Thursday, September 03, 2009


One of the very few things I've missed about the Rogue Valley since moving to Portland is the Britt Festival. Britt and my son. And my girlfriends.

Not only did I move far away from Jacksonville, but my hookup for tickets doesn't even work for Britt anymore, so it would have been pay as you go had I stayed, which I wouldn't have. Anyway, I bought tickets to see Bonnie Raitt at McMennamin's Edgefield, not knowing what the venue was like. Happily, it was just like Britt. Outdoors, sloping grass, blankets and boozing yuppies.

We were pretty much on time. The tickets said 5:00. We figured it was an early concert so all of us aging boomers could be in bed by nine. But it was only the gates that opened at 5:00. Being a first-timer, I didn't realize it was really almost completely like Britt, even in the not-so-great ways. Like the line. And line-sitting behavior. I'm not sure how much space I've taken up in this little diary discussing line behavior and my attitudes about it, but really, there are certain types, and they can be irritating. And concert behavior. That too. Anyway, as we approached the venue, it was clear we would be standing in line. Way way way back in line. Bucking up, we trekked past the people who had been sitting all day, earning their places, wishing we had known. But we have these pesky jobs. So there wasn't much we could have done except the Britt-inspired idea of paying someone to sit in line for us.

No need.

I heard someone shout, "Judy!" I just kept walking because I am invisible. No one knows me. I'm a stranger here. "Judy," the voice called again. I turned. "Hey, its Bob." I said. And it was. This guy we hardly know, who hardly knows us, knew my name. "We can't take cuts," I said, taking cuts. It was blatant. Sue me.

We got a great place right on the cusp of the lawn with a great view of the stage for "The BonTag Roulet," a Louisiana inspired tour with Taj Mahal. He seemed less like I remembered. It was only when he sang with Bonnie that he became again the old Mississippi blues man.

At concernts, I often notice drunk people. I sometimes envy them, but this evening, a woman who seemed to be having more fun than I've ever had, came tripping back from the outhouses with a two-foot long tail of toilet paper hanging from beneath her skirt. Laughing it off, she shouted to the crowd, "I'll never wipe again." A nice image.

So we tossed out our blankie and my low chair and got all set up. It was McMennamins, so the food was bound to be good. You can't bring in your own picnic like at Britt, so we had pulled-pork sandwiches with coleslaw. Yum. And two dollar water. God that pisses me off. We spent six bucks on water and that is the one thing you CAN bring in. Next time.

So, we sat down in our perfect place, on a school night, under the rising full moon, the audience a sea of gray hair, and like good white people, did not get up to dance until the bitter end. It was also like Britt in that if you DO get up off your lily-white ass and move, some dried-up schoolteacher behind you will tell you to stay seated so she can see. She will explain to you ad nauseum the decorum of open air seating. Amy-fucking-Vanderbilt. She was there. I saw her in action, Eddie Bauer long-shorts, waving her pointy little finger in Liz's face. Liz could have kicked her ass easy, but it just wasn't an ass-kicking kinda deal. Which begs the question: was there ever? Or were we just out there kicking ass for no reason?

I should clarify that I never specifically kicked anyone's ass. That I remember.

But come the bitter end, we danced and danced and danced. Listening to Bonnie sing "Angel from Montgomery" right there. Oh boy. That was a spiritual experience for me. She didn't do "Love Me Like a Man," but you can't have everything, can you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well I like to think we CAN have everything, and love me like a man would have made me feel like I did; but I DID go out and buy the used cd of hers with those songs she did sing, already had the cassette; and a car cd player to plug into my cassette. good ol' Bonnie.