We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I Am Forever Spoiled

... by our seats at our Raleigh and Charlotte concerts.

(By the by, all photos taken by a cell phone camera; security was insane and even in Raleigh, The Hubba had to sneak shots. Luckily, he had me to do lots of dramatic, arms-flailing, Stevie Wonder head-bobbing dancing to distract the nearby security guard.)

Our seats in Raleigh...

I know there's a lot of lights. I know it's a bit hard to see Dave, but note the number of heads between ourselves and the stage.


Our seats in Charlotte...

See the large fellow in the stripey shirt? That's Rashawn Ross, the band's trumpet player. I love Rashawn Ross. I might have yelled this one or twelve times.

These were not our seats originally. We had good seats, but our fantastic friends had better and due to work and babies on the way and what-not, couldn't come. So we sold our tickets and bought theirs and they sent us surprisingly generous well wishes for a great concert. And, yes, we will be giving them our first-born child, if asked.

So, thanks to them, at both concerts we were to the right of the stage (LeRoi side, if you're a Dave fan), three rows back.

For once, I finally understood why fans try to jump on stage. I've always thought they were weirdos, until I found myself so close and seized with the idea "Just one quick jump- and around that mountain of a man- and I might touch LeRoi before I'm hauled off to prison. Is it worth it...?"

During Robert Earl Keene

Dave came out and watched the show. He's the one in the dark shirt next to the sound guy. If I was ever thisclose to rushing the stage... But then I would have missed the concert, what with being arrested and all that.

Of course...

classic cheese shot.

How do you come back from such seats? How do you ever settle for thirty rows back, even center-stage, these days? I don't know how I'll handle our *normal* seats in Hollywood.

Also, and totally off subject, a member of the Knitter family- Pops and Suz Knitter's dog- is having some pretty dramatic surgery today (What do Paris Hilton dogs do after too many fashion shows? Develop anorexia. What do Knitter dogs do, after too much football? Tear their ACL.). So if you're someone who would spare a moment over a much beloved four-legged fur friend, please send some good thoughts or ask whoever or whatever you ask for an easy, simple surgery for Bear and a quick recovery. He's such a lovely dog.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And Then There Were Four...

We have Raleigh tonight and Charlotte tomorrow. Hope (if you wouldn't mind) for a spectacular concert, including "Lie in Our Graves."

Only four shows left! I can't quite figure out how that happened...


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Is that...

...knitting? Oh my Gawd. Am I knitting again?


Psychedelic, yes? This is my first pair of cabled socks (pattern is a Nancy Bush design, "Rib and Cable Socks," Interweave Knits, Fall '05). They were, as I'm always surprised to discover about cables, awf'ly fun. And how I do love Brooke's yarn (check out her Autumn Oak colorway- it is too, too fine). I don't have this yarn's name aymore, but looking at her site, I think "Evil Twin" or "Elf Arrow" might be comparable. I love the ziggy-zaggy nature of the yarn's colors with the cables.

Also, I found this pattern on the Branched Fern Sock KAL. While I didn't join (shocking behavior on my part) I did decide to try them, as the traditional long-tail cast-on method did not intimidate me as normal toe-up sock patterns does. It took longer to get these going than a top-down sock, but I think I'll see them through to the end.

The only tricky bit? I might have dropped a stitch. Really, really hoping this is not true. Trying to find a lost stitch in that lace mess (yes, that's lace- I cannot explain the shoddy camera work- must call in Annie Leibovitz A.S.A.P) isn't a pretty prospect.

That's all we've got for today. We have UT-Florida and- well, that's about all we're thinking about here. Thank goodness it's an afternoon game.

Barkley can barely stand to look at the television.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Don't Worry 'Bout a Thing... A Mixed-Up, Jumbled Recollection of Two Great Concerts (Part Two: An Emphasis on Bathrooms and, Folks, It's a Long'un)

The Green Concert, Saturday, 9.08.07

Well, maybe I exaggerated a tad about The Allman Brothers. Clearly, those who were always dead still are. Sorry if I got anyone's hopes up.

But I'm getting ahead of my story.

An important understanding to have of this concert is that it was, as the title suggested, Green. I suspect, unless you're living under the diesel engine of a Ford F-150, you're probably already familiar with the term. There was no parking for this concert, the idea being you should bike, walk, or take public transportation and when friends of Mum Knitter offered to have us we jumped at it, as much for guidance on navigating Atlanta's public transportation system, as for the free board and good company.

And guide us they did! I recommend- highly- if you ever go to Atlanta stay with Barbara and Bill! They are PHENOMENAL. They're the kind of adults I want to be when I grow up: organized, efficient, easy-going, with a gorgeous house and no clutter or dog hair tumbleweeds in sight.

Sidenote: I realize I'll never be without the dog hair tumbleweeds and I'm alright with that. But the idea of a living room that doesn't have pieces of clothing laying around it- baseball hat, pair of socks, tie, pair of shorts- in The Hubba's continual "live and let undress wherever the feeling strikes you" attitude-, half-drunk mugs of tea on every smooth surface (mine) or a huge corner of knit-gear (also mine)- that is an exciting prospect.

Back to our story. Stay with B & B. We walked in (late) Saturday afternoon and this warm, welcoming, prior-to-jail Martha Stewart task force descended. Barbara had lunch ready, Bill had already printed a map of the local MARTA station (with neatly written directions across the bottom of it), Barbara had a quilt for us to sit on, Bill informed us they'd be dropping us off within blocks of the concert, Barbara (on discovering we'd sailed into town with no cash and planned to find an ATM once we were in the concert park) thrust bills into my hands, and Bill told us to call when we reached MARTA on the way home as they'd come pick us up. Exactly the sort of parents we all thought we should have, the drop-you-where-you-want, pick-you-up-when-you're-ready, here's-some-cash, don't-worry-about-calling-we're-on-your-schedule-type parents. I had to risk the urge to ask to stay and did I really have to go to school on Monday?

Due to the Green concert, traffic was a dream and B & B were able to drop us within a few blocks of Piedmont Park's front gates. And off we set.

Now The Hubba and I couldn't fathom what a 50,000 people concert would look like. We'd bandied about some ideas, prided ourselves on being UT-football-graduates who could easily maneuver a crowd of 106,000, and held up our thinking-head-blanket (thanks Barbara!) with pride. This concert would be easy-peasey.

The Hubba and I, sometimes, can be a little stupid.

I won't try to describe the chaos of a general admission concert, a pull-up-a-piece-of-grass-watch-that-beer-can concert, an only 150 Porta-Potties for 50,000 people concert. Simply put, it was chaos.

We did find a piece of grass that gave us a good view of the stage (or at least the two jumbo-trons on each side of the stage) and were able to spread out and sit comfortably. Which was fantastic, especially as more people piled in and grass (the green, ground kind at least) quickly disappeared.

Life was pretty tame during the Allman Brothers. People were randomly paying attention, clustered in groups on blankets, drinking, or standing around talking, and drinking, and occasionally shouting song lyrics at the stage, sort of a "how's that job coming- great, great, I'm taking a new yoga- I'VE GOT ONE MORE SILVER DOLLAR- yeah, kids are great.."

The Hubba and I stayed on our blanket- drink free- and watched those around slowly, and sometimes quickly, getting very, very drunk.

Sidenote: I don't know how they did. You remember "only 150 Porta-Potties for 50,000 people"? I got up once, walked past several food and drinks stands that were packed with people and, after much searching (immediate hint bathrooms would be a problem), found two. Approximately 100 people were in line. Turned right around, went back to the blanket (able to locate The Hubba quickly and easily due to his baseball cap- thank God for UT orange!) sat down and told him, "We cannot eat or drink a thing while we are here. Trust me on this one."

Where were we, in this Rambling Man post? Ah. Allman Brothers. They went off and as soon as it was dark, DMB came on. And if you thought a lawn of 50,000 people was interesting in the day, you should have seen it at night. Now there were lots of lights on stage and lights being directed at the stage. But when you're very, very, (and by now) very drunk, bits of colorful light here and there only makes a thing more difficult.

As our neighbors soon discovered. And here's where I thought, instead of going on and on about the music (which can't be interesting unless you're a DMB fan and if you're a DMB fan you, along with us and 49,997 other people were probably there) I'd go on and on about the happenings around us.


As the Allman Brothers play: Everyone around us drinks. Hard. People smoke, some substances legal, some not. A group of six adults to our left, all about my parents' age and looking like nice, well-to-do folks, probably stockbrokers and CEO's in their spare time, are really drinking.

As Dave comes on: some fella behind us curls up on his blanket, and falls asleep. Another way to say this would be "passes out." His party, realizing he's still breathing, put a hat on him, stick a cigarette in his mouth, take pictures, then remove it all and start cheering as the band comes out on stage.

As the band opens up with One Sweet World: The Hubba and I grin foolishly at the (also totally sober) couple next to us, all of us glad to be there.

Two songs in: one of the fellows from the CEO group, two new beers in his hand, wanders straight past his group. I catch his attention and direct him back to his party, who are all dancing, except for one guy sitting on the blanket, who falls over.

Five songs in: "Don't Drink the Water" starts. Next to us, a small, wiry guy in glasses starts doing Tai Chi. Seriously.

Seven songs in: Passed-out-guy-on-blanket wakes up. His friends laugh at him some more. Someone gives him food.

Ten songs in: Greg Allman comes out and plays "Melissa" with the band. It. Is. Awesome. A couple in the CEO crowd start to shag-dance and, being fairly sober now, dance very well.

Eleven songs in: Tai Chi guy, clearly stoned out of his mind, has managed to dance his way into the crowd, comes back and walks straight past his friends. His girlfriend calls him back and he thanks her as though they've just completed a transaction at a bank teller.

Twelve songs in: They play "Dreaming Tree," a real rarity. We sit and listen and notice formerly passed-out-behind-us-guy is now in front of us and has a beer in hand.

Thirteen songs in: Another CEO couple decide they too want to dance. They are easily the most intoxicated of the group. Wild arm flailing and vague jumping around commences. The Hubba and I take to moving, too, to avoid being struck in the face or knocked over from their exuberance.

Last song of the set: Large groups of people start to lurch away, either wanting to be the first to MARTA or else too drunk to realize the encore has yet to happen.

Encore: Awesome ending, including "Watchtower." The drunk dancing around us reaches a new frenzy, where recently-incapacitated guy is now hurling himself around amongst his buddies, Bud sloshing everywhere, while too-drunk-too-coordinate couple are jumping around so enthusiastically he repeatedly sends her spinning off into the crowd, only to dance by himself while she makes her way back.

Concert ends. It was a great one. The thirty-five thousand people still left spill out into the streets of Atlanta. It appears we are marching for something, but what that would be I don't know. More Dave Matthews? Cheaper Miller Lite? Who knows. As long as everyone was having a pleasant evening (and we were) the purpose of the concert was served. We followed the crowd and hoped there were enough remaining brain cells among them to lead us to the subway.

While I'm happy to say, Dave concerts are rarely this wild, it was fun to witness one. Once.

And for anyone wondering, Bill's MARTA instructions were perfect. We took the correct trains and when we arrived at our final station, B & B were waiting to pick us up.

And UT beat Southern Miss.

What a day.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Don't Worry 'Bout a Thing... A Mixed-Up, Jumbled Recollection of Two Great Concerts (Part One)

A Concert for Virginia Tech, Thursday, 9.06.07
I can think of a few times I've been really wrong in life. Predicting Titanic would be a huge flop springs to mind. On the heels of that would be thinking this concert, planned suddenly, mid-tour, would be less than impressive, disorganized, too crowded, full of college kids who didn't care and adults who didn't know. (I'm not proud of these thoughts, by the way, but they are what they are.)

Not so much. Not even a little. I might say, at this moment, THIS was our best concert of the year.

A few aspects or moments that made up the incredible whole in no particular order?

John Mayer, as the last of the opening acts. (If you're interested in some great white guy blues, play "Gravity" on this page- probably the best thing he's done.) He especially thrilled this DMB's fans heart, when he brought out LeRoi Moore to play with him on said song.

The many, many times throughout the night, when the kids around us started chanting "Let's Go Hokies." Chant isn't the right word. It was a rally cry, one half the crowd calling out "Let's go" and the other half responding "Ho-kies." They would start it, between artists, between songs, leaving the stadium. The word for that spirit, I think, would be "indomitable."

I've only recently grown fond of Mr. Mayer, but, in true Knitter fashion, when I fall, I fall hard and I'm crazy about him these days. So imagine my delight when Dave leaned up to the microphone and rasped, "I'm gonna ask John Mayer to come and join us for a song " and out came out John Mayer, again, to play with the band. And even better when The Hubba, call it intuition, call it second-sight, call it movie-gut, leaned up and said, '"It's #41. He's gonna play on #41." #41 happens to fight for top spot as my favorite DMB song. It's the pinnacle song to hear live (for me) and I've only had it one time this year. Until Thursday. I've now seen it played twice, once featuring John Mayer. And it was awesome, as in "extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear." At the end of the song, John Mayer held up his guitar to Dave, then laid it on the stage in front of him and walked off. My God, I love musicians.

Best of the night came towards the end, in a tune DMB has said was totally impromptu. David Ryan Harris, a friend of Dave's and John Mayer's and an amazing guitarist in his own right, came out and played on "Jimi Thing." Mr. Harris, having been given complete control of the song, led the band into Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds." Dave, looking delighted, started to sing the lyrics. It's such a short, funny little song that packs a punch. It's probably my favorite Bob Marley tune. It's the song I put on when anxiety wants to take over my brain and I can't find a better thought. It's probably one of the most uplifting songs ever written.

As Dave sang, people started to sing the refrain along with him and then, after the band stopped playing, the crowd kept singing. For several minutes, all the voices of the people of Virginia Tech and the few, such as The Hubba and I, who lucked our way in, were raised. Don't worry. 'Bout a thing. 'Cause every little thing. Is gonna be alright.

You know those moments when you think your skin and bones just have to fall off, there's no way a body can possibly contain so much emotion? The feeling that your whole physical presence might disappear in the face of so much joy? I've found those moments all over the place, from the teeny-tiniest seconds of driving a car on a sunny, spring day to the news of a friend's new baby- the scope for such times is incredible.

And the Concert for Virginia Tech was one of those nights. Moment after moment, wave after wave of ineffable joy, culminating in 40,000 people singing: Don't worry. 'Bout a thing. 'Cause every little thing. Is gonna be alright.

Dave turned to the other band members and, on the jumbo-screen television, you could see him say, "this is bad-ass." He might not be eloquent, but he's accurate.

At the end of the night, all seven members of the band came out, put their arms around each others shoulders, and bowed, something I've never seen them do. The crowd, in return, chanted, "Thank you Dave."

Thank you Dave. And thank you Virginia Tech. And, especially, thank you Hubba. It was the ideal birthday gift.

Part Two coming soon... Hotlanta, the Hubba and I, Or, Good News, The Allman Brothers Are Still Alive!


Monday, September 03, 2007

Opening Day

University of Tennessee's opener: Vols 31, Cal 45.

Not the final score hoped for and instead of giving you a long diatribe on what went wrong or what must be done to improve (ideas gained almost entirely from The Hubba and Pops Knitter), I'll give you our day, in pictures.

Early morning blog predictions.

Boiling bratwurst (beer, water, slices of onions, for about two and a half hours and then about ten minutes on the grill to finish them off).

Barkswurst (one excited dog, with a constantly wagging tail for the whole day).

Go Vols!

Hopefully next week's game against Southern Miss will be one of redemption.