Sunday, September 28, 2008

ACL Day Two

We found free parking about 4 blocks from the shuttle, and there was a really long line to get on the bus, but it went fast. So far so good. This time it was really about trying to get a front rail for a headliner (Plant and Krauss) so we got to the big stage around 3:30 (to acquire turf for 8:15). Robert Earl Keen was on next, followed by John Fogerty.

We didn't manage a front rail right then. There was a group of Fogerty Superfans in front of us. They were nice folks, all around our age, a married couple from California, a man from S. Carolina and a woman from New Orleans who they described as the biggest John Fogerty fan in the world. They knew each other pretty well, as is typical of superfans. They meet up at various locales in the country and even the world, then stay in touch online, so they are pretty close (I know what it's like!). Amazingly, I had not seen Fogerty before, and it was fun to see him with them in front, as they were having a great time -- and so was he, apparently. This is a guy who really enjoys playing... and from a distance he looks the same as he has always looked.

During the break between Fogerty and Robert Plant / Alison Krauss the crowd surge occurred, but there were no problems other than primarily one obnoxious drunk right behind us -- luckily not a mean one.

Plant and Krauss were unbelievable! I really love the sound of this T-Bone Burnett concoction. He is brilliant. Buddy Miller and Stuart Duncan were in the touring band as well. Stuart Duncan simply amazed me. I've heard him play some bluegrass and other acoustic-styles before but what he was doing with that fiddle was really not like anything I've heard before, I didn't realize that was possible. We were awestruck by the whole event. The Fogerty superfans gradually left except for one holdout, allowing us to finally get some front rail for the show we came to see. The show was kind of over for them anyway, and one of the women rolled her eyes at me over Alison Krauss getting stage time without Plant -- obviously not impressed. Oh well. Different strokes.

The show was over at 9:30, and that's when the ordeal really started. The line for the shuttle busses went for a few blocks, it just took forever to find what we thought was the end of it. The only way you could tell was that the shuttle "line" was forced to walk in the wrong direction, against the flow of a crowd of 65,000 people (including those trying to leave on one of about a thousand bicycles - there was even a motorcycle trying to plow through). We had to do that for the entire distance we'd just walked to find the end, then we had to get through one of those rat-maze barricade sorters which made us walk first a block in one direction, then the other, then back, then back again... until we finally got to a bus. {sigh}

The bus filled right up and we had to ride it standing, holding on tight to the grip-loops - and it was a horrible ride because the part of the trip that was not u-turns and other sharp turns the bus was stop-and-go in very heavy traffic. Not only was ACL letting out, the UT/Arkansas game was that day, which had an attendance of 97,833 -- plus -- it was Saturday night in Austin. When we finally got dropped off, we still had to walk 4 blocks to the car. We were absolutely convinced that we could have walked the distance to the car faster, even though it was a few miles. When you are limping on both feet, it gives you a very silly walk. Feet. Hurt. Bad. We finally got home by 11:45, after pretty much standing and/or walking since 3 in the afternoon. Also, the dust was really starting to kick up on Saturday. Lots of folks looking like bandidos in face bandanas.

I told MrB that I really believed that for me, ACL was over. It won and I was done (he was too, after we finally made it to the car). I had a good time, but it takes a bit of something to endure certain aspects of it, and that something for me was gone. Sunday would have been worse, and it got up to 95°, at least in our backyard. Whew. Sunday morning I got up and put the wristbands on Craigslist, (thanks to ACL for making it easier to slip them on and off this year) and was inundated with calls and emails within minutes of posting.


Ptelea said...

Wow - can I ever relate to the tired legs and feet. I find myself having little tolerance for standing. That really does sound like an ordeal despite the music that was so enjoyable. I find myself looking with just a little envy at those people who need carts or rides because they are elderly or handicapped! I can imagine doing exactly what you did - skipping Sunday - because I couldn't face another marathon of standing and fighting crowds.

niCk (Mem Beth) said...

Wow. just Wow. My life would be complete had I just seen all those people play live. Krauss & Plant. How do you ever come done from the high of seeing them.

I'm jealous!

Blueberry said...

Plant and Krauss were sooo wonderful. It did take me a day to recover from the inhaled dust, too much heat/sun, and hurting feet. I'd love to see them in a proper venue, but that is very pricey (out of budget) so this show will do.

Ellie said...

I can relate to the bus stories for sure. The feet yep, been there did I tell you the time I decided not to take the bus and walk to the Radisson. At about Lamar and the river I realized I drove to the bus so my car was parked at the capitol!!!!!!!! Had to walk there after stopping at the hotel to change my shoes. But to see Krauss and Plant. I'd of done it again.

Blueberry said...

Plant and Krauss took my pain away, but it sure did return after walking/standing for nearly 2 hours just to get to the car after all the rest of the ordeal.

If we do this festival again, it will be no more than one day (every year we spend less time there). I should just fight off the urge to go entirely, but I really wanted to see them. That's mainly what it was about.

I wish you all could have heard the guitar solo on Black Dog played on fiddle. In fact, I got it on video, but it needs to go on Google because it's too long for Youtube, and Google video is being fussy with me today.

Border Explorer said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I enjoyed the concert vicariously! And I enjoyed missing the aftermath: the long way home.

Ingrid said...

Good for you, I'm glad you got to see Plant and Krause as I've read the rave reviews. I remember when we walked out of the concert venue. It was very late and we did go 'with' the throng, and waited for the right bus on Lamar close to Barton Spring. It was not too bad. The only 'bad' part was that hubby was so sauced (which I hate anyway but he's rarely like that) and wobbly that I had to hold his hand and cursed him under my breath and prayed at the same time:" please dear god don't make him hurl!" [g]

We got home fine but it would be nice to see someone play that I'd actually like. The killers did not do it for me but it was 'the experience' of it all and being backstage..whooptee..