Direct bookmark: http://HyperRust.org/Tour97/?R30
(updated Friday, 19-Jun-2009 07:19:00 EDT)
Late Crazy Horse Set
Thunderheads loom in the coral sky over the banner as it hangs between a pair of palms. A cooler full of sandwiches and drinks sits nearby. A few Rusties watch the ominous sky as curious gawkers eye the signatures. A horde gathers at the nearby gate. Will the Rusties make it inside to the waiting HORDE'o'Culture tent before getting a dousing?
Ten minutes later: banner is safely packed away from the pouring rain and there's a knot of Rusties under the big umbrella that was meant to block a hot sun. Other Rusties experience the weather first-hand, ready for anything the day can throw their way. The horde at the nearby gate grows larger and wetter.
As precisely as Mussolini's trains, the gate opens at 3pm -- and the horde surges forward. Some of the Rusties hang back for a bit, waiting for a break in the rain. When it comes, the pre-show gathering "stuff" is trundled away and the Rusties follow the horde into the HORDE. But not so fast -- when the pack holding the banner reaches the security check, the guy thinks he's hit the jackpot. "What's that hard thing in there?" he asks as he feels the bundle of wires and sissors and stuff used for hanging the banner.
"It's just a blanket -- you're feeling the folded edge. Do you want me to pull it out?"
Magically, Mother Nature lends a helping hand -- the rain starts coming down again, and the security guy decides that pulling out the banner and unfolding it would needlessly delay clearing the rest of the folks in the now-dimished mostly-dry queue. enters the station, awaiting the final HORDE train.
Those who hang around are rewarded with an outstanding set by Colonel Bruce Hampton playing with the Fiji Mariners. It's Frank Zappa meets The Grateful Dead as much of the small throng gets into the groove. Some of the best music of the day.
The tour merchandise tent isn't very crowded. As expected, shirts are running out and first choices turn into second or third choices. It's good to get that part of the ritual over with, and proceed onward through the Coral Sky station.
The first few bands end up being background music as Coral Sky is explored. It doesn't take long to take it all in, though, even while dodging rain showers. But soon the music beacons.
It's decided to forgo The Fool to hunt for more Rusties. Find some back at the Lionel tent -- scoping out Zeke and Elliot and hoping Neil will show. (It's found out later that Neil's bus hasn't even arrived yet, though, since it was delayed by a blown tire on the way down from Live Oak.) It's interesting to finally shake hands with Elliot. No chit-chat, though -- have to buy one of those $5 Engineer's hats (Correct, Conductor? :-) Sympathies to those who paid "full price" for them at earlier HORDE stops...
But it's still impossible to sit still, and it's hard to resist bushwacking the over-zealous security-types pushing people who protrude about 8" into the aisle back those 8". The folks down front get carried away and get rid of the pit seats and have themselves a grand old time. Dickie dives off the stage when a fan gets immobilized by security, and a good-old fashioned stand-off (Let him go or we walk!) briefly ensues. Before the final song ends there are 20 or so fans on the stage, having hopped over the barrier in waves.
It ain't a rock concert without a bit of attitude, right?
Toad the Wet Sprocket gives everyone a little breather. Eagles of the 90s? Nothing BAD about them, but you never feel uncomfortable sitting down during their set. At any other gig they'd probably excel, but there's just too much good music on the bill today to get into their set.
Bail out early to get a spot for Squirrel Nut Zippers at the second stage, but too late -- it's already packed. So a final walkabout ensues, a few other Rusties are encountered, a quick snack -- all to a big-band sound. Hope to see them in the future.
The HORDE train has taken a long time to make it into the station. But the head of the train is about to make it to the trestle...
Crime In The City brings back memories of Neil's last trip down to Florida, the '91 Smell The Horse tour. The complex rhythm and lyrics of the song meld into a steady idle. It's easy to find yourself in a zone where the individual notes float away and leave you coasting down the rails. But the rhythm change-ups remind you that you're still at the station, looking back down the track.
Hippie Dream is the conductor calling you back from that reminiscence. Then Big Time gives the motor a regimented workout, idling, reving, idling, reving, and eventually winding it up to a ferocious peak. The engine that has been pulling the HORDE train is in perfect tune.
So it's time to idle down to check-out the low-end. Hank To Hendrix purrs forth -- with a bit of a sputter when "Madonna" becomes "Courtney". Next cruise-control is tested, with a perfunctory Needle. Then the Engineer takes a minute to talk about the ride (best tour he's ever been on, he says) and the station (nice to be back in Florida, he says) and to thank the crew. Then another low-end test with Heart of Gold and the engine is declared fit.
Suddenly it's obvious that the train isn't JUST a train at all, it's also a Horse. THE Horse, in fact. The Horse who can take Throw Your Hatred Down and deliver it no less satisfyingly than the boys from Pearl Jam did. This Horse-Train-Beast wants to stretch its legs again before going to the garage. It just has to keep on Rockin' In The Free World.
The Horse-Train-Beast insists on including all the Free-Worlders by lighting up the station. As it does so, it's faced with , just like at most all the stations along the track. One last time it greets the beast as it chugs along.
The beast then breaks into a gallop with Sedan Delivery and we all gallop along-side. Eventually it outruns us and the train goes off to the garage. We call and call, and what returns is no longer the Horse-Train-Beast -- it's just The Horse. The Horse takes a bow and invites us to run with it again, to the Mansion On The Hill.
The Horse fumbles a bit with Powderfinger and its rider can be seen shouting "I fucked THAT up!" afterward. Ain't that what makes Neil so cool? He can fuck up a song and it's fun! (At least I think so, and Poncho does, because he was laughing his ass off -- how about you?)
This horse is finally beat... It's just got to go home. Not on the rails now, because this HORDE train has reached the end of the line. Disembarkation time. But first we gotta Roll Another Number For The Road.
(more to be added when I can... --RE*AC*TOR)