There are very few things in this world in which I am willing to invest time and money. One of these happens to be the pursuit of "live" celtic music. These types of concerts are few and far between around North Alabama so one must be willing to travel some. It's been some time since my last trip to Nova Scotia for the Celtic-Colours festival and I was more than overdue for a getaway.
While cruizing the net one day, I ran across a thread for the Mid-South Celtic Arts Alliance. They were plugging an upcoming concert by the Battlefield Band. I couldn't resist. The show was held at the Memphis College of Art in the heart of Overton Park. Overton Park held no particular significance to me until I arrived to find it to be a popular "hang-out" for young African-Americans. I have to admit that I felt slightly uneasy at first but the heavy police prescence took the edge off it all. Honestly, it seemed such a stark contrast to my reason for being there. It's not that I'm uncomfortable around black people but rather that it was a new place for me and no one there knew me.
While waiting for the doors to open, I noticed these four caucasion guys milling around among the masses. Then it hit me. They've got to be in the band and sure enough they were "the entire band". I can remember how it struck me that under any other conditions this could very likely not happen. I imagined what might happen if they decided to put on an impromptu show on the lawn and if they'd attract an audience of any size. I'd like to think that there would've been a reasonably large throng of surprised young people to gather.
The concert was very near what I had expected. I learned that Alan Reid, the keyboardist, is the only original member left in the group. The group also contained a guitarist and fiddle player both from Ireland who were very versatile. But, for sure, the highlight of the night was the outstanding virtuosity of the man on the pipes and whistles (he had two of each). Highland and Border pipes, tin and low whistles he was very good on them all. His name is Michael Katz.
All-in-all a great night it was. Wonderful music with some history and humor mixed in for good measure. It turned out to be one of my more memorable trips considering I was alone and didn't know anyone there.
Does anyone else have any memorable "concert" trips they'd like to share ?