Sunday, July 28, 2013

Radio Romance Tour 2013

Almost six years ago, Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Companion compatriots came to the Bangor Auditorium to perform a live broadcast of the amazing Saturday evening program--Amanda (8.5 months pregnant with Callum) and I, of course, were there. Garrison Keillor is my favorite writer of all time, I think it is safe to say #strongstatements, and A Prairie Home Companion, as a program, ranks right up there with The Nutcracker and Pu Pu platters as one of my favorite things in the world.

Last night, we had tickets to see Garrison and company's "Radio Romance" tour of the summer--it wasnt the 'live' program, but, rather, just a summer long string of tour dates for a sort of 'concert.' We had severe complications with the babysitting situation (the show didnt start til 730...and it was an hour away in Bangor) and it looked like we were going to have to eat the money we spent on the tickets. Then, at the '11th hour' as they say, Amanda said to me "hey, why dont we just bring the kids?" And so we did. And it was one of the most delightful nights we have had in a long time.

Above, the kids get ready for the trip to the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion, where the show was. Please dont ask me why Callum Stuze was absolutely HELLBENT on adorning himself with pirate regalia (jacket, mask, hat, hook hand, etc). Just chalk it up to the fact that he is a five year old boy. Hey, havent you ever seen a five year old dressed as a pirate at a National Public Radio syndicated live performance? Yeah. See?

The concert venue was disgusting. It smelled like a rest area bathroom in August. The outdoor seats (I feel badly for the people with 'lawn' seats) were on this clay/crushed stone stuff. Gross. Muddy. Smelled like cesspool. But whatever. We got to see Garrison, Fred Newman, the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band, and more!!

 Here's the set: The show definitely is not for everyone--as with most things Amanda and I love, most other people our age dislike vehemently...haha. It is definitely strange to see a 'radio show' performed live in person. Very cool. Garrison's special guest joining him on tour is a young lady named Sarah Watkins, one of the three members of the famous Bluegrass band 'Nickle Creek.' Sara is a phenom fiddle player, and Callum and Maira were clapping along, drumming, and dancing in their seats....

Below, you can see a tiny speck of white--that is Garrison Keillor, resplendent in his white seersucker suit, BRIGHT red tie, and trademark bright red Chuck Taylors. One thing GK does very well is create ethos which each audience, depending on which city he is in--he told a lot of cool Maine facts that I didnt know, he wrote and performed two songs about Maine, and he wrote a beautiful poem about the state. He also performed one of his famous skits "The Lives of the Cowboys," as well as his trademark "News from Lake Wobegone," where, in last night's monologue, he CONTINUED to make the audience's emotions virtual putty in his hand, somehow weaving a description about a summer baseball league featuring Siamese Twin catchers, a Border Collie with a high slugging percentage, that same dog who peed on his rival's leg when both teams were shaking hands at the end of the game, and finishing it up (like I said, somehow) bringing the audience almost to tears with a gorgeous and heartfelt story about two newlyweds who were so in love that they forgot the vows they had written for each other and had to fall back on the 'traditional' ones. Sounds crazy. And it was. But it was utterly beautiful.

And Callum has decided on a new vocation: Replacing sound effect man Fred Newman after Newman retires. Newman, below, in the vest, is an amazing talent, creating all types of sound effects to complement Garrison's stories. When you listen to him on the radio, you dont get to see his dynamic body language and 'spunk' that he puts into all his 'radio acting.' Callum (and Maira too...but she was kind of tired) was virtually rolling in his seat with laughter as Newman made impressions of trains, whales, dolphins, Sea Lions performing Led Zepplin songs, seals covering Beatles songs, and, perhaps Callum's favorite, Ira Glass from NPR's "This American Life." Callum, since the show, has kept saying "I really really need to practice my sound effects later, okay daddy?" He also said he is a huge fan of PHC now! WOO HOO

A fantastic family evening. Blessed to have kids who can appreciate the arts like this. We left at about 920 or so...the show ended a little after ten. I splurged on a PHC hat...Amanda got a Radio Romance tour t-shirt....and Callum and Maira bought, perhaps, one of the only A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION frisbees in the entire Milky Way Galaxy.....

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