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
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.