Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vacation re-cap Part 5

One evening, two shows
So we arrived back home on Wednesday the 11th, with plans to leave again on Friday the 13th for K's sister's wedding in Round Rock. While we were in Port Aransas, I found out that Johnny Bush and Tommy Alverson would be performing at Cotton Belt Barbecue in North Richland Hills on the night of the 12th. I'd been wanting for a long time to see Johnny Bush perform. But then on the afternoon of the 12th, I found out that the Old 97s would be playing at the Granada Theater in Dallas that same night! Would I be able to catch both shows? Johnny and Tommy were scheduled to start at 7:30, while the Old 97s were due to start around 10, so it looked promising...
After dinner, I picked up my friend Matt and we headed to Cotton Belt. Alverson and Bush took the stage and began playing right at the advertised time. There were no backing bands, just Johnny and Tommy playing acoustic guitar and taking turns singing. The music sounded ok, despite Cotton Belt's absolutely awful indoor sound system. I couldn't understand a single word the guys were saying between songs. Alverson offered up such favorites as "Maybe in Mexico" and "Me on the Jukebox" while Bush played mostly songs that I didn't recognize (even though I have two of his albums, and have heard lots of his stuff on KHYI and KNON.) But they sounded good.
Tommy Alverson and Johnny Bush - October 12 at Cotton Belt Barbecue
I was amazed that someone of Bush's caliber and talent drew such a small crowd for a free show, but then again, it's not like the show was heavily advertised. Even though we had already eaten, we made sure to contribute to CottonBelt's bottom line by purchasing a couple of beers each. The guys took a break after the first set, and started playing again around 9 pm. Our friend Stephen had arrived during the first set, and we only stuck around for a few songs of the second set before it was time to head on over to Dallas. It was great to finally see "the Great" Johnny Bush...I would have been more interested in staying for the rest of the set if Cotton Belt's sound system had been better. If you plan on catching a show there, I suggest getting there early and sitting right in front of the stage. We were sitting in the middle (about 30 - 40 feet from the stage) and our experience suffered for it. Anyway, on to Dallas...
We arrived at the Granada on Lower Greenville just shy of 10 pm. There was a large line at the ticket window, and we had to park a few blocks away. Every time I see them, the Old 97s draw a bigger crowd than they did the last time I saw them. The trend continued with this show, and they apparently weren't afraid to charge "big name" ticket prices -- $25.50! I can't remember the last time I paid that much to see a show.

Granada Theater on Lower Greenville in Dallas

This was my first time to see a show at the Granada, and they really rolled out the red carpet for us... the ticket-taker asked us if we had been there before. When we answered "no", he told us where the restrooms and bar were, and which hall to use to get to the concert hall. The place was absolutely packed; I'd say the crowd was easily a couple thousand. The ushers wouldn't let anyone stand in the aisles, so we ended up standing in almost the very back of the mezzanine level. The sound system was pretty good, but we couldn't see the band very well. They started almost as soon as we arrived. It was their standard high-energy set, consisting of a good mix of new and old songs, with Rhett yelling a lot of the lyrics. They played lots of songs from "Drag it Up" (including "Coahuila" on which guitarist Ken Betthea sings), "Satellite Rides" and "Fight Songs". Bassist Murry Hammond handled vocals on a few songs ("West Texas Teardrops" and their cover of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried"). It was a special treat to hear him sing Don Walser's "Rolling Stone from Texas" as a tribute to Don, who passed away a couple weeks ago. They threw in several of their old standbys, like"Doreen", "Big Brown Eyes", "Four Leaf Clover", "Stoned", and "St.Ignatius".... as well as a few songs that they don't play at every show, like "Over the Cliff" and "Old Familiar Steam". Between the first set and the encore, Rhett performed a couple of acoustic songs. And of course, they closed with "Time Bomb". A good time was had by all, especially Stephen and Matt, who were impressed not just by the band, but also by the large number of attractive young ladies in the crowd. I explained to them that the crowd was pretty much par for the course at ANY Old 97s show, especially in Dallas. I hadn't seen Rhett and the boys for a few years (they just don't play locally that much anymore), but I always enjoy their shows. We were too far from the stage to get any photos, so maybe next time...

Stay tuned for Part 6...


nr: John Steinbeck - Tortilla Flat

np: Ray Wylie Hubbard - Crusades of the Restless Knights


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