When You Think Tim McGraw…

This weekend has been most an endless disaster. I won’t bore you with the details, but it involves constant rain, shitty customers, various mishaps with my car, overpriced parts, an overdrawn bank account and arthritis.

I’d been waiting for today since February. Tim McGraw was coming to Jazz Fest. I’ve never seen McGraw before, and it was important to me. He’s possibly the only legend of our generation so far. I’ve been waiting and waiting. And then the long awaited weekend came, and it just would. not. stop. It rained yesterday, making the concert grounds as sloppy as it’s bayou roots suggest. And even though it was sunny enough this morning as I was working on my truck, rain was still expected, and sure enough it came. i found myself wading through streets flooded with 8 inches of water (it may have been more) in a truck that needs four new tires. And for all I knew, McGraw might have to cancel his show. I was miserable, tired and in pain, and I wondered if perhaps I should just give up and go home.

Most people would have said to hell with it, and that isn’t cowardly, its just good sense.

There’s a line from the Transformers (2007) that I really liked. (Yes, I’m quoting a Michael Bay film, what of it?)

Fifty years from now, when you’re looking back at your life, don’t you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?

When I was younger, I was scared of the world. I never moved, never risked, never did anything that made life worth living. And I lost out on opportunity and love and god only knows what else because I was afraid. And as I got older, I learned. The lesson wasn’t not to be afraid. It was that when a fast car comes your way, get in. When I die, I want to be able to say I had the guts to get in the car.

I’ll be down for the crazy shit. The experiences that conventional wisdom says to shy away from. I want to live out loud. And for the most part, I do. There are things. Girls scare me. I detest heights. But to some degree or another I live for adventure in whatever form it takes. Though, I would argue perhaps not quite enough.

So I braved the flood and potential pneumonia for a concert.

Now in all honesty, it turned out to be much ado about nothing. After the initial flood, the evening was reduced to a dreary drizzle over mushy, soaked bayou mud. I did get wet though.

A passerby rightly compared it to going through the Woodstock anniversary ten years ago. It was merry madness. There’s something so sad about New Orleans that is almost Dickensian to me, save for the lack of class. There were hundreds of people there, just as I was, soaked, muddy and apparently either unaware of how ridiculous their situation was, or just not caring.

Parents rolled their babies through the much and mire, or for the little ones capable of walking on their own, just slapped some galoshes on them and went for a stroll.

This particular picture tickled me.

It didn’t come out quite right because I didn’t want anyone to see me snapping pictures of some kids’ asses, but the four of them reminded me of a Pink Floyd poster I saw once.

It’s probably just me.

These kids decided to go for a swim for some reason. I have to wonder where the hell their parents were.

And no, that’s not a pond. That’s nasty, muddy flood water.

Apparently Jesus ain't the only Motherfucker who can walk on water, is he???

Apparently Jesus ain’t the only motherfucker who can walk on water, is he??

It’s like a garage sale at a haunted mansion.

I have a few friends who dig art (being as how they’re artists, DUH.). So I wanted to include some of the art, tangible and painted that is on display at the festival. Some of it is native New Orleans. But a large portion of it…

While it’s worth noting that a majority of New Orleans’ population is black, it isn’t particularly African. So I find it odd that most of the crafts and the vast majority of art tents were devoted to Tribal art. Similarly, the (infinitely smaller) Native American display falls out of place. However there’s at least one Reservation in Louisiana, so it is somewhat relevant even if it isn’t really part of Louisiana’s culture. But there were a small number of displays devoted to New Orleans and Louisiana’s cultural heritage.

No idea what this is, but it looks like an authentic New Orleans tenement. The beer helps with the illusion.

Promotional art by various local artists. Every person illustrated has been a performer at Jazz Fest. The guy in the picture in the corner is more famous for Will and Grace and dying in Independence Day than for his music, but anyway…

Some of the art was more than a little bizarre.

That’s an 8 foot statue of a nekkid woman behind me. I don’t know why.

I ate a little, because if there’s one truth about New Orleans it’s that it’s the drunkest, most belligerent city in the world. And if there’s two truths, it’s that it’s the home of the best food in the US. Most N.O. residents would argue it’s the best food in the world, but that’s just stupid. For one, most N.O. residents have never traveled farther than Biloxi MS, much less the world. Also, the reason the food is so good, is that Thomas Jefferson sent his personal chef to study in France, and that knowledge somehow emigrated here. I don’t really remember the rest of the story, but it’s true. Whatever the reason, the food is awesome. But for some reason, the one stand I chose to eat from sucked ass. It was fried catfish. I shouldn’t have to point out how pathetic it is that I was at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the Fried Catfish poboy I ordered tasted like shit. I won’t bore you with the details of the rest of the over-priced, low quality food I purchased there, but whoever owns those stands ought to be burned at the stake.

Eventually it came time to find a spot in the crowd. I’d ended up with “not-quite-backstage” tickets. It took me a while to find the entrance. Once I got in, I used the private port-o-potty provided (ah luv alliteration) and walked outside the greeting tent to try and find the section cordoned off for “special, but not nearly as special as some” people like me. I asked directions of an attendant, and she pointed right in front of me. “Right over there.” Which might make me look stupid except that the area, 50 feet away, was separated from me by a fucking 15 foot moat, which appeared to be about a foot deep.

Got wet?

Up until this point, I’d managed to keep my feet dry, while the rest of me could have won a t-shirt contest at Senor Frogs. I HATE wet socks. I wore these brown water resistant shoes even though they did not match the shorts and orange shirt I had on. I looked ridiculous, but unlike all the other suckers out there walking through 3 inches of water and mud all day, I had dry socks. But this was different. That water was fuckin deeper than Frederick Nietzshce’s bed time stories. There was no way I was crossing the River Nile there without going for a swim. And I really didn’t wanna.

So I stood there for a minute, and asked myself how much it was worth. “I didn’t come all this way to turn tail at the last yard.” I said to myself. And I ran for the river and jumped. Of course I misgauged how deep the water was. It was closer to two feet deep. As I fell into the bottomless abyss, I felt the water rise up past my knees and to my pockets where I had my very expensive cell phone and wallet. Frantically I ripped them out. The wallet was a little soggy, but the phone, miraculously didn’t have a drop on it. I made it across the pacific ocean a little worse for wear, but basically fine. Th water resistance of my boots went both ways it seemed, holding the excess water in. In a slightly comedic turn of events, McGraw played his song “That’s All Between the River and Me” about twenty minutes later.

The spot allotted to we happy few wasn’t all that great. It was on the far side of the stage. I would have done better fighting my way to the front with “the little people”. But it did afford me some room to move, rather than be crammed in like a sardine. I found a spot with a decent view of the stage, but I was shoulder to shoulder with a couple of smokers, one of whom apparently thought he looked like McGraw and decided to model himself after him. He gave himself a McGraw-esque goatee; put on a black hat which clearly was not the same as his famous idol’s. Of course he was about a foot shorter than Tim and had no talent, but whatever. I don’t know if it’s like that with other forms of music, but for some reason in Country, there always seems to be one guy who adopts a Single White Female obsession with the artists. It’s sad really.

There were also two drunk bitches behind me, who were completely unable to follow the alcoholic’s credo: Don’t spill your beer. Just everywhere. They also fell on their asses and got covered in slop. It was more amusing than anything else. Shoulda got a picture of that.

All in all it was a fairly good concert. Not the best I’ve ever been to, but great. He debuted 3 songs from his next album, and promptly forgot some of the words. He played some new stuff, like Kristofferson, the new single which I’m a big fan of. I think I was the only one singing along on that one. Also, the cover of Ryan Adams’ Til The Stars Go Blue. His cover of that song makes me laugh, because Ryan Adams was interviewed a few weeks back and talked a lot of shit about country. And I’m fairly certain more people know that song from One Tree Hill’s Beth Joy Galeotti and Tim McGraw (both did a cover of the song) than from him. Honestly, I’ve never heard of Ryan Adams, and I’m certain most people who have think he’s Bryan Adams. But I digress.

He did a few of his old songs as well, most of his big hits like Something Like That and Indian Outlaw, and the crowd just goes berserk every time. Honestly you could smell the wet pussy when he sang Real Good Man. And he has fun with that. You can tell he knows he’s a star and he loves every second of it. After several songs he held his hands out and waited for the applause and the roar of the hungry crowd. They wanted more. They wanted Tim. And he basked in it. And I’m cool with that, because for all his fame and attitude, he seems to appreciate every little bit of the adulation.

It started raining again during his last set. I have two favorite songs, and I knew he wouldn’t play one of them. Surprisingly though, it wasn’t the one I thought!. Don’t Take the Girl is practically a country institution. It was a foregone conclusion that he would sing it. But instead he closed out the show with a cover of a David Allen Coe Song, The Ride. As I understand it, he never does that song. It isn’t even on any of his albums. I’ve only heard it because I found it on the net. But there it was. The band slowly played out Real Good Man and shifted into the next song. The crowd looked baffled, but I knew the chords of that steel guitar. My hands flew into the air in celebration. And when he said “I was thumbing my way to Montgomery, with my guitar on my back…” I was right there, singing along. It was pretty awesome.

After that, I walked back to catch my ride, sore and wet. So was it worth it? I’m not sure. But I did it. I went for it, when I shouldn’t have. And someday I’ll say, yeah, I got in the car.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Solaris on April 29, 2008 at 6:30 am

    You are a brave one indeed! There isn’t a person in the world that could make me go out there willingly.
    OK, I lie. Chuck Yeager could.

    I love your sarcasm.
    The photos are quite good, and the one of the kids definitely can remind you of a Pink Floyd album cover.

    What’s wrong with quoting Bay? Even he can get it right once.

    Reply

  2. Sarcasm: God’s Gift to Assholes.

    Which is also an accurate description of me.

    People hate Michael Bay. And sometimes for good reason. But I like most of his movies. My all-time favorite line of unintentional comedy is from Armageddon:

    “I blew the Tranny! Oh GOD! I blew the Tranny! Oh no, I blew da tranny…”

    I’m not certain there’s anything funnier in the universe than that line, accompanied with tears.

    Reply

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