christmas off and that's it for that time of year. My parents said next year they plan to come down here for Christmas and stay with either me or my brother. They're worse than kids when it comes to Christmas so I know they missed not having either me or my brother up there.
As you can see I'm dressed to the nines.
This is from last year's Jazz Fest. That's me in the red shirt and the guy I'm talking to is Brian Stotlz. He is a singer/songwriter. He was in the Neivelle Brother's band for a few years, but now he's out on his own and making some great music.
No, don't worry, these aren't current pictures. This is more of my clutter I'm cleaning out. This is what I was greeted with when I drove up from leaving due to Katrina. Looks pretty bad, but it wasn't as bad as it looks. Took me most of a day to cut that tree up and get it off my porch.
This is a shot from the back of my yard. As you can tell the storm blew my fence down. The good thing was that it just blew it over in sections. We were able to basically pick the sections up, pour more concrete and nail them back together. Ok, ok, I wasn't part of that they. My parents and brother came out and put my fence back together while I was in the hospital.
This picture makes it look really bad, but I made out a lot better than a lot of people.
Ok, as you can tell from yesterday's reworking of this blog I'm in one of those moods. Like I said I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. I'm cleaning up my office area, and when I say it needs cleaning I'm not lying. As I clean I'm finding a lot of old stuff and pictures that I meant to blog about but just never got around to. So now you're going to get the chance to see some of this stuff.
This is a picture of the twin spans that cross the lake from Slidell where I live towards New Orleans. This was a few weeks after Katrina. Both sides had been damaged but they got the north bound lanes open within weeks. The other side is now open too and traffic is flowing both ways.
I can't wait.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
To be honest it's been awhile since I've been very exicted about this whole blog thing. When I started I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Even during my evacuation from the city due to Katrina I kept up with it. Lately though it seems to be a chore. The malaise I have been feeling has to do with a lot of things, some of which I'll tak about in other posts, but suffice to say I don't feel like I've been doing good at a lot of things lately. But I'm here to tell you that is all going to change. I don't like feeling like the world is passing me by while I try to keep up on my tricycle. From now on I'm going to pedal harder and faster and not just keep up, but move ahead.
And as proof of that I've been playing with this blog, trying to improve it, trying to make me enjoy it again. I've added a lot of things to the sidebars, lots of links to other blogs I've been reading. Also blogs about things I enjoy, be they this city I love or comic books. I've moved around some other things too, so hopefully you can read things a bit better. I know I have a lot of....stuff, shall we say, on the sidebar, but I can't help it. I see things that interest me and I just want to pass them on. I hope some of you enjoy some of them at least.
I do enjoy this world of blogging and I treasure the friends I have made on here so far. I may slow down now and than, but I plan to be on here blogging and making friends for years to come.