Let’s just say that last week I lucked into some tickets and VIP passes to see The Avett Brothers at the Word of South festival here in Tallahassee. To say I was excited would be the understatement of the century. I adore them. And I freely admit that it is only due to a CMT Crossroads they did with the great Randy Travis (who has more issues with alcohol than even I do). All of Thursday and most of Friday I was too ramped up to sit still. I was excited beyond words.
I mean, what’s not to get excited about? Tallahassee actually had decent music in town that didn’t consist of some mildly talented young boy in tight jeans and gelled hair, rapping country tunes and hick hopping around on stage, while shaking his ass like George Michael. Having The Avett Brothers and Sublime in town was a huge deal.
Late Friday afternoon, as my nerves wound tighter and tighter, it occurred to me that I was going to a concert for the first time in my life, without having a few drinks to settle the nerves. Which, obviously had a calming effect on me, just considering that. Almost immediately, I started sweating and became nauseous. My girlfriend, who is more of a “Beyoncé/Empire Soundtrack” girl to my “Pearl Jam/Singles Soundtrack” self, had agreed to go with me, and endure “my music” as a sort of payback for all of those grueling hours of the fucking Kardashians and Real Housewives that she puts me through. It’s because of her that I know who the fuck French Montana is as well as the woman whose husband Lee Ann Rimes bedded.
On our way, we stopped at the store for a drink, and my girlfriend decided to help an older woman take her items to her car on the way out. Which is fine, as long as you remember to hold onto your own shit while helping others with theirs. Which she didn’t. She hopped back into the car with nothing in her hands. Before I could even asked where my Smart Water was, she burst out of the car only to see the lady driving off. This somehow became my fault, but I digress.
There was an unsuccessful chase, then a phone call to the store, and a trip all the way back as the lady had returned with the bag (which also contained my girl’s wallet). Once more, we were on the way. We were successful in parking and finding our way to the VIP tent. We were successful in using the porta pottys. We were successful in not succumbing to the temptations of the ten dollar cheese fries.
We were also successful in not drinking any alcohol. To be honest, my girlfriend quit drinking the same day I did, and it doesn’t even bother her. She has found that she likes to eat as much as she likes to breathe, and really couldn’t care less about alcohol. It doesn’t bother her one bit to be around it. Aside from the fact that she hates people in general, and drunk people are especially hate worthy to a sober person.
I however, was a sweating, lost, hot mess. I mean, this was drinking music and there was drinking all around. My girl was trying, God bless her, to make idle conversation with me, which at one point resulted in me losing my shit and through gritted teeth saying something along the lines of, “I don’t give a shit whether you pay ten dollars for fucking cheese fries!” Which, of course put me in the dog house and made me the recipient of stink eyes and hate breathing. And this excellent quote: “Don’t take it out on me that you want to steal the lady’s Stella Artois. If it bothers you that bad, just go buy a goddamned beer princess. I came out here with you to listen to what I am certain will be kick drums, fiddles, and banjos, and I’ll be damned if you are going to talk to me like some fucking hillbilly talks to his wife. Dear.”
Soon, the show started. Kick drums, banjos, and fiddles included. I soon forgot that I wanted a cold beer and she forgot about the cheese fries. She wasn’t paying much attention to the show, but found her peace in “people watching”. My God, it was like Redneck Coachella. It was nothing short of fascinating. In the VIP tent, there were “important” Tallahassee people, whom I’m certain had no idea who The Avett Brothers were, but they were no doubt making money off of all those very happy, dancing, singing people, so they were happy as well.
The Avett Brothers are an amazing group. But, I must say they are ten times better live than they are in studio. In fact, I haven’t heard a live show that was comparable in years. I can’t say enough about just how amazing they were. And to hear them in the amphitheater with all of those people singing along was something else.
I don’t think that I am at a point, yet, where I could go out each weekend around copious amounts of alcohol and expect to maintain my sobriety. But, Friday night, The Avett Brothers were so good, that once they started playing, alcohol was the very last thing on my mind. And that’s saying a lot.