Summer time, and the livin' is easy.
That's what I love about summer - easy. Casual. Laid back. Not so many deadlines. No school nights. No looking for lunch money in a late-for-school frenzy. When the temperature rises, the rules go out the window so the fan can go in. People relax their personal spaces, smile more and wave at strangers. It's possible this stems from the shorts-and-t shirt dress standard, but it's kind of a chicken and egg thing. All I know is that winter and scratchy clothing make me cranky as hell.
So, summer has ended, boo hoo. But under a Knoxville skyline that refused to show me any stars, I said a mellow and peaceful goodbye.
Jack Johnson. Surfer. Film maker. Bard of the Beach. This Year's Model. All Around Nice Guy and Environmentalist. Drove his alternatively fueled buses into K-town September 2nd and brought Matt Costa AND the Animal Liberation Orchestra with him.
It was a hot and sunny late afternoon. Traffic was heavy, but moving. We were late, as usual, so we took the interstate. I debated exits, mulling over the parking situation. Since it was at the World's Fair Park, I finally chose the Park exit (duh), and a very nice policewoman directed us to a nearby parking garage. Hordes of people (ok, youth of America)were converging on the park. Spaghetti straps everywhere. Some tie dye. A few dreads. The spectrum that is the University of Tennessee. My date for the evening was my oldest daughter, Katie, and this was her first real concert experience. I was supposed to chaperone a herd of her friends as well, but they decided not to go, had other plans, etc. We bought ourselves some spiffy organic cotton T's, got our id checked (at least I did), and found a place to drop our Doughboy blanket. I stood in a mob, an utter mob!, to get my one allowed beer - yes, it was obviously a college crowd. I managed to get most of it back to our spot in time to listen to the last of the ALO. Matt Costa came on, but was accosted with cries of Jack! Jack! Jack!, so that probably didn't feed his ego much. I don't honestly remember much about his set. He apologized for scaring a pedestrian while skateboarding and mentioned the Smoky Mountains and trout fishing to a big wave of applause. We were scoping out the crowd and trying to find my oldest son and his sweet girlfriend. Using cell phone technology and the extended arm point of reference, we were able to join them standing in front of the stage just before Jack came on.
Which was just after sundown, under a pink sky. I know he mashed Rocky Top into the beginning of one of his songs and the crowd went wild. I'm thinking it was his opener - that would make sense. I really should write these things down! So, I stood in the crowd, sniffing the occasional whiff of ganja, laughing at this young man who got on his friend's shoulders and flashed Jack, finding myself doing that old lady bobbing dance. Jack added a verse of the Cars' song Just What I Needed to one of his own, and I'd swear I was the only person in the crowd who knew. He also did some of My Girl in another. Matt Costa joined him for a really nice version of the Beatles' Two of Us, which is probably my favorite Beatle song, even if it is a Paul one. It was just very pleasant. Peaceful. A good, friendly vibe. I left #1 daughter with #1 son and returned to my Doughboy blanket to people watch and listen, telling my son that I'd stop embarrassing him now. And that sweet boy replied, "Mom, if I was embarrassed, I wouldn't have answered my phone."
Jack and his band travel on buses that use old vegetable oil (I think that's what it is) for fuel - kind of Back to the Future-esque. When we parked, I thought something was wrong with our car - there was this stench, somewhere between burning brakes and overheated engine. It was everywhere in the garage, and his buses were parked on one side, so a logical conclusion would be that the stench came from them. What you gain in fossil fuel savings, you lose to stink. But, big ups to Jack for using alternative fuel and for being part of the 1% thing. And he gave a "chunk" of the show's revenue to help victims of Katrina, so yes, his mom can be proud.
Did I mention the gang of fabulously coiffed lesbians? All black tanks and jeans and motorcycle wallets. Stunning. A deadhead accused me of littering. I should've educated him on the relative nature of evil à la Alice's Restaurant, but I gave him a rather gruff no! instead. He was still apologizing when I left. (I really didn't mean it to come out so harsh, but, jeez louise, do I LOOK like a litter bug?)