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
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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.”
Dude, Where’s My Car? September 20, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts, family, personal stories.
Tags: children, Levitt Shell, lost car, Lucero, Memphis, parking lot
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Over the years since my traumatic brain injury, I’ve had to deal with an assortment of problems and annoyances stemming from having a brain that does not always function at its full capability, but there is probably no side effect more bothersome than trying to find a parked car. Most days this isn’t a problem because I leave my vehicle in the same general area of the parking lot at work, but when I’m not in my normal environment, this deficiency in my brain power becomes far more pronounced.
I say this because it struck again last night. I took my daughters to the Jim Dickinson Memorial Folk Festival held at the Levitt Shell in Memphis. It is one of many free music events that take place on a regular basis in the park when the temperature is conducive to sitting outside and it also happened that this particular performance included one of our favorite bands from Memphis, Lucero. While I’ve seen better Lucero shows over the years, the girls really enjoyed it and we even got to hang out with my good friend Chris, so by all accounts, the night was a success.
It was getting late for a school night, so we left after Lucero’s set and before the North Mississippi All-Stars took the stage, and that was when I realized that I had no idea where the van was parked. We started off walking to one side and we trudged on and on through the dim street lights with the power of the North Mississippi blues blaring from some distance away, but eventually, we realized that our vehicle was not in that direction.
My younger daughter was sick of walking by then and started in on the whining, “Daddy, where’s our car? Daddy, why can’t you find it?” and on and on, until I finally picked her up and placed her on my shoulders, while still holding the blanket we sat on at the show in my hands. So, we then turned and walked the other way and again we walked and walked, moving between the darkness-piercing streetlights and hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe the van would magically appear in front of us.
After several more minutes of walking, my younger daughter again cried out, “I’m tired, I’m cold, I’m wet, and we’re NEVER going to find our car! Daddy it’s gone” and then she broke down in exhausted tears. I patted her leg, which was still draped over my shoulders as her increasingly heavy 6 year old from bore down on me, and we kept moving forward, placing one foot in front of the other in the darkness.
At some point we realized we were beside the golf course and it was like a light was suddenly turned on over my older daughter’s head. “Daddy,” she said excitedly, “There were golfers where we parked! I remember! We’re almost there!”
I assured her that she was right, that we were almost there, but truthfully I had no clue. There was a faint memory of golfers, but I can never be sure if we truly saw them or if I am creating the image in the hope that it is correct. So, we walked and we walked, until finally her finger shot forward in the night air, and I heard her call out, “Daddy, I see it! I see the car!” and she took off running down the street.
Being somewhat encumbered by a little girl who was beginning to make me feel like the mythical Atlas, I was lagging behind her, but we eventually caught up with her and, lo and behold, she was right. We had finally found the object of our hunt, the elusive Siena, nestled in its hiding place in the midst of a multitude of vehicles. And just like that everything was right in the world again.
So, today I downloaded the Find My Car app for the iPhone.