Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Guest Blogger: LDB!

My Big Time, Large Band Saturday Night

I went to see Lyle Lovett last night at the casino just over the Texas/Oklahoma border. No, I did not wrassle me up a cowboy, but, despite that, the show was great. You guys always appreciate my thoughts, so I thought I would tell you about it. To quote Lyle, "I like you, cuz you like me, and you don't like much." From "Fat Babies" on the I Love Everybody cd. That's the cd I used to calm baby Lizzie and inadvertently trained her to forever fall asleep when she hears Lyle Lovett's voice.

I went by myself, but I never mind that, because he is quite simply breathtaking. I find that I am also starting to have a great deal of affection for the rest of the Large Band (don't worry Lyle is still #1). They are so precious, and they put on such a great show. Great harmony, big sound. It just makes my heart swell.

I prepared for the show as usual--you know, I got my toenails done by John (my singing pedicurist) and dehydrated myself so that I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom and miss anything. It only took me an hour plus a few minutes to get there. I was an hour and a half early and there was no way I was going inside to hang out at the slots with the parade of oddballs I saw walking in (and besides, I had forgotten my bag of nickels). One guy who walked by my car had on a t-shirt with the definition of "loser" printed on the front. Turns out a loser is someone who stares at the front of another person's t-shirt. I had no idea. I quickly averted my eyes. I sat in the car and read for an hour (a book, not the t-shirts of passersby...please, I am not a loser).

On the way up I listened to the new CD (not my favorite, but it is still Lyle singing, so it is still good for me) and tried to figure out what song they would use to open. I was right, they opened with "It's Rock and Roll" which Lyle wrote with Robert Earl Keen. Woo-hoo-uh-huh-oh-yah, I was right!! The other thing I tried to figure out on my way was how to park my car so I could make a beeline to the box office without much casino in between. I got that way wrong. I got all turned around and ended up having to walk through at least half of this huge place. Ching-kaching-ching-clank-ching-ch-ch-ching-kaching (times 1,000). There's smoke everywhere, and it's dark with flashing lights. And the path is all higgle-dee-piggle-dee so you can't hurry. And then there are the lovers-on-promenade with their hands in each others' back pockets trying to figure out which slot machine would be the most romantic. They walk slowly and take up a lot of space. I thought I was going to fall down.

I finally made it to the box office, got my ticket, went to the potty one last time and took my seat. I had a fourth row seat, but with the extra "special people" seats in the front, I ended up eight rows back. Very good view. I sat about 15 feet in front of Ray Herndon, on of the guitar players. Ray is an acquaintance of my mom's from Phoenix. He sang "Jesus Loves Me" to my niece for her third birthday. His band was playing at Handle Bar J (his family's business), and we went there for dinner to celebrate. The band took requests and that was her favorite song. The other patrons couldn't really two-step to it, but they seemed to think it was cute. But anyway, back to last night...

About 8 minutes before the show, a lady came and sat next to me. She had just purchased her ticket from the guy a few seats down who apparently had some no-shows in his group. She had shoulder-length brown hair, some cute, cat-like glasses, a red and white polka dot dress, and gold shoes. She was tall and thin and maybe 50-something. Within just a few seconds, she turned to me and asked, "So, are you a Lyle Lovett fan?"

Me (in my head): Duh.

Me (out loud): Yes, I am, how about you?

Lady: No, but I met him once when my son was in the fourth grade, and he made quite an impression on me.

She told me how she had taken her son on a trip to DC for a school-related thing. It had to be about 1993. The hotel they stayed at had some type of evacuation drill and the lady and her son ended up in the same elevator as Julia Roberts and "some guy." She said she recognized Julia and her son (maybe 10 or 11 at the time just doing the math) said, "hey, you're Lyle Lovett!" She never said what Lyle's response was. Before I could ask her...

Lady: And I played one of his songs at my son's funeral. You know, the one about the preacher and the cornbread and beans. My son just loved that song. He just loved Lyle Lovett.

In the next few minutes, I learned that her son and only child died two years ago at the age of 26 while working in Las Vegas. She could not bear to go anywhere that she and her son had been together. Fort Worth is too painful, because they used to come here a lot to do fun things at the museums and all. Lyle doesn't usually play in Dallas, only Fort Worth. So she had not been able to see him. When she heard that he would be in Oklahoma (a place she'd never been with her son), she said she had to see him. A friend had driven her up and was outside playing the slots waiting for the lady to see the show.

I finally had the guts to ask if he'd had an accident or if he had been sick. She said that he'd had an accident. Just as the lights went down she said, "I told him not to take that motorcycle to Las Vegas...." And then the guitars wailed. And every song they played sounded (to me) like it was about her son. I figured that she didn't need some blubbering stranger sitting beside her ruining her first chance to see her son's favorite song performed live. So, I managed to suck it up. He only played for two hours, but the last song was "Church"--the song about the preacher and the cornbread and the beans. I had been bracing myself, thinking I would not able to hold it in once they came to the song (and they always play that song). Turns out, you can't cry during "Church." It's just not that kind of song. The lady stood up, and she had her cute little fists clenched and she said to me: "This is it! This is my son's favorite song!" And she danced and sang and waived her arms. It was so sweet. I don't know how she could put one foot in front of the other, much less get herself to a casino in Oklahoma to hear this. I didn't cry until I got to the car, and, of course, I am blubbering like an idiot right now.

Before we left, the lady asked for my address so she could send me a copy of the photo that she had surrepticiously taken during the concert. I was very proud of her for taking that picture even though it was against the rules.

Ironically (or maybe just coincidentally), the guy who sold the lady in the polka dot dress her ticket was there with his mom. Just the two of them. The guy was all grown and married and maybe in his mid-30s. Before the lady in the polka dot dress sat down, I noticed the guy get his mother a Dewar's and something and heard him say in an excited tone that he was eager to see the show and hadn't it been about 8 years since they'd seen him last. The mom couldn't remember. So there we were. The mother who had her grown-up, Lyle-loving son with her. The mother who had lost her Lyle-loving son in a motorcycle accident. And me, the mother of a beautiful 14 year-old girl who can't wait to drive. Okay, the parallels break down a little bit when you get to me, but you see my point. Someone get me a Lexapro and an Advil.

Lyle will be Tulsa tonight. Do you think I should fly there and take a cab from the airport just to see if I happen on to another crazy cabdriver?


  1. Awesome story, LDB!

    I have nothing nearly as good for stories (but of course I never do), but the absolute best concert I ever saw was Lyle Lovett and his Large Band at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA. It's like the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma, except with wine-sipping yuppies instead of chain-smoking bikers (but I love both groups, don't get me wrong). Oh, and outside on top of a mountain with fresh ocean breezes and a view instead of inside an air-conditioned, tin-covered casino blistering on the Oklahoma plains. But otherwise identical venues. ;-) Either way, the awesomeness of Lyle is undisputed. I would even see him anywhere.

  2. LDB - don't make fun of those casino people...it might have been my parents with their hands in each others' back pockets. They are regulars there - if I would have known you were going, my mom could have told you exactly where to go, where the best bathroom was and the best slot machine to play (and where to get the best buffet)! I miss you so - you can make me laugh and cry in the span of 5 seconds! I say GO FOR IT and catch a flight to Tulsa. You don't have to work tomorrow! Then you can have another turn at the guest blogger!