I Never Met John Prine, But…

So I never met John Prine

The Show.

I went home feeling triumphant , but the wife was unimpressed. She’d had a long day and doesn’t like surprises in general. She likes good music, but doesn’t like going to concerts, and likewise she loves good food, but getting her to go out to dinner is like pulling teeth. Plan B, I decided, was to go to Charlie B’s and see who was hanging around. I won’t lie, my first choices were a couple of cute girls, but one already had tickets and the other said her boyfriend would leave her if she went to the show without him. Looking further I saw an older bachelor friend named Bob. Bob is not only one of the best cooks I know , but is also quite the musicologist. His record collection is epic. His tastes tend more towards Jazz and Blues, but are defined by quality. I asked him if he wanted to go to the show. “Yes” he said, “but I’m not paying $50 to see a guy I saw for free in the seventies.” I explained the details, and after some trepidation he agreed to go. “I guess it’s better than sitting here all night” he quipped. We get to ‘Will Call,’ and not only do we have good seats, we also have backstage passes! This was a relief as I always freak out going to ‘Will Call.’ Was that really John Prine’s bass player? Is he too stoned to remember? Did the promoter throw a fit? I must say, that of the dozens of shows I’ve gotten into, because of the store, not one has left me standing in the cold. We got there as the show was starting, and after a few standards he broke out a timely new song about the untimely Gulf War. Something about “some asshole from Texas starting a war in Iraq.” The crowd loved it. Towards the end of the night he pulled out all the classics, and I swear grumpy old Bob cried for about a half hour. After the show we debated the backstage passes. “It’s not really my thing,” said Bob “It’s not like he’s Tanya Tucker or something.” I won the war and we briefly went backstage only to see the Missoula Usuals milling about, and the band…. sitting down to dinner at a table together. It speaks volumes that Mr Prine used his backstage ‘rider’ for a homestyle dinner for his family and friends. Usually these things are abused, and include things like Perrier, Courvoisier, and expensive foods that don’t get eaten. We took in the scene, Bob looked at me and I said “Let’s go back to Charlie B’s,” and we did! I stayed a little longer than I should have, (closing time), for someone with an Eight O’Clock load out, but the place was full of people buzzing from the show, and others who wanted to hear about it.

The Load Out.

Easy-Peasy as the saying goes. The truck was there at eight, and it even had a lift. The bass player didn’t want to ask the road crew to help load what was inevitably going to be a pain in their ass for the rest of the tour. They did anyway, without a word, and I didn’t have to lift a finger.

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