Tag Archives: Chicago

Hey, Nashville! Be a Real Music City and Build an Amphitheater

17 May

Last night, we went to a concert. That seems to be a theme for us since I am a concert addict. This one had three awesome act – The Devil Makes Three, Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson. Before the show, I had planned on a post about the show and the crowd. Instead, this post is about the venue.

It is called the Woods Amphitheater and has a semi-appropriate name. The woods part is accurate. Basically, they went into the middle of the woods and put up a stage. As far as I could see, that was the only major structure around.

While calling it an amphitheater is technically correct, it is a stretch of the definition. The reserved seats were folding chairs. There were a few concession stands. There were no permanent restroom facilities. My wife refused to drink anything in the fear that she might have to use the portable ones.

After spending too much time in a concession line, I said that I would not come back if Elvis rose from the dead for one last show. And, I am a huge Elvis fan.

In short, I was disappointed with the setup. A stage with folding chairs is advertised as a major concert venue. Look, the owners are not worried about what I think. The concert was sold out, and I am sure they are making plenty of money. However, the city of Nashville should be worried. It bills itself as Music City, but it does not have a real outdoor amphitheater where people can enjoy major acts in the outdoors. There is no excuse.

On top of that, we used to have a great once called Starwood.Starwood

Last night, I started thinking about Starwood and how cool it was. You could buy reserved seats under a cover. They were actually bolted to the floor. If you wanted to bring a blanket and sit on the grass hill behind the seats, then you could do that, too. The best place to sit depended on who was performing.

Starwood was the place where I got kicked out of a Metallica concert. Actually, my buddy got kicked out, and I had to go with him.

Starwood was the place where Robert and I walked into the middle of a knife fight at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.

Starwood was the place where I saw The Eagles on their first reunion tour. They opened up by playing the entire Hotel California album.

A lot of people have some great memories of what happened on the stage and in the crowd at Starwood.

As I sat in the wannabe amphitheater, I tried to think of the people I saw perform at the real amphitheater. This is not a complete list, but some of the concerts are hazy.

The aforementioned Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Eagles in addition to:

KISS. Judas Priest. Hootie and the Blowfish. Edwin McCain. ZZ Top. Rod Stewart. Chicago. Elton John. Ted Nugent. Crosby, Stills and Nash. Motley Crue. John Fogerty. Rob Zombie. Velvet Revolver. Ozzie Osbourne. Alan Jackson. John Mellencamp. Jimmy Buffett. Def Leppard. Marshall Tucker Band. Meatloaf. Dave Matthews Band. Blues Traveler. Earth, Wind and Fire.

I have no idea how many more there are, but it is a bunch.

Starwood was not one of the all-time great concert locations, but it was better than what we have now. Nashville is a great place to listen to all kinds of live music. It has the Ryman Auditorium, which is legendary. It has an arena and a stadium for the huge shows. There are small places, like the Bluebird Cafe, scattered around town where great musicians perform every night. Heck, Dave Grohl did a surprise show there this week.

However, Nashville’s music scene will not be complete until it gets a real amphitheater.

 

There Is Not Much Quite Like

27 Feb

While walking on the treadmill, I started thinking about how lucky I have been. That luck has come in numerous ways, but I was specifically thinking about travel. My mind went to some of the great places I have visited and the great sights I have seen.

There is not much quite like…

drinking wine in the chateau of Inglenook Vineyards.Honeymoon 016

catching the sun set over the buttes of Monument Valley.West 2010 232

hearing the water break on the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

leaving an offering at the grave of Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, South Dakota.

watching the Potomac River flow behind George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon.

feeling the power of water rushing over Niagara Falls.

zip-lining through the trees of north Georgia.

climbing the mesa at Ghost Ranch and looking the landscape often painted by Georgia O’Keefe.SONY DSC

sitting on the porch of the Old Faithful Lodge and watching buffalo roam through the geysers.

lying in the grass of Jackson Square and eating a beignet from Cafe Du Monde.

floating down the Rhine River and looking at the castle ruins passing by.

staring at the presidential faces of Mount Rushmore.

playing Blackjack at a Las Vegas table and watching the chips come and go.

touring Graceland and seeing The Outlaw Josey Wales playing in the TV Room.

hanging out on a beach in Cancun and watching my stepdaughter play volleyball.Cancun - Volleyball

strolling through the Vatican and trying to get a glimpse of the pope.

reading a book by a pool in Costa Rica.

climbing a waterfall in Jamaica.

being mesmerized by the killer whales and bald eagles in Glacier Bay.

dancing to “Me and Mrs. Jones” in a nightclub in Chicago.

standing in silence at the bombing memorial in Oklahoma City.SONY DSC

trying to see the tops of the Giant Sequoia in California.

driving through Hereford, Texas and passing thousands of head of cattle.

betting on Jai Alai in Florida.

lounging on the couch and watching television with my wife.

Those Are Not Cheese Sticks

17 Apr

Several years ago, some friends and I traveled to Chicago to watch our favorite team, the University of Tennessee, play football. They were playing Notre Dame, and it seems that weird things always happen with those two teams get together. This weekend was no different.

Two of my friends, Mayor and Rick, flew up earlier in the day, and I flew up later with Larry. The plan was for us to meet at the hotel. Larry and I landed; made our way to the hotel; and found out that Mayor and Rick had gone out on the town. We decided to go out and grab some food.

The hotel sat a block from Michigan Avenue, so we walked over to see what we could find. We walked pass a steak place, but that wasn’t really what we wanted. Some other places looked interesting but didn’t appeal to us. Finally, Larry looked across the street and saw an Italian restaurant. It looked a little fancy for the way we were dressed, but Italian sounded like a good choice.

The place was definitely fancy, and it was packed. It was hard to walk through the place, but we squeezed our way to the bar. I can’t remember how long we waited, but I remember that we had a long conversation with an older couple from Nebraska. I also remember that the lady was covered in diamonds.

By the time we got to the table, Larry and I were both starving. The waiter, who had an accent that I can’t type in, came over for our drink order. Before he could get away, Larry said that we wanted an appetizer, and the following exchange took place.

“Hey, bring us some of these cheese sticks.”

“Sir, those are not cheese sticks. They are mozzarella slices.”

“I don’t care what they are. Just bring us some.”

It wasn’t long before we got the mozzarella slices.Mozzarella

Then, we ordered our meals. I can’t remember what I got, but I distinctly remember that Larry got lasagna. I also remember that he only ate about half of it. I thought that was weird because I had never seen Larry leave anything on a plate.

“What’s wrong? Is it not any good?”

“It’s ok. I just don’t want anymore.”

That was pretty much it, and we made our way back to the room. By this time, Mayor and Rick had returned. They told us what they had been doing, and we told them about the snobby waiter, but we didn’t talk for long because we needed to get up early to make it to the game. Mayor and Rick slept on beds while Larry and I slept on rollouts. This means that we were packed in there.

At some point, I heard Larry get up and step over my bed. None of us stirred, but we woke up pretty quickly. Larry went to the bathroom, and strange noises started coming out of there. He was moaning and groaning. He was grunting. We didn’t know what was happening, but we knew it must have been bad. It sounded like he was dying. This went on and on and on.

We started to get worried, and Mayor said that somebody needed to check on him. The problem was that none of us wanted to go in there. We didn’t know what we were going to see. All along, Larry kept making sounds that made me think of The Exorcist.Exorcist

At some point, one of us mentioned that we should take him to the hospital.

We were worried. Larry was dying. This was a serious situation. Then, it happened. Through the grunts and the groans Larry yelled, “THE SON OF A BITCH POISONED ME!”

That was the end of the seriousness. Although Larry was still struggling, the rest of us could not stop laughing. At some point, Larry made it out of the bathroom. He survived but his clothes didn’t. I’m not sure what happened to them, but the hotel probably had to call in a hazardous waste crew.

The next day, Larry went to the game, but he was pale as a ghost. Tennessee won on Saturday, but the waiter won on Friday night.

Listeria – Travelogue Edition

17 Oct

The latest issue of Travel and Leisure has an article called “101 Places Every Traveler Should Know”. As you know, I am a freak for lists, so I scanned the article to see which ones I have visited. The following is my personal list from the 101, along with a three word synopsis of each.

The Road to Somewhere

2. Maine – lots of lobster

7. Las Vegas – please read this

14. New York City – too many people

17. Kauai, Hawaii – most beautiful island

24. London – where’s the queen?

26. Jackson Hole, Wyoming – outdoor adventures galore

27. Salmon River, Idaho – riding rapids rapidly

33. San Francisco – tour Alcatraz Island

40. Miami – hot women everywhere

41. Los Angeles – seeing fallen stars

45. Napa Valley – vine to bottle

49. British Virgin Islands – hitting the bars

51. Chicago – my favorite city

54. Charleston, South Carolina – history and food

55. Amsterdam – red light district

59. Big Island, Hawaii – lots of lava

60. Sedona, Arizona – get some crystals

68. Venice – birdshit never dries

78. Yosemite National Park – beauty beyond belief

89. Rome – ancient and modern

95. New Orleans – varieties of decadence