Monday, March 28, 2005

Bling-Blinging In The Big City

You haven't lived until you see a guy do an extended solo on a washboard that's been wired up for sound. Yes, the dirtysouth was alive and well in Manhattan saturday night as the North Missippi All-Stars finished up their opening set for the Black Crowes with Cody Dickson (the drummer) coming out from behind the kit to get DOWN with that washboard. He drove the crowd into a frenzy with his frenetic energy. And these New Yorkers loved him, and them. The crowd for the All-Stars on Saturday was double that the previous night. I don't even remember the name of the opening band Friday night. I just remember the guy reminded me of Jim Morrison (when he was fat, with a full beard and mustache). They were OK, but they weren't the All-Stars.

But of course the real stars of the show were the Black Crowes. And Saturday night is when they really kicked out the jams. We talked to this couple from Long Island, who had been at every show the Crowes had played at the Hammerstein Ballroom (since Tuesday) and they told us that the set list was different every night with almost no repeats. But Saturday night they busted out "Remedy" "Sting Me" "Wiser Time"
And they managed to squeaze even more people in Saturday night, then Friday night.

Just as the Crowes took the stage, we noticed Kate Hudson, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, and believe it or not P-Diddy rolling up into some lower balcony seats all together. Puff Daddy checking out the Black Crowes? Bling-Bling Baby.

This was my first time in New York so I made the pilgrimage to ground zero. There are still windows with plywood in them down there. We went down around 9 am Saturday morning.The sun was out, not a cloud in the sky. Kind of like that day, I suppose, but it was cooler. And quiet. It was quiet down there and I was glad. Everywhere else I had been there was a constant din of the city, a bustle. But not down there. We stood at the fence a while, I thought about the dust. I don't know why, that's just what I was thinking about. They cleaned up all that dust and debris. And then I just looked around and thought 'what was it like down here that day?'. What was it like?
Then we walked down to Battery Park, and we were silent for the most part. All those people gone all at once.

From Downtown we took a cab up to the Dakota, a ground zero of a different sort. I remeber Howard Cossel telling me John Lennon had been shot and killed outside his apartment. I was nine years old, but I knew who John Lennon was. I knew about the Beatles and rock and roll. We stood across the street, Central Park West. Made our way over to the "Imagine" sign in the side walk, at the entrance of "Strawberry Fields." I felt at home in New York, like I had been there before. It was all so familiar. I suppose we all grow up with images of New York surrounding us. I was glad to be there. And I know it's a cliche, but I do Love New York, and I'll be back soon.

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