Friday, January 8, 2010

Rocker Concert

Green Valley Spa, St. George, Utah
Day 10, Jan. 7, 2010


There were too many seniors at last night's Merle Haggard concert for this to be called a rock concert. Rocker concert is more like it. Big crowd, maybe 3,000, and sold out. A very mellow group. Courteous. A whole audience helping strangers off and on with their jackets because of range of motion shortfalls in the arms. Down home friendliness.

The strange thing to me was that 1/3 of the men attending wore hats – which they never removed. Cowboy hats came in both the big and the small variety and colors ranging from beige to brown to black. Many men wore baseball caps -- caps of all sorts, teams, and colors -- and always wore them bill forward. No caps on backwards. No caps on sideways.

On the heads they stayed, those hats, for the entire concert. I guess out here seeing a man remove his hat is as  likely as seeing him remove his nose. The hat is part of him. A couple of last night's hats looked as old as their wearers.

Nothing particularly unusual about the women, other than it's impossible to tell the ages of any of them here in Utah. I think they all look younger than sisters up North because of the Mormon lifestyle. But they all sure were prettied up last night.

Frances, the chef at Green Valley Spa, drove us to Cox Auditorium and took us home afterwards. Between those rides , Lyle and I enjoyed some kick-ass country music from Merle, his sons, and his brothers. The opening act (from North Carolina) was Chris Malves (I'm not quite sure of that last name). All good stuff. My favorites of the evening were "Okie from Muskogee," "Mama Tried," and "Pretty When It's New" which is a new song and about new love.

The evening brought me back to the country concerts Lyle and I went to Poplar Creek in Schaumburg for three summers. Clear nights, young lovers ourselves, time away from our kids. Nice memories.

And I remembered why I always have loved country: the lyrics. Are these the only musical poems being written anymore -- or just the only ones I can decipher?

My Own Kind of Hat
by Merle Haggard
Cowboys and outlaws, right guys and southpaws,
   Good dogs and all kinds of cats,
Dirt roads and white lines and all kinds of stop signs,
   But I stand right here where I'm at,
'Cause I wear my own kind of hat.

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