My Birthday Eve’s Eve with Hayes Carll October 15, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: birthday dedication, Hayes Carll, Levitt Shell, Little Rock, Memphis, personal contact
What a night.
It began with dinner last night when Diana and I met with two couples, our good friends James and Veronica, and some new friends from church, Phillip and Amanda, and we chowed down on a large, deep dish Chicago-style pizza. I got down 1.5 slices of artery-choking goodness before I had to give in and push away from the table. It was a great meal with even better company and helped set our evening off on the right foot.
Following that, Phillip and Amanda joined Diana and I in our van and we drove across the stateline into Memphis, where we cruised over to the location of the night’s entertainment, the Levitt Shell. The Shell has made a name for itself in recent years by bringing in numerous free concerts for the community and it has become quite the spot for inexpensive fun in the city. That night an artist who I have long enjoyed, Hayes Carll, was scheduled to perform, so we decided to make an evening of it and have a little birthday party for me on the grounds. When we arrived, we found our friends Jerry and Kathy, and settled in for some birthday cupcakes and beer (Jerry gave me a Rogue Double Chocolate Stout for my birthday) before the show kicked off.
Carll hit the stage around 7:30 and tore through a set filled with numbers that were familiar to me, songs like “Stomp and Holler,” “Hard Out Here,” “KMAG YOYO,” “The Lovin’ Cup,” “Drunken Poet’s Dream,” Wild as a Turkey,” and “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart,” rang out across Overton Park as the crowd soaked in the country-rock goodness. He showed some of his trademark humor in his audience banter, particularly when he described the tune, “Chances Are,” as “Conway Twitty, naked, on a bearskin rug.” I must say that image had never crossed my mind before.
The personal highlight for me, though, came at about the halfway point of the show. You see, that morning I emailed his tour manager, told him I was a big fan and that we would be celebrating my birthday at the show. I told him that my roots were in central Arkansas (He’s a Hendrix grad, so he’s spent time in the area), and requested that he play one of his older songs, “Little Rock,” found on one a small label album from several years ago. Much to my delight and surprise, he said, “I can’t remember his name, but there is someone celebrating their birthday out there tonight and this song is for him.” My day was complete.
During the encore break we sent some cupcakes to Carll and the band to show our appreciation.
When the show was over, he appeared at the merchandise tent to sign autographs and meet the concert goers, so I made my way over there as soon as possible and, when a lane opened in the few people who stuck around, I moved in and shook his hand.
“Great show, man. Hey, I’m the guy who’s celebrating their birthday that you dedicated ‘Little Rock’ to!”
He looked at me, eyes seemingly a bit clouded over, “Stevie?”
“No, Matt from Beebe.”
“Oh yeah, yeah, man, happy birthday.”
“Thanks, could I get a picture?”
“Hey, thanks again for playing that song tonight. You made my day.”
“No problem, man. Have a good one.”