Archive | February, 2015

The Show Must Go On

18 Feb

I had the opportunity to see John Mellencamp in concert last night. For those not familiar, you’re dead to me. Ok, not so radical, but seriously, this guy has been around in the rock music scene forever, so you’d have to be either really living under a rock or something to not know him.

At the start of the show, he came out with the band, and they head off into some new material that I wasn’t familiar with – but three or four great songs with that familiar Mellencamp sound to them. The band – two guitarists, bass, drums, keyboardist that also played the accordion and a violinist – were tight and delivered that distinctive sound that he’s become associated with – interesting phrasings, mixes of major and minor chords, relaxed tempos, etc. That said, during this opening, clearly something was amiss with Big John’s voice – very raspy, very raw sounding. Since I had never seen him before, I was thinking that perhaps age wasn’t being kind to him, or the road, or something.

At the end of the 4th song, he stepped to the mic to greet the crowd and then said “Well, we talked this afternoon about cancelling this show because my throat is all fucked up. But then I said to everyone, ‘Hell no, we’re not cancelling. I can’t let those people down! Besides, I want to play.’ So folks, this is what we got. I sound like shit, but I’m here to play. If you can handle my croak, I can handle my croak.The band will rock and you guys will fill in when I can’t hit it. Deal?” Well, as you can imagine, the crowd went nuts.

Which made me like this guy even more. His music is all about “regular guy” real life, life in small town America, little Pink Houses for you and me, vacationing at the Gulf of Mexico, fighting authority (but authority always wins), thinking back on the good times and sitting and smiling. I love his songs – sing a few of them myself. And rather than being a diva and calling off the show because he has a scratchy throat, he just motored on through it and delivered for his fans.

The show must go on. A lesson for all of us.

As you were,

Stew

Apple Store Soho Presents Meet The Creators: Stephen King, John Mellencamp And T Bone Burnett

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Love me a good snow!

2 Feb

Ok, I’m crazy and stupid, but I’m honest. I love a good, whompin’, ass-kicking snowstorm like the one we just got. And this one was “historic” – officially 20″ at the weather reporting site at O’Hare Airport, making this storm the 5th largest in Chicago recorded history. “Locally” as in my yard, it’s hard to tell exactly how much we got other than to say “an assload”.  In sheltered spots, there’s about 2 feet of snow, but in places where the wind was depositing it, there are drifts up to five feet tall.

We started yesterday in Wisconsin, 100 miles from home – we knew this was coming but we made a calculated risk assessment of being able to get home. Truth be told it was both about as bad as I’d ever want to be out in, and well, not terrible at the same time. We were only 100 miles from home, we got an early – 7:30 AM – start, we had a driving partner (another car from our group) and we motored along fairly slow and steady. The storm was worse in Illinois, as were the roads – the Tri-State Tollway – I-94 – was covered with loose snow. But we made it home – and got busy with the snow.

Big snows like this are both to be savored and conquered. I have a great big snowblower and I enjoy using it to remove big snows. I actually get disappointed when it doesn’t snow up to a storm’s potential.  This one was worse than “potential”. Big snows like this are also to be enjoyed. I am decidedly wishing I were a kid, not an adult who has to board a plane for NYC in 4 hours, because today is spectacular – it’s bright and clear, very light wind, temps in the 20s – perfect day to go play in the snow. Sledding, making snow forts, tromping and rolling in it, going skiing … all would be on the activity board.

I also love how snow completely transforms a landscape. A number of years ago, after a bit snow, I just headed out with my camera to a local forest preserve to trudge through the foot-deep snow and just shoot pics – one of the most wonderful days I have ever spent.

If you’re lucky enough to be home with a snowday today – get the hell outside! Enjoy this. It is a rare treat.

But I’m crazy.

As you were,

Stew

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