I left Ames bright and early (well, early) Thursday to get to the hotel and start setting up for that evening's rehearsal. I got there 2ish and started unloading. We ordered pizza and rehearsed. Things went well. I packed up what I needed for the night and Raven and I headed back into the city, dropped him off and went and crashed at Lizzie's.
First Lizzie aside … My darlin, you are so much of the reason why I got through this weekend. Thank you.
In the morning we got going, had a detour and got to the hotel in time for the 2nd rehearsal. This is where we brought in Amy and Debbie.
I was going to go crash out for a bit, but it never quite worked out. Instead Lizzie and I headed to Flat Top and got a bite to eat and then back for opening ceremonies.
I actually watched a fair amount of opening ceremonies, which is unusual for me. As usual Steven Barnes was hysterical, Eric Flint was his usual entertaining crotchety self and Tricky Pixie gave the audience a tiny inkling of what they were in store for for the weekend. Just a tiny bit.
After were S00j and Betsy, who were brilliant … brilliant. S00j, you are an inspiration to all of us. And Betsy … I have only seen you twice now. Your skill, drive and melodic sense is devastating. I feel privileged to have been in the same room with you, much less had the honor of seeing you play so many times this weekend.
And things were running late. Opening ceremonies went long, it took longer than expected to get s00j and Betsy running and then even longer to get Tomboat in motion.
Yes there were songs that were a tiny bit shambolic. Those may or may not make it onto the CD/mp3/whatever form it may be. Who cares … it friggin ROCKED !!!
We had the best audience that performers could ask for. You spurred us on and we took that energy from you and wow … talk about a massive show. Thank you everyone who played along. I want to especially thank our Special Guest Villains Amy McNally, Debbie Gates and my lady the fabulous Lizzie Crowe for getting up there with us and making some serious noise. By the time we reached Rocket Ride … I have never hit a song with such energy.
We tore down after and it got a little scary. No, it got a lot scary. I couldn't get up off the chair that managed to set myself down on and there was no one near. I texted Lizzie and, she being who she is, came running and got me back upstairs. She almost called an ambulance. I suppose that 6+ hours of drumming over a 24 hour period wasn't the smartest thing I could have done. Thank you my love for taking such good care of me.
We both crashed hard. I didn't sleep well, but got rest, which I really needed. We got breakfast in the restaurant were we were joined by the lovely Louisa and a fellow whose name I cannot remember. I've met him before, but I'm like that.
We went off to see Mary Crowell who was, as expected, marvelous. It was great to hear you play, wish I could have had a chance to chatter at you a bit.
Next up was Alexander James Adams and really, words can't do him justice. I had only seen a few songs at Strowlerfest so I had an idea of what to expect. He surpassed those expectations.
Next up were Heather Dale & Ben Deschamps. I have seen them a bunch in the last year or so and they never disappoint. There are a couple of songs that always make me choke up a little. It was fun at Strowlerfest watching Lizzie experience them for the first time. They need to get back to the midwest more often.
I missed a fair amount of Amy McNally's show, mostly because I was in the hall warming up for being part of Amy's show. Darlin … wow … There are moments where you connect as musicians and this was exceptional. We did Hides to close out her show and the give and take between us was amazing. Go take a look at the pictures Michael Pereckas took to get an idea of the energy we had. Did anyone record it?
And then the headliners. Tricky Pixie. They tore the place apart at Strowlers and this show took to even higher. The final triple hit of Tam Lin, Creature Of The Wood and Daughter Of The Glade was incredible. I think I was buzzing for the rest of the weekend on those three alone. Simply amazing.
It has been fun watching Beth Kinderman and her Player Characters develop over the last several years. Not too long ago Beth was a very uneven performer, but a 100 shows have done wonders for her. Her songwriting continues to amaze. She is one of the smartest lyricists in Filk today.
I missed the Feng Shui Ninjas. I knew that if I was going to make it to the open Filk I needed to go crash for a bit. I needed to crash and Lizzie needed to rant so we went up to the room and escaped for an hour.
Caught most of David Perry's show and he was great. He's always great. Dammit, put out a CD already
I played a few songs at the open ilk, FPN is the only one I remember at the moment. I had talked to Lizzie earlier and got her to agree with going up and crashing out at midnight. We had both had a couple of way too busy of days and needed to take care of ourselves so we could enjoy Sunday. We actually got to the room and were in bed by 12:30, followed closely by the rest of the folks in the room, Xap and Xaplings. I do have to admit that a morning of cuddling with two lovely redheads is the only way to start a day. Two mornings is even better.
We got up, packed up and ran off to get a bit of food before my one and only panel this weekend. Band vs solo. It was just Beth and I on the panel, but there was lots of help from the audience (and Heather should have just gotten up there with us, she knows a lot more than we do about this thing). It was fun to talk about the differences between performing solo and with other folks. I was a solo act for so many years and now being in not one but two bands … I much prefer the band thing.
I only saw a bit of Art Warenke's show, but man have you improved dude. And you were good before. There is this warmth and friendliness to what you do. You need to be playing more concerts.
I hadn't read the book or heard the album but Insh'Allah, The World of Lion's Blood was a very nice low key way to spend that hour.
After was the Dead Dog and I got to do a few of my songs. I dedicated the final verse of How Can I Miss You to Mary Crowell. I think that whenever she is at a con I am at that shall be the Mary Crowell Memorial Verse, in honor of the biggest laugh ever at an Eric show. Ask me about the story sometime.
I did Last Ride of The Cthuhlu Kid and apportioned the blame properly (Hey Mike, you wrote the lyric). And then finally my fingers gave in.
Lizzie, Raven and I headed out to Claim Jumpers, after finding out that Lizzie was indeed done with her responsibilities for the weekend. We had a lovely supper (although the reaction later was not that good), dropped Raven off and managed to park RIGHT IN FRONT OF LIZZIE'S APARTMENT BUILDING !!! Her Parking Fu was strong that day.
Monday morning I dropped her off at work and headed back to Iowa.
The last three weekends have been amazing. Time with my band, my family. Time with my love, also part of my family now. Time with my friends. I am home now for a month or so, which I desperately need. I will be in Chicago over New Years, but expect that it will be Lizzie and I ignoring the world, working on music and working on us being us.
I want to thank Colleen and her Xaplings for being the fun roommates they are, and Colleen for being … well … cool. Ask X2, she'll tell you (or maybe not). Gundo, Mike, Jason and Raven. This band is one of the best things to ever happen to me. The mighty Tom Smith for sharing his songs with us. We will do this again. Gundo … DAMN what a filk track. And my lovely Lizzie Crowe. You make my life wonderful.
Life could not better be. There are amazing things coming up the next year. I will write about those soon.