There is an all day blues festival in Baltimore at the beginning of every August (as one might gathered from the post title) and i've wanted to go for years. The problem was that i didn't have any blues-loving friends to go with me. But this year, this was the year that i was going to Hot August Blues, dagnabit, even if i had to go by myself because this year Trombone Shorty was playing.
Mayhaps you remember me falling in love with Trombone Shorty in the Spring.
Imagine my surprise and delight when Will and Jami suggested going to HAB to see him together!
I'd been to Oregon Ridge years ago to hear the symphony, but this is the first time i've attended a concert there as an adult and, believe it or not, my first all day music festival. The sound in the park is amazing; the stage is at the bottom of a hill so the sound is nicely reflected.
We staked out our seats, listened to a few bands (not that they weren't good, but i don't really remember much about them as i was kinda just biding my time for Mr. Shorty), looked at the vendors (Jami got a great hat) and indulged in crazy fair food (the corn on the cob was the best and i tried deep fried Snickers because... well, why not?)
Finally, it was Trombone Shorty time.
Even from our seats where he appeared to be about 12 inches tall, the sound was great. I love, love that he carried out his own trombone and trumpet instead of having a roadie set them up on the stage ahead of time.
Oh, did i not mention that he plays trumpet as well as trombone?
And leads the band?
I had to get closer.
[i wanted to see better, but it might have had something to do with a chatty guy who i finally realized was hitting on me (i assume people are just friendly) when i caught Will's expression of supressed laughter mixed with the do-you-need-me-to-get-rid-of-him look after he said, I'm Skid, by the way; Skid Row.]
Rude, awful people elbow their way to the front past folks who have been legitamitely standing there for hours which makes me so mad, but you can get there by being watchful and polite. It also helps when you are short so people don't mind if you slide into a hole in front of them cause they can still see.
[don't even get me started on tall people who step directly in front of others ignoring the fact thay they are blocking everyone - selfish, self-centered jerks; but i digress]
Slowly, but surely i worked my way to the front row stage right, next to the press section, affording me this unobstructed view:
Let's zoom in a bit, shall we?
Several times Shorty left the stage and came down into the grass to be closer to the crowd who ate him up like warm pecan pie.
Security had their hands full shooing people back behind the ropes as rampant dancing had broken out and folks were hopping into the open grass for more room.
Near the end of his set Warren Haynes from Gov't Mule -the last band of the night- came out and played with them. The energy was amazing and finished of what was easily the best set of the entire day.
After Trombone Shorty left the stage, Jami found me -she and Will hadn't come all the way to the front wuth me, but had kept an eye on my location to make sure i was Skid Row-free - and waited with me for him to come out to meet and greet.
People started out in a line acting like civilized human beings, but it quickly dissolved into a free for all. I didn't get to hear Jami yell at one guy for jumping line as i was too busy trying to ascertain if the older lady with glasses actually knew Shorty as she hung onto him as he talked to various people.
Once again, taking advantage of tiny openings while being patient and polite does pay off. Trombone Shorty -or my friend Troy, as i call him now- was very nice and appreciative as he signed my CD booklet and posed for pics. My camera chose that moment to have a breakdown and he didn't move away, but asked if i had my phone with me to take pics or if someone in the crowd could take a pic with their phone and mail it to me. Like i said, super nice and cool.
It will be a show to remember.