We have decided to stay one more day in Nashville. We have had the good fortune to snag some tickets for the Jason Isabel concert at the Ryman Auditorium, known as the Mother Church of Country Music, and will see him and his band at 8 pm tonight. Not only is it a great concert but also a super fabulous venue. It served as the Grand Ole Opry for 31 years until 1974. It will be something to be at this place that has heard so many music greats.
We have to relocate ourselves to a different hotel. Rudy has spent a load of time figuring out the bus system and getting us bus tokens so that we can bus to and from the concert. So I am spending some time this morning trying to catch up on my blogging. I have let it slide because I have been deep in a book (The Constructed Mennonite by Hans Werner). It has been riveting both because of the story of the author’s father’s experiences in Stalinist Russia and World War 2 but also the reflection of how people construct memories and stories and the narrative that they want to project. It was really good. Now I have cut myself off from any reading until I catch up on this blog.
After we check out from our motel we go on a grocery run. We will get back to making lunches once we are on the road again tomorrow. We stop at Kroger’s for fruit, veggies, and sandwich fixings. We also do a run around town to find some specific beers. A Tennessee brewery (Yazoo) makes a smokey dark beer called a Sue. Rudy discovered this on a sibling cycling trip a couple of years ago and we thought it was time to toast Sue again. After multiple stops we are able to find these beers at a place called Frugal McDoogals.
After this it is lunch time so we stop for some Nashville hot chicken and gumbo and then head off to sign into our new hotel for the night. Apple Annie’s Inn is a pleasant surprise. Everything is clean. However, some things are missing. We have washcloths and bath towels but are missing the hand towels. No coffee or shampoo, although they do provide a coffee machine and a shower. 🙂 Well you can’t win them all.
We organize ourselves and head to the bus stop. We can’t locate a stop where it says it should be and I start to hoof it on down the street to find the next stop. Rudy is sure this is stupid and that the bus will just stop here when he waves it down. I am not so sure. I know that technique works in Central and South America but it has never worked for me in Winnipeg. Even though a person is madly rushing for the bus stop, the driver may or may not pull over, but never just at a random place. The bus driver only stops at designated stops and this does not appear to be one of those. Rudy is convinced that it will happen although I am left with a bad feeling that his assumption will not hold.
Do you not trust me? I will jump out in front of the bus and it will happen.
Well, it doesn’t happen. The bus rushes past us and we chase it down the road. There is no way we can catch it. We keep going and make it to the next bus stop, check our app, and realize that we can wait another 10ish minutes for the next bus and will still make it downtown for the concert.
After a quick Banh Mi that we share at the biggest food court I have ever seen (3 stories with everything from sushi, to pho, to burgers) we head to the Ryman. It is a beautiful old building originally built as a church venue. Our seats are on curved church benches and we are 6 rows from the stage. The stage is chock full of equipment. The opening act is someone we know nothing about. We have checked him out on the internet and based solely on his looks, we have determined that his music will not be something we will like. Surprisingly he turns out to be good. In fact Rudy comments that he is not as weird as he expected and his songs fit loosely in with the country genre. He has a band of 9 others so there is a lot happening on stage. A couple of songs in, Jason Isabel joins him on stage to sing a co written song. The crowd is totally into this act and I think perhaps that he is well known to the concert goers.
And then Jason Isabel and the 400 Unit hit the stage. Jason starts out strong, singing solo, and the band joins a few lines in. He is fantastic. He announces the band is doing the whole album Southeastern, celebrating the 10th anniversary of its release. This explains the ceiling banner that is hung on stage complete with lights to augment it. Southeast was a very formative album and they are going to play it start to finish. I am elated. I know this album very well and although I don’t sing along like most of the people beside me, I sure could for a lot of it. Speaking of people beside us, there are many who are worth mentioning. Ms. Leopard Print beside me is antsy. She is so excited to be her at the concert that she practically misses the whole thing. She is on her phone much of the time texting to those not there or maybe in other parts of the theatre. Mr. Grey Hair, sitting directly in front of us, with an adoring wife attached to his arm, has brought his sons to the concert to share his love of Jason Isbell. He is very active, leaning over and constantly talking to the boys. Two of them seem quite interested but the youngest (about 17 years old) is either not well or simply bored. He leans with his head on the back of the bench in front of him most of the concert. Has he vomited? Maybe. His dad hops around, sometimes sitting on the back of the church pew, much to the dismay of the lovely 4 foot nothing woman behind him. He is gregarious and apologizes profusely. Ms. Leopard Print tends to the sick? son. She waves a paper fan over him and an unpleasant smell wafts my way. It is a combination of old sweat, bad perfume, and something else. Vomit? Bad Gas? Not Sure. But don’t let this information suggest to you that we are not completely enjoying ourselves. We are all enjoying ourselves, this whole great swaying mass of human weirdness is taking in this glorious concert.
All the musicians are fantastic. I especially like the guy who plays accordion, hammond B3 organ, keyboard, meletron, etc. His energy (and his good looks) are riveting. As soon as Jason and his band walk on stage the whole audience stands and stays that way for the rest of the concert. I know it is the cool thing that everyone does at concerts but seriously we could be just as excited and full of energy and actually exit the concert without sore backs from straining to see and aching feet from standing too long in our ill-fitting orthotics if we remained seated.
After a break for the band and some adjustment to the sound equipment on stage, the musicians are back for more. These songs are newer and some from his newest album. The show goes until 11:30 and we have to hustle to make it to the 11:45 bus, about an 11 walk away. The bus trip home is smooth. Well almost. When the driver takes off Rudy lands on my lap and any worries I have about sore back or feet is immediately forgotten. Rudy has a sore throat and can’t hear. I guess all the loud music have temporarily deafened him and his wild screaming and singing along wrecked havoc with his throat. (You know Rudy. He is quite the wild concert goer 😉 All that is to say is that the concert, music and weird people combined, were a complete and total success.