concert memoirs pt. 43 - the guess who & don williams

The Guess Who at the Cabooze with John, some other high school friends and lots of beer.

How embarrassing this night was. It's the only concert at which I've ever been so drunk. After this night, John took to referring to The Guess Who as my favorite band. It isn't, but I sure acted that night as if it was.

It was sometime during the summer after my first year of art school. I had adopted some of the "arty punk" fashion and style (whatever they were) and John and I had started getting into the indie music scene. This show was more for the guys we went with. They were more "normal" and into the mainstream scene. They thought John and I had gotten a little weird, but we were still cool.

The Cabooze was hosting these Canadian has beens. (Just look at that picture. The picture is more recent, but that's pretty much what they were like when we saw them.) It was two-for-one night and, for some reason, the guys kept giving me their extra beer. And I was soaking them up. By the time the band played, I was pretty lit.

I'm not sure how many were original members, but it appears that Burton Cummings was not involved. They played their hits and I rocked out like this was the greatest band ever. I had learned to appreciate the fun to be had while slam dancing, but, because of my state of inebriation, I had forgotten that The Guess Who didn't play the kind of music that lended itself to slam dancing. Nor would the audience appreciate my choice of dance.

Not that I was in full skank or anything. I wasn't flinging myself around, but I wasn't very careful about bumping into the people next to me. I wasn't being very violent, but I was a getting a little out of hand.

At one point, two fellows standing behind me pulled me aside and told me to settle down. Actually, they were pretty cool about it and I immediately complied. John also told me to knock it off. He didn't feel like getting beat because his friend was being a moron.

I settled down and watched the rest of the show when something interesting happened. The band was closing their set with their song 'Share The Land'. The song contains the lyric, "Shake your hand/Share the land". As they get toward the end of the song, they sing that part a cappella and reach out to the crowd to shake hands. Press the flesh. Give the audience a thrill.

Guess who (no pun intended) came climbing over our backs, clambering through the crowd to get their chance to shake the band's hands. Uh huh. It was the same two fellows who dressed me down for my inconsiderate behavior. "Do as we say! Not as we do!"

At least, we didn't get beat up that night.

Don Williams (country music legend)

My wife, Amy, indulged me on this one. I don't think she's much of a country music fan, but I think Don Williams is great. Especially his earlier material. In the 1970s, he was big, but when Amy and I saw him in 2002 he was playing smaller clubs and casinos. He retired from touring in 2006.

Despite losing his audience to the crap country of Garth Brooks and Toby Keith, Don still could put on a terrific show. He played his crowd pleasers and mixed in a new song or two. His band played well and he still had the pipes.

Amy and I sat at a table at the back of the room, but we still had a good view of the stage. Don was so smooth. He sat and sang his best tunes and the audience loved him.

He had this easy manner to his stage presence. And he kept thanking the crowd for being so kind. His deep voice would smoothly roll out, "Oooh, you're sooo nice. You are sooo kind. Aren't you folks just something?"

He was being sincere. He really enjoyed playing for an audience.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Don's songs of romance had me looking at Amy and being so thankful and in love, there was some sort of salty discharge coming from my eye.

Hmmm, what was that salty discharge?

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