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Zeke Saves The Day

MORE BARN at Pine Knob
by Mary Maguire

Where to start and where to end....

I have so much I want to say, but you guys don't need to be told how it feels to come back off the Rusted Road.

I guess I'll start with Zeke:

"So what does Zeke look like?" I ask Leo under the MORE BARN banner at Molson Park, "the only image I have is of a little blond kid standing on the deck of the Ragland".

Leo shrugs, "He looks like you would expect -- he's got long, blond hair and intense eyes, like the Old Man."

When Zain, Andy and I finally line-up for the entrance at 3:00 pm Saturday, there're still thousands of people streaming into the Park and thousands more to come. We face an hour's wait in the sun behind a chain-link fence. Zain suggests we keep to the outside so as to spot other Rusties. A good plan, as it turns out, 'cause a few minutes later a golf cart arrives on the other side of the fence, stopping in front of us. In it are three guys with a video camera.

"We're Neil's road crew. We're making a movie. Everybody smile and say 'Hi'". I notice that a young blond roadie is driving the cart with his left hand. "That's Zeke!" I yell to Zain, "That's Zeke! Hey Zeke! Zeke! Look at the shirts!"

Zeke points at us, "Oh yeah, MORE BARN!".

"The banner!! Get the banner up," yells Andy as he pulls it out of his bag and we fumble to get it unknotted and unfurled against the fence. "Film the banner", and they do, with the three of us holding it and grinning liking lunatics.

They thank us and drive off. "Bye Zeke!"


..........The next day -- PINE KNOB:

Between Steve Earle and the Gin Blossoms, Andy and I approach security for permission to hang the banner inside the pavilion fence, but the nearest Hitler Youth is determined to spoil the day. "Sorry, paying advertisers don't want anything else put up in here". Andy's arguments are in vain, and off we go to our seats. I notice at this point that Zeke is sitting on his own in the sound box (wearing a Jewel shirt). I point him out to Andy and the boys and joke about him being my age, "Perhaps I should introduce myself". (Ha! Ha! Ha!)

Well, the boys are all for this idea and off I go (with nothing to say). I intend to strut back and forth as if Im looking for somebody, hoping that Zeke will notice my MORE BARN! shirt and say, "Hi" (yeah, right).

After a few minutes, he hasn't seen me and I decide on a subtle approach -- I'll pretend like I don't know who he is and that I just need some assistance with a problem. I sidle-up and lean in:

"We have a banner we'd like to put up -- it just says MORE BARN -- but the security guys won't let us, do you happen to know where we could hang it?"

I get a piercing look in response. "He's going to kill me," I think and so I point up at the guys and babble some more: "There's a bunch of us here from the Rust List and we have this banner and..."

"Why won't they let you put it up?"

"Well, they said it would take away from the paid advertising."

He stares some more. "Where are they?"

I think he means the Rusties. I point. "Up there". He looks up at the Barn Boys, smiling and waving. Another scary pause.

Then the unimaginable happens. Zeke grabs the sound box railing, swings underneath to where I am and heads up the stairs. I think we're going to meet the Rusties and I scramble up after him. As we make our way along the walkway behind the seats, I ask, "So how do you like your shirt?"

"I LOVE IT!" he declares (with genuine enthusiasm).

"That's great", I say, "When you get out West, you'll have to thank a guy named Brad Brandeau, he worked hard on them".

At this point we're up to the fence. "Who won't let you put the sign up?" Zeke asks me. I point to the victim, "That little guy right there".

Next thing I know, Zeke is shouting at the security guy, "I'm with Neil Young's road crew and these people have been following us and supporting us since the beginning of the tour, in every city! They're our greatest fans and you'd better let them put their sign up here RIGHT NOW!!!"

My heart sorta goes out to this quivering security kid -- he looks so helpless, with those little paper plugs sticking out of his ears, but I figure he has it coming. They're a bunch of Nazis at Pine Knob.

But here we are, Zeke's telling me I can put up the sign and I DON'T EVEN HAVE IT! Not to worry, Andy in all his Cutlass Supremacy had seen us heading for the fence and arrives at my side with banner in hand.

And so the MORE BARN rust@death sign goes up over Pine Knob.

You know, there were thousands of people in the stands that night, but whenever I glanced over at that banner I felt like nothing and noone existed except the band, Neil's family and crew, and my Rustie friends -- making a bond out of music.

Thanks Zeke.

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