Thursday, April 20, 2006

Robert Randolph at The Plex

We got there at 7:30 and luckily were admitted early by the Managing Partner so Raj and I were all alone in the empty club, sipping cold beers and standing front row center as we waited for the Robert Randolph and the Family Band concert at N. Chuck's PLEX last night.

It was general admission with no assigned seating and we figured the few bar stools were too far away. But what the hell...we were in THE prime viewing spot. Even though we knew we would be standing for hours, we were comfortable leaning our elbows on the cushioned security rail, right in front of Robert's pedal steel guitar. We could see all the details and markings on the 12-stringed instrument and even the smudged hand-written play list sitting atop the eight numbered sound controls and connections the roadies had hooked up earlier. Cousin Danyel's bass was set up to our left, Marcus' drums were right behind Robert and the keyboard and other guitar player would be to our right.

The stage was low, so when the show started at 10:15 and the family trooped onstage, Robert sat down just above eye level, only about 6 feet from us. We wanted to make sure he saw that this almost 67-year old guy and his younger buddy were having a helluva good time. We were part of the young swaying throng crammed in close and we danced and clapped along and had a ball. He saw us and knew it! I wish I could have had at least ONE day at work having as much fun as they were having doing their "job."

Of course this extreme close proximity spoils future Randolph concerts for us.

We had seen him twice before in Charleston at The Music Farm, the first time with a sparse crowd and the next time, elbow-to-elbow with little room to move around. We had bounced,danced and splashed a few years ago in rain and mud when he performed under a huge white tent next to the mighty Mississippi during the 3-day Beale Street Blues Bash in Memphis.

We were soggy in yellow ponchos a few rows back in Atlanta last year at the Midtown Music Festival,looking up at a high stage and a huge TV screen behind him and The Family playing in the rain. Another time, we were inside and dry at The Tabernacle in Atlanta near the Olympic Park and CNN headquarters downtown.

So now we've attended 6 concerts and he has a new album coming out next month. I'm sure we'll buy it.

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