My band was backing up my best friend, who finally has good management in
Nashville, and may be on the verge of being singed to a major.
My band is not a country band by any means, but I knew we had the talent to
make it sound authentic, even though we only had three weeks and four
rehearsals to get it together.
We were real loose, and even the steel player who we had worried about
hitting his cues was on top of everything.
We even got three standing ovations during the show.
There was about 7000+ at the Riverwalk Ampitheatre, in Montgomery, AL.
The legendary Ray Price came on after us, and I gotta say...for 80 years
old, this man has still got a beautiful voice.
His band was absolutely killer. His son played acoustic guitar, he also had
a lead guitarist (who played a sweet-looking old gold top LP), a super tight
drummer, a young kid on upright bass, an incredibly smooth steel player, a
pianist, and get this...four fiddle players. Nobody in the band played
busy...everyone just it allthe marks and it was incredibly lush-sounding.
I kind of figured something wasn't quite right when Willie's handlers told
us to move our equipment down away from the stage...the Honeysuckle Rose
(Willie's bus) pulled up and put its door right at the foot of the stage
Willie's "people" were in what they call "safe mode" where they make a big
circle around the star so nobody can get to them (sort of like the Secret
We had to clear the area all the way over to the hospitality tent until
Willie got onstage. ( where there was some excellent home-cooked food...the
black-eyed peas and sweet tea were the best I've ever had).
There were at least six police officers backstage, and I am guessing Willie
was paranoid. Usually everybody can just make a line, and Willie will shake
hands on the way to the stage.
The show started rough...it's "Whiskey River" but the way Willie is
umm..."singing" it might as well be "Trippy River".
The show he did in 2000 at the Montgomery Train Shed was a hundred times
better than this. Obviously, from the list of who was cited by the Louisiana
cops, some of his band was stoned, too and it showed...even his sister,
Bobbie (who is 75 - older than Willie! she plays piano in his band) was
My friend's manager, who is good friends with Willie, said when she hugged
him before the show (Willie came out and dueted with Ray Price on "Night
Life") that she said "hey handsome" to Willie and he replied, "hey Rosey,
darlin'" but had a wild look in his eye and asked her "where the hell all
these people came from?" (apparently he was expecting a much smaller crowd)
She said she had seen that "look" before and it was obvious that he was
tripping hard and didn't snap out of it until more than halfway through the
I even saw that moment happen...it was toward the end of "City of New
Orleans". It was like a light came on over Willie's head and he realized
that he was actually doing a concert in front of several thousand people and
started to actually *sing* instead of talk/mumble the words.
The rest of the show was better, except during the medley of Hank songs he
did...he had lyric sheets on the stage and one of them had "LAST SONG" at
the top of the page, and he actually sang the words "last song" before going
I gotta say again how great Ray Price was and what a gentleman he is. I was
right in front of him when he came off the stage and you could tell he was
worn out. (understandable at his age)
His band was great, too and they are super nice people.
His drummer is a real nut...he had me rolling with some of his road stories.
The bass player also talked to me for a long time. He is a student at the
University of Texas, and just kind of lucked into this gig...he is just a
pup of 21 years old, and he had never even heard of Ray Price when he was
asked to audition. Now he is on salary with a country legend...pretty cool.
I would hate to lug around that $20,000 upright bass he was using, though.
I gotta admit, it was nice to get a bit of "star time"...people I didn't
know coming up to me and telling us how good we sounded, and a boat load of
folks that I do know telling me how glad they were for us, and for my
friend, Andy, especially...he's been at this a long time and deserves a
moment to shine, like he did yesterday.
Jim Geiger is what Willis was talkin' 'bout.
Thanx for the story, Jim. :-)
Nice gig for you though, Jim. Of course, the most important question --
when your buddy gets signed, is he gonna hire you and your boys to be
his road band?
(Shameless self promotion: my band's [the Summer Wardrobe] CD hits the
streets today -- available on Amazon.com and at a fine retailer near you.)
> The only reason you got standing ovations is because they knew you were
> about done and going to leave the stage.
Say, did anyone else see this week's Stroker & Hoop, Tinfoiled Again
(a.k.a. Star Crossed Livers)?
(It was a repeat, but it was new to me.)
- Max -
My vision would turn your world upside down,
tear asunder your illusions and send the
sanctuary of your own ignorance crashing
down around you. - Huey Freeman
> Nice gig for you though, Jim. Of course, the most important question --
> when your buddy gets signed, is he gonna hire you and your boys to be his
> road band?
Everybody has got family and jobs that they've put a lot of years into.
I might be tempted to, and he's asked me to go...but I don't know.
If it ever actually happens, I'll make up my mind, at that point.