Kids ran barefoot through the grass. Families picnicked with chicken and salad. Six year olds plied money from grandpas for ice cream – it was fun to watch how easy that worked. Blankets, folding lawn chairs and picnic tables – this was my first concert in the park for the year and what a wonderful summer evening it was.
Most drove, many biked and some walked. Pugs, boxers, golden retrievers and springer spaniels, but the bichon frise turned the most heads, however, mutts seemed to rule. From the wiggling baby twins just a few months old to the octogenarians reminiscing about the days long past, smiles filled the faces of the people. Two pre-teen girls looked bored and disinterested until the boys walked by, then with a quick shake of their heads, their long tresses fell into place.
John and Melissa opened the night. Straight out of public radio, their music ranged from Patsy Cline to Simon and Garfunkle. I liked the Peter Paul and Mary tunes, but Jimi Hendrix on a folk guitar encouraged my people watching. Their jokes fell flat and their attempt at humorous banter was wasted, however Melissa did a wonderful job with Cole Porter’s “Summertime” and the sun seemed to nod below the horizon on the last chord.
Later they were joined by 3 others and shifted to Classic Rock. Five 60ish folk singers turned rock artists – you just had to chuckle. The drummer had traded in his work clothes for a tie dyed t-shirt, stretched just a little too tight over a middle aged sedentary belly. The lead guitarist stopped needing a comb a long time ago. I endured “Let it Be” and other hits by the Beatles and think I recognized a Doobie Brothers song, but Glenn Frey would have cried during the rendition of “Take it Easy”.
As the drummer coaxed just a bit too much rhythm from the cow bell reminding me of Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live, the bass worked hard to stay on the beat. Melissa and John are folk singers… and I’m not sure why they formed this “classic rock” band five years ago – maybe they were tired of each other, though I suspected these two had been preparing each other’s morning oatmeal for a long time – probably with a sprinkle of flaxseed or wheat germ added.
To paraphrase an old ad campaign – price of mosquito repellent -$3.69; fried chicken dinner for 4 – $10.00; a reclining folding chair – $20.00; the opportunity to sit back on a warm summer evening listening to slightly off-beat music – priceless! This is
Americana in middle America and I love it. Any way you slice it, make mine large.
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