Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Memphis in May, Day 3

Okay, so here's what happened on our last days in Memphis.

Sunday we got up late and Jon finished his paperwork. We hung out at the hotel a little while, even though we'd missed breakfast. I was feeling better that day, though. After a while we went downtown. I wanted to see Chris Robinson at 335, but Jon wasn't really crazy about them. He said he'd go if we got there on time, though. We went and ate lunch at Alfred's on Beale Street. It was pretty good, but not as good as Pig. Jon had a beer and then we left.
We walked around a little, but not as long as the day before. Jon wanted to get me a turtle necklace to go with the dress I'd gotten the day before, so he got one from a street vendor. Then we saw some girls on the street selling Jello shots, so he had to get one of those. We walked down to the festival after that.
It was sweltering again on Sunday, but I was wearing better clothes (no polyester!) so it wasn't too bad. We'd forgotten sunscreen, but by the time we got down there it was almost 5. We ran to catch the last ten minutes of Chris Robinson, but he'd already finished playing when we got there 10 minutes before he was supposed to be done. So we went right to Michael Franti and Spearhead.
We got up close, about halfway across the rubber mat, and thankfully, in the shade of the stage. We stood around for about half an hour. At first, we thought maybe the show wouldn't have many people there since we were able to get up so close and there weren't many people waiting. But the stage filled up by the time the band came on, and they had a pretty good audience. The band was AMAZING. I'd only heard a handful of their songs, but they were so great! Chill and groovy and cool, really fun and happy. The guitarist had this humongous grin on his face the entire time, and Michael Franti kept coming off stage and going through the audience. He pulled a bunch of people up on stage, gave a couple of them guitars, and let two little kids sing part of one of his songs. It was really cool, and I liked how appreciative of his fans he seemed and how he interacted with everyone so much. It was an amazing show--my favorite one of the whole weekend. The music was great, too.
After that, we went to get food and Jon got a chicken dish from the gyro place. We sat down and ate and waited for Herbie Hancock. But he must have been REALLY late coming on, because 20 minutes after he was supposed to start, he still hadn't come on stage. So we went down and listened to Bush for about 5 songs. Then we went all the way to the other end of the park and listened to the end of The Civil Wars, who everyone had said was one of the best bands there. They were pretty good.
After that, Alison Krauss was at the same stage, so we stayed for her. We got to the third row after the Civil Wars fans cleared out. But I was hot from dancing by then, and the crowd was pretty thick. I also got pushed by the first rude fan I ran into all weekend. Anyway, we stood around waiting for the band for a long time. Finally they came on. I've been waiting to see Alison Krauss for literally 10 years, so maybe it just couldn't measure up to my expectation. Or maybe I was just hot, and tired from standing and walking around in flip-flops for 3 days straight. Whatever it was, I just wasn't as into it as I'd expected. Jon, who hadn't really wanted to see her too much, ended up really enjoying the show, especially the rest of Union Station. After 40 minutes, I asked if he was ready to go see Primus. He said we could stay, but I really wanted to get off my feet for a while.
So we went to see Primus. On the way, we noticed all this lightning in the clouds off to the west over the river. We went and sat in the grass pretty far back from the stage. They were really loud even back there. Jon went and got a funnel cake, which they made right there while he waited. It was super hot and greasy, delicious and crunchy and gooey and sugary. I hadn't had a funnel cake in years, and it definitely beat the last one I had. We watched the lightning and listened to the band. I kind of wanted to get closer, but Jon was happy sitting back in the grass, so we stayed there. The band kept talking about the lightning. Finally, towards the end of the show, the lightning got a lot closer and the wind picked up and started blowing constant and cold from one direction. "Here comes the rain," the band said, and they went off stage without even saying goodnight.
Everyone in the entire park jetted out of there at once. The wind was gusting big clouds of dust everywhere, whipping wildly around. The last band was still playing in the blues tent, but we got out of the park as fast as we could along with just about everyone else. We walked back to the car and got in, watching the storm move in. Almost as soon as we got on the highway to go back to the hotel, the rain hit. It came down in giant sheets, washing across the car while the wind rocked us all over the place and the storm blinded us. I turned off the radio and sat there not saying a word so Jon could concentrate on driving. We kept hitting slick spots where the road was covered with water, and even going 40mph it was hard to see. It seemed like it took hours to get back to the hotel, but we made it safely through the driving rain and back to our room.
We got up in the morning and it was still raining a little outside. It took us a while to get on the road, but we finally did and headed back to Arkansas on Monday morning.

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