If you’re feeling tired, just start dancing.

I’ll try not to linger so long on crafting and polishing each word tonight – I’ve been out late at the dance with Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie, and I need to be up early tomorrow to start it all over again.

I spent the daytime hours wandering Elko, grabbing some food here and there, comparing coffee from one place to another, and even – I can’t believe it myself – getting in a nap. I felt rejuvenated and ready for just about anything by the time my first stage managing gig started at 5.

Today’s schedule had the same timing as Thursday’s, but fewer musicians involved, so the back stage was a little less hectic. I tracked people down at the appropriate moments for sound checks, while Colin and James – the sound techs who have been taking such great care of the auditorium sound – got all the details worked out, and got everyone sounding their best. The Kightlingers kept the audience in line, and we were under way at the stroke of 6:30.

The first show had Paul Zarzyski splitting the time with Wylie & the Wild West. Paul started with a handful of poems, bringing the audience along for one of his usual crazy rides, and depositing them gently in Wylie’s hands as they traded off from Paul’s poem “Riding Double Wild” to the song that Wylie and he have worked out with those same words. The audience loved the seamless, high-energy transition. Wylie and his band got to stretch out with an hour-and-fifteen-minute set, and brought Paul back out several times to sprinkle some poetry between the songs, introduce songs with a little verse, and dance like a punch-drunk marionette. It was an awesome high-energy show. They ended with a poem-song pairing that they said they’d never done before, but it sure seemed to come off flawlessly.

The second show fully carried on that energy, and even amped it up further. Andy Nelson started things off with a solid set of poems and stories, mostly getting the audience laughing, but also following some advice he’d gotten from Wally McRae and sneaking in a serious one so the audience could ‘know who you are.’ Great advice Wally; Andy’s poem about the endangered cowboy hushed the crowd and brought enthusiastic applause.

Adrian had the middle slot of the show. I can’t believe I’d never heard her perform before. I’m going to have to keep an extra eye in the schedule from now on for her shows. The power in that voice! She has an amazing, clear, soulful sound, an incredible range, and is writing some downright captivating songs. I guess if you’re going to get your heart broken by a buckaroo, you might as well get some great material out of it. And at 18 years old, I hope we can look forward to seeing her at a whole lot of future Gatherings.

Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans held down the last slot in the last show of my working night. As they were being introduced and Corb was waiting in the wings, I was remembering an old Dodge Nova a friend of mine used to drive – so souped up that it wouldn’t quite hold still at traffic lights, creeping forward inch by inch as the engine revved, just waiting for the chance to leap out to top speed. They kept the audience hollering and clapping, bringing in elements of rockabilly and hot jazz, and – Corb was right about this – one of the very few drum solos I think I’m likely to see at the Gathering. I bet a good portion of that audience is considering Corb’s invitation to join them at the midnight dance at the G Three-Bar Theatre in the Folklife Center on Saturday.

Once everything was stowed away in the auditorium I made my way as fast as I could over to the ballroom (thank goodness just down the hall!) and caught some of Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie’s dance set. They were playing from 9:30 to 12:30, and both dance floors were full the whole time I was there. I was well aware that I ought to get to bed to rest up for my early morning stage managing duties, but the music was jumping, the dance floor was packed, and I was armed with the knowledge that no one else cares whether I can really dance or not. I got out on the floor a couple of times with some friends who are very forgiving of foot-stompings, and I worked up a great dance floor sweat. For just a minute, across the room, I even saw a lady I was talking to earlier who I’d hoped would show up at the dance, but by the time I made it over, she was lost in the swirling crowd somewhere and never turned up again. Ah well, there’s TWO more dances I plan to make it to tomorrow. Better get some sleep to be ready for them!

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2 Responses to “If you’re feeling tired, just start dancing.”

  1. Rabbitbrush Marie Says:

    Hello. Thanks for all that you did to make this Gathering great and for the blogging. Also, I hope that you ran into the lady you mentioned in your blog again at one of the dances last night. You look like you have fun when you dance and that’s a great thing!

    Have a safe return trip to California.
    Rabbitbrush Marie

  2. Bennie Kinnamon Says:

    Great website and i should totally comply with you on this view here. Its interesting, thats what i should say concerning this post. Because this def is what this whole site is all about am i right? Greetings all!

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