On a the heels of a sold out show and the last gasp of a ticketless whim, I zipped down to the Capitol Music Hall last night. My faith in mankind (and to a lesser extent, the Wheeling populace) was restored when this 50 some year old passenger in a convertible pulled up to the curb. He stuck his head out the window. With a raspy voice, he blurted, "Hey anybody wanna go see Willie Nelson tonight?"
I was a little taken aback. For a second I thought he might even offer me some Grey Poupon (or in the case of Wheeling, extra mayonnaise). But he was totally legit. I thanked him and his woman profusely and called him a "complete bad ass." I think those were my exact words - "Sir, you are a complete bad ass." He chortled, "No problem. Glad to help." And they abruptly sped off.
I looked down at the 2 comp tickets. Holy shit! They were second row floor. As my dad used to say, "How 'bout 'dem apples?"
Anyway, I ran into TFE & AJZ. Dished them off the two closer tickets and snagged theirs. I really had no inclination to to be that close. To be honest, music at the Capitol sounds vastly better if you're in the center floor or front row balcony. Funny how all those symphonies my parents took me to (kicking, dragging and screaming) finally paid off. Funny how time slips away. Like I was saying, I had no desire to be front row. I mean... what am I supposed to do, yank on Willie's pig tails, offer to suck his cock, etc?
So then I had an extra ticket which I gave to Renee B. I guess that's how you do it. Pay it forward. Just trying to relive the miracle scene. Oddly enough, it was Bob Weir's birthday yesterday. The "Miracle Whip" of all miracles. Normally, I wouldn't know this but facebook likes to keep everyone apprised of celebrity birthdays. Mr. T, Gary Trudeau, Smurfette... doesn't really matter. Facebook knows all. Facebook blows all.
The last time I ran into Willie was in 2006 in the back of a hotel parking lot. When I say "ran into," I actually mean it. I was rounding a semi-blind corner in a limo as this old geezer was riding directly toward me on a rusty bicycle. I had to do a double take. What the fuck??? That's Willie Nelson!
Anyway, I jumped out of the gas guzzling idiot mobile and introduced myself. I had just seen him perform a few months earlier at the Dodge Theater in Phoenix while I was out visiting my parents. We talked about the quality of that venue and then I shifted the conversation toward his appearance in a mid 1980's episode of Miami Vice.
(Gotta love it when Willie orders Steve Buscemi, "Now you hit the ground runnin.")
I then explained to Willie how my friend Mike actually named his cat after him. So I got him on the phone and demanded that he speak with Mikey for a minute. Of course, he was more than happy to oblige. These days, I could probably bring up the stampedes. I doubt even that would faze him. Willie Nelson could very well be the "calmest" person I've ever met.
Normally, I'm not one to be star struck. Trust me - if there's anyone who doesn't have a case of the celebrity/American Idol/hero-worship syndrome... well, that would be me. Bu I had to get him to sign something. So I settled for this. I'm sure you'd agree - this is hardly what you'd call "settling."
If you label this as "settling," you are a complete piece of shit. Aside from the dome hockey table itself, it's one of the coolest things I own.
Incidentally, I'm working on a new t-shirt. Top 10 Reasons To Join AGSAF. Here's the list so far - it could use a little editing..
I like the list but it seems a little "choppy." Any suggestions or alterations would be seriously considered.
So anyway, back to the Willie Nelson story - Remember, our encounter wasn't outside some concert in Pittsburgh. It was in the middle of the afternoon in the back of a hotel parking lot in Queensbury, NY (near Glen Falls in the Adirondack Mountains - he was playing a show at SPAC in Saratoga Springs that night, but I didn't know it). I know you're all searching for some closure on this cat naming story. Well.... it turns out that "Willie the cat" has nothing to do with Willie Nelson. He's actually named after some USA Network Kung Fu character. Next time I see him, I'll be sure to fill him in.
It kind of makes you wonder if their will be a "next" time. After all, Willie is now 80 years old. Same age as my father. Two very driven people - who've driven in very different directions.
Hey Saf, isn't this a concert review? Yeah... I forgot. The piano was a bit over-modulated. During the encore segment, he was overpowered by his granddaughter's voice on the Creedence song, "Have You Ever See The Rain?" The harmonica guy was a tad melodramatic (I can't stand harmonicas - Neil Young gets a pass). FYI - if you're ever going to a concert at the Capitol, you really don't need a ticket. Just skip the opener, wait til the first intermission, hang out front with the cigarette exhalers and simply join them on their way back inside. It doesn't take a $42,000 per year degree from Wheeling Jesuit.
Seriously though, if you're one of those people who gets caught up in trivial bullshit at a Willie Nelson concert... I think you're missing the boat. Your time would likely be better spent bitching in a Bob Evans drive-thru - because that would be your shining moment... spent "down on the farm."
I wonder if our paths will ever cross again... someday, somewhere perhaps. Who knows, maybe I'll school him on the dome. If we ever were to play, I'd even be willing to "lay down" and bestow upon him a "Top 10 Reasons Saf Sucks at Dome Hockey T-shirt." For those who know me, I never lay down (on the dome). We'll just have to wait and see how the future plays out. Until then... on the dome again.