June 8 & 9 – Alabama 3

So I come back from my morning looksee and there’s this big bus unloading right there and there’s Aurora Dawn her own self sitting on the  bridge wall looking very friendly,  and there ‘s Steve Finnerty and and I  say “love ya” to  them and walk on my way across the tiny car park. Everything about this place is intimate. I think now for what ever reason she was the friendly person I was supposed to talk to. but didn’t. Walk right by Mr. Jake on the way in.

So there aren’t a lot of pictures because I was trying to just be with the day despite being real uncomfortable with the actual band members just hanging out with folks.  You spend a couple years studying and listening to people mostly as pixilated images on a lap top then they’re just sitting there being humans- its quite disconcerting.

Too nervous to nap. Get into my outfit lacking girlfriends to adjust it but aided by a half of Tetley’s and Sweet Honey in The Rock (The vocal ensemble not the ‘ bama 3 song)- mostly I’m Gonna Stay on the Battlefield and Jesus is All. http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRe5aACNx50

So I can see a bunch of folk by the bridge and call Chris (Teech) to see if his party is near.

He has the light* * See" Cocaine Killed My Community" La Peste

He has the light*
* See” Cocaine Killed My Community” La Peste

He says don’t be shy go out and say Hi so I did and now I have lots of new friends. Pete and Pete’s new friend and wife Lynn and Michelle. I remember Michelle because she’s the one who walks up to the personage I connect to the Reverend DWayne Love, and says “Jake, this is Joanie she’s here from Pittsburgh.” She also took my picture with him which I love because it’s just enough of me.

Larry Love aka Rob Spragg and Rock Freebase aka Mark something at the other picnic table

Larry Love aka Rob Spragg and Rock Freebase aka Mark something at the other picnic table

So I hand him the Pittsburgh token (A terrible Towel and my note) that I was going to ask a box office person to take to them, he says a few things conversational some of which I understand , and someone else comes by to talk to him and I wander back to my new friends. I’m very disconnected from all of this at this point not as much because of the idolization but by the lack of it on everybody else’s part.  As more than one person said: “after a while – It’s not about the band”.Also had a small chat with Larry Love. He asked if I knew that this is where they filmed Last of the Summer wine.

Teech aka Chris Walton and his Sister Jill - I think that's her real name. Forgot to mention that I have a sister Jill.

Teech aka Chris Walton and his Sister Jill – Pretty sure that’s her real name. Forgot to mention that I have a sister Jill.

So  I meet up with Teech and Mrs. Teech and Librarian of Love, (Stevie) and Pam of Brixton and Teech’s Family and everybody else – many women told me how great the dress was – Heather said “Divine” and the consensuses seems to be mermaidish.One young man had the decency to raise his eyebrows and nod appropriately in not a creepy way when I showed off the back (I wore my kimono with it as it was chilly).

The Concert:

So we come into the singing crowded house as they were singing Facebook.con. Then as I’m trying to find a space and to stand close like a moth to the light, D Wayne makes an entrance with  Hello I’m Johnny Cash. Oh, Its so nice to be with other people to dance  with this.

Well the bulk of the concert itself there is not much to say about. I was just where I had wanted to be for some time and for good reason. The best parts I don’t really remember as I had found a spot right in front of Rock and the Reverend, right next to a speaker, and a place I could throw my cane and kimono and just dance like I would at home.  It’s not just sound there’s well the live show energy and the 3Dness of it all. And while its hard for me to get lost in songs from Shoplifting For Jesus,(cause they aren’t easy for me to dance to), there was one I didn’t recognize that Aurora went to church on that kept me quite engaged.

A distracting high note was when DWayne at some point thanking the audience, mentioning a couple of us in particular, me and the note I wrote included, which was kind of weird since he pointed to the middle of the audience when I was right in front of so it was kind of double disembodying. and that by itself would have been nice.  Then one of the people I had also given a terrible towel  threw theirs up from that part of the audience.Reminded me of the story Peaches by Dylan Thomas. If you don’t know it don’t read it. It’s very, very sad.

Here I must diverge – I had brought these Terrible Towels as tokens from Pittsburgh.For those who aren’t from here let me tell you they are jam packed with symbolism including an iconic sports caster, Myron Cope and his Autistic son, the beginning of our American Football Dynastye and the diaspora of Steeler Nation caused by the fall of the Steel Industry.  So I’m carrying around a bunch of them with the rest of my 4 months worth of clothes for 4 seasons.  I am anxious to get rid of them and any other non essential items. So the 2 people who knew where Pgh was- Odd to us folk I know, but most folks here don’t, just like most of us don’t know where Sheffield is, I offered the precious towels I want to off load explaining not to take them if you don’t want them. And I had to spend time thinking: why on earth does it really bother me that someone threw their towel up there? And I think its obvious: an Alabama 3 fan disrespected the towel. Must find a therapist.

Back to the concert and cultural issues. So there were two aspects of being taken away from communing with the music that are especially typical if one is close to the stage. The one is the number of people who are so much more involved with their media than the music. Don’t get me wrong – I have greatly benefited from others’ youtube postings of many performances so I don’t mind being leaned on or the occaisional camera infront of my face, but its the grasping for an image for the camera as if it were food for your child while the stage folk are singing about banging a gong for the frightened baby on a foreign beach. It’s kind of contrary to the rest of the vibe. And also for me – I’m trying so hard to give up having my life happen anywhere but where I am at at the moment. Being in our culture is already swimming up stream for me but the current is just getting so much stronger.

Now concurrent to that is a being able to go with the flow with the folks being with with the music. The rest of the vibe was that when the people around me would bump into cause they’re dancing or jumping or gesticulating. It was okay cause we had met or at least seen half of them and at most a hand on a shoulder or back was sufficient to hold my space and even join theirs.

So afterward folks hung out back at the picnic table and I got cold and went up and put on warm clothes and came down and it was still cold and I noticed I couldn’t understand anyone so I went on up. From my room I could enjoy the sound of talk and laughs while I organized my stuff, watched the end of the Shamelss Series and went to sleep. Now if you had told me that after seeing Alabama 3 for the first time within two hours I would be going to bed I would have thought that it had been a disappointing evening but it was a fine end to a great day.

The next days my new friends were on their way but hung out with each other at the carpark for some time and it was nice to visit with them for the morning and then when I couldn’t string words together anymore I toddled  off to my tea room. I really like these people.

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