I hadn't thought much about DAC lately. Once upon a time I had five or six of his 1970s LPs, but after a purge of vinyl in the late 1990s (moved into a small house, what can I say?) all I kept was my fave, 1975's Human Emotions (subtitled Happy Side/Su-i-side), a concept album about DAC's marriage breaking up due to his wife's affair with his best friend. But when I heard he was coming to my hometown, on a Saturday night no less, I was intrigued, even though I'm accustomed to being a homebody these days. I went ahead and plunked down $30 a pop (ouch!) for tickets for me and the wife. I hadn't been to the venue in its current incarnation and when I picked the tickets up noticed that there was seating for about 20 and the remaining 180 the place would hold were gonna have to stand. Ruh-roh. We got there before the doors opened but the seats were gone anyway. Oh well, there's another bar next door (hey, this is a college town!) with nice plush booths and I can go over to the common wall and hear when the opening band kicks in... This turned out to be a great solution, and we killed the next... well, don't remember the amount of time but four beers... in comfort. Headed over and caught the last few songs of the openers, a young and energetic Texas band whose name escapes me. I was getting in the mood for some outlaw country by this time, but first a quick hop back to the other bar for a vodka and coke while they reset the stage for DAC. Returned and snagged a spot right against stage right. A few minutes later security moved us back to let DAC through.
Holy cow. Blonde-dyed hair to his butt (my wife says it's a weave). Beard to match, dreadlocked with beads, down to that big belt buckle. An orange Converse Chuck Taylor on one foot, a purple one on the other. He was moving slowly, leaning heavily on a cane, and was helped onto a stool onstage. I wasn't so sure this was a great idea suddenly. Then he strummed his guitar, and doubts vanished as he launched into a nonstop barrage of classic songs, his and others. A lot of them were melded into medleys and there's no way I can remember them all (note previous alcohol intake). The classics got the full performance: You Never Even Called Me By My Name, If That Ain't Country I'll Kiss Your Ass, Longhaired Redneck, Would You Lay With Me In a Field of Stone, Please Come To Boston, The Ride, Take This Job and Shove It. We got bits of Jack Daniels If You Please, Fuckin' In The Butt (from one of his X-rated LPs), Whippin' Post, One More Silver Dollar, Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain, and a few zillion more, even a few lines of Townes Van Zandt's If I Needed You ! Once upon a time I would have taken notes but that ain't as much fun as saluting each classic lyric with an upraised Bud sixteen-ouncer while leaning against the lead guitarist's amp (his oldest son, wearing a shirt with a pic of Dylan from Don't Look Back, who was brandishing a Gibson SG and dancing on a dozen effect pedals and rocking out very nicely indeed). I was about ten feet from Coe, we were facing each other the whole show, definitely a scary proposition for us both. DAC did some of his famous name-dropping, updated to include Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker, played a new song or two, and ended with one about his children dealing with his death that I'd like to hear again. And it was over. I followed securitythrough the back door as they helped DAC out, moving even slower than before, to his black Suburban with leapord-skin seat covers. He painfully removed his outer stage shirt and replaced it with a flannel one, and then... climbed into the driver's seat! Beautiful.
My main mark of whether something was a good time is if I wish I was back there. I do, a lot. And waitress, bring me another tallboy Bud!!