Friday, July 25, 2008
Last Saturday Night, Rachel and I went to see Kenny Chesney in Concert at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Mom got us tickets for Rachel's birthday in the 5th row. They were INCREDIBLE seats!!! Thanks Mom!
Although it was extremely hot (93) that Saturday, the humidity was under 30% and our seats went into the shade after only about 90 minutes of the concert. The concert started at 4:00 PM and went until about 11:15. Now that's a party!
Unfortunately, my camera batteries died early during Kenny's performance. Below is a short video clip that gives a sense of the atmosphere. First of all the stadium was packed. Secondly, everyone was into it. He does a really nice job selecting his opening acts (they are all people who are full of energy and who get the crowd going before he ever gets on stage). In the video he is singing "Summertime". Beach balls are whizzing around everywhere, and the fans are into the song. It was really cool.
Keith Urban was the act before Kenny. Those of you who are country music fans out there are probably asking, "Why in the world was Keith Urban the opening act for anybody. He is a former Country Music Entertainer of the Year." Well, you are right. We are just lucky that he is taking his new fatherhood seriously. Since he and Nicole just had a baby, he is making a few appearances (probably to get some sleep) on the Poets and Pirates Tour, and luckily Philadelphia was one of the stops he made. It was his first concert since the baby was born. He was NOT rusty. The guy is electric, and so are his musicians. He is one of the true musicians in country music, as he bangs out some of his own guitar solos. It is impressive when the band's headline lead singer is also arguably the best musician in the band. That is definitely the case for Keith Urban.
If you were like me, when you saw that Sammy Hagar, former lead singer for Van Halen, had joined the Poets and Pirates Tour, you were probably like, "Huh?" I was. I now know why he was on the tour. The guy is a trip. It is obvious that he loves entertaining. He is a complete clown on stage. You can tell that he truly enjoys being out there. He had a tiki bar on stage and would occasionally call for a drink from the bartendresses, who were manning it. He would take a sip of his drink and then give the rest to someone in the audience.
Even though Van Halen was named for the lead guitarist and drummer, it is obvious that Sammy wrote a lot of their songs during his stent with the band, as he performed several of their hits. He opened with "I Can't Drive 55" and kept the crowd going for about an hour and a half.
Out of all of the entertainers on this tour, Leann Rimes was the one I was least interested in seeing. She is unquestionably the most vocally talented of anyone on the tour (or just about any tour for that matter), but her style of music does not typically appeal to me. However, I must admit that she had more energy than I was anticipating, and I enjoyed her portion of the show, too. Towards the end of the show, she threw on the Philadelphia Eagles jersey shown in this picture. That got the crowd (who did not boo anyone - Surprise in Philadelphia) riled up.
Gary Allan was the opening act. He is actually one of my favorite country artists and fits the Pat Green mold for Kenny's opening act - a high energy, partying performer, who has a regional cult following. Gary has a strong following of Californian Country Music enthusiasts. He also wins Rachel's "Persaverence Award", as he nailed down the smoldering 4 PM opening spot wearing jeans (the next 2 performers were in shorts). It did not seem to bother him.
REFLECTIONS - Can I See Your Southern Card?
I have often told people that rednecks do not only exist in the south. In fact, some of the biggest rednecks I have ever seen, live north of the Mason-Dixon line. Take Reed's, Bill's, Clark's, Patrick's and my buddy, Preston from St. Joseph's, MI. He is the only human I have ever seen have a dip in while drinking a pitcher of beer (he did not remove the dip, and yes, he was drinking directly from the pitcher).
The young ladies below further back up the statement that "You don't have to be southern to be a redneck." Nothing screams "redneck" more than three girls in bikini tops and daisy-duke shorts holding up a "Priceless" sign.
But again, that last statement may not be entirely true... Alas, nothing screams "REDNECK" more than a rebel flag flying above The Philadelphia Spectrum (ahh the irony... the Spectrum is the former home to the Philadelphia Flyers, one of the least "southern" yet most "red-neck" institutions ever created).
Now that I have provided empirical evidence, let's all agree to Kennedy's Theory of Redneckism: "All Rednecks do not live in the south". (The rebel flag RV was toting PA plates, and Preston was definitely a native of Michigan).
With that, I will introduce Corollary 1. This is actually a transitive property of Kennedy's Theory of Redneckism: "Just because you are a redneck does not mean you are from the South."
The perfect illistration of this corollary came about 2/3 of the way through Kenny's set, when he announced to the crowd that he was going to cover a special song that night since the crowd was so fired up. When he proceeded to sing David Alan Coe's "You Don't Have to Call Me Darlin', Darlin'", Rachel and I were ecstatic. After all, Kenny chose to cover the #2 song in the hearts of all true southerners ("Sweet Home Alabama" being the first). As we began belting out the lyrics to the first verse ("You don't have to call me Waylong Jennings. You don't have to call me Charlie Pride. And you don't have to call me Merle Haggard anymore..."), we noticed that we were essentially the only people in our section that knew the lyrics!!! If you sang this song at any bar, pub, football tailgate, NASCAR race or any other venue with over 100 people, folks would be standing on tables and chairs wailing at the tops of their lungs. In Philadelphia, you get CRICKETS CHIRPING. Nothing...Nada. Blank stares and silence. It was a rather awkward moment.
But, you will all be proud to know that Rachel and I let the other 50,000 + fans know that there were at least 2 southerners in the house, as we belted the song out to completion (Complete with multiple "Let me, Let me, Let me, Let me" during the chorus. If you are one of my northern friends reading this blog, I can explain to you later).
Friday, July 18, 2008
On Saturday July 5, the boyz woke up and headed to "The Biscuit" - a shack specializing in biscuits and all things that can be loaded onto a biscuit. Biscuits and gravy, chicken biscuits, plain biscuits, biscuits with jelly, sausage egg and cheese... you get the picture. It was delicious.
We then headed back to Reed's, where we killed the rest of the morning refining our Wii skills. In the early afternoon, we headed to the neighborhood pool to lay in the sun and play made up Frisbee keep-away games.
After cleaning up, we went to Taco Mac at Kennesaw St. and had an early dinner before heading down to watch the Braves get shellacked by the Houston Astros. Special thanks to Howie Avery for the tickets.
This is where the fun began... On our way home, Reed suggested we stop by "a little local haunt called Run-Around-Sue". The crew reluctantly agreed, and we headed for the Sue (or the "S", if you speak Atlantaese). Run-Around-Sue is no run of the mill joint; they have valet parking. After tossing the keys to Jim-Bob and Cooter, we headed for the door. At this point, Reed let's us know that he has never been to the Run Around Sue before. Reed really knows how to instill confidence in his friends.
When we reach Bubba, the bouncer, we find out there is a $5 cover charge. At this point, Reed feels that he may have made a mistake in taking us to this place, so he says "Alright, let's go." I persuade the group to stay since we have already paid for valet parking (sunk cost fallacy), and we hand over our collective $25 and head inside. At this point, I would like to prepare my readers for what is about to happen. Suffice it to say that this $25 was much more wisely spent than the $50 we burned the night before on fireworks that did not shoot over 6 feet high.
On the outer deck, it is open mic karaoke. Quite an eclectic collection of individuals. A white guy doing karaoke rap. But, we headed inside to the real fun.
Inside, rap and hip-hop cranked at 100+ decibels. A fat white guy in a recliner served as DJ, as he yelled incessantly over the music about nothing in particular. Occasionally, he would sing along with "Where my P-Party People At?" Sometimes, he would just yell at us to "(Expletive) Go to the Bar and get (Expletive) up!!!" We had a dance floor, with a disco ball, where the 40 year old women were "gettin' down". Of course, Reed took it upon himself to go dance with them at one point. I think Bill captured some good video footage that I am sure he would sell at the right price (Us Weekly is also bidding on the still photos from the video for their September Issue). Run-Around-Sue brings us to our Reflection for this Blog:
REFLECTIONS - Run-Around-Sue
Here are the top 8 things that you would NEVER hear uttered at Run-Around-Sue (there are actually 10, but only 8 are printable on a family-oriented blog):
8) This rap music really isn't loud enough
7) I wonder what inspired Flow Rida and T-Pain when they wrote the lyrics "Gah it was fly just like my Glock" in their critically acclaimed song "Get Low".
6) Bluetooth is not a fashion accessory - Perhaps someone should have actually said this one, as there were no less than 3 people walking around the dance floor and bar area with a Bluetooth in. Perhaps it helped drown out some of the music (or the DJ). Whatever the case, I can guarantee you that they were not able to have a phone conversation with everything going on around them (Verizon network or not).
5) These two guys dancing the "Superman" on top of that table are tremendous dancers. I'm surprised I have not seen them on "So You Think You Can Dance".
4) That DJ is really good, but he should talk more over the music.
3) Wow! That's an extensive beer selection.
2) Those girls are too skinny.
1) Could I please see your wine list.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
It is hard to believe, but as our great nation celebrates its 232nd birthday, this not-so-great blog celebrates its 1 year birthday. One year ago this weekend, 4 mighty men - Mark Clark, Reed Stephenson, Bill Langston and I descended on the Langston home in Arlington, TX. This year, the team added new member - Patrick "Mummy" Wade - to the fold and converged on Casa Stephenson in the ATL (or the "A" as I learned it is now called).
Most members arrived Wednesday evening. Patrick and I made it down on Friday due to work commitments. After Clark, Patrick and I joined Catherine Harrison King for lunch at Ted's (Ted Turner's steakhouse), the three of us went to Bugaboo Steakhouse as we waited on Reed and Bill to get back to the house. Funny story #1- Apparently one of the employees was out back smoking weed next to the restaurant air intake, because the place reeked of marijuana (please note that the only way the three of us knew what it was is because we were all resident assistants at the University of Tennessee).
After getting high at Bugaboo, we arrived at Reed's house and spent the afternoon shooting pool, playing Wii and berating each other. That evening, we shot fireworks in Reed's neighborhood. Funny story #2- Apparently, GA has some ridiculous law that fireworks can't go more than 20 feet in the air. We paid $50 for a collection of crappy fireworks that had plenty of built in safety (all were less than 8 feet). As one of our clan correctly put it, "It would have been more exciting to light 5- $10 bills on fire."
Luckily, one of Reed's neighbors, John, had gone to Alabama earlier in the day to purchase the good stuff. Funny Story #3- By the time he began shooting the fireworks, John was slightly inebriated (OK, not really slightly). We watched as his wife chided him for lighting the bumblebees (the little spinning things that rise 10-12 feet in the air and spin real fast) too close to the children. She did this while pausing between sips of her single-malt scotch. Nothing like a little family fun on Independence Day involving 3 kids, 2 drunk parents and some illegal fireworks.
Please stay tuned for Part II of the Guys Weekend Blog.
Reflections - Public Service Announcement
Gracie Stephenson - ATLANTA, GA: The suspect is wanted in connection with a series of charges, including attempted murder, assault of a minor (multiple counts), and battery. The suspect should be considered armed and dangerous. Please do not confront the suspect, as she displays schizophrenia. Notify your local authorities immediately if you come in contact with her.
If attacked by the suspect, scream "Crate" and run like heck!!! Suspect is known to attack unsuspecting medium-build male victims that have resided in the north (New Hampshire and Wisconsin are preferred). Do not try to bribe the suspect with food, as this will only offer temporary appeasement.
Defendants in the case will be represented by W. Joseph Carver, JD.