Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2017

Because Sarah had a conference in Columbus and Greg was visiting friends in Colorado, we were able to spend a day with Peter in Cincinnati.  We were fortunate that it was also Oktoberfest weekend.  We never miss Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.
We ate a quick dinner at home then drove to the Finnell Pike property to spend the night.  We inflated our air mattresses and turned in.  Since we needed to be in Cincinnati by 7:30 am, we woke early.  I was surprised to learn that I hadn’t secured the valve on my air mattress and I had been sleeping on a flat mattress with no air.
We made a quick stop at McDonalds for a biscuit breakfast and arrived to see Peter a little after 7 and Mary drove Sarah to where she was to meet her car pool by 7:30.  Peter & I stayed home and romped.  We rough-housed most of the morning then left for Oktoberfest a little before 11 where we met up with Emily & Ian.
Ian & I had beers from the Weihenstephaner tent.  Ian had a Fest Bier which is the Oktoberfest special and I had a KristallweiƟbier, the light wheat beer.  We both enjoyed our selections.  As we walked we had schnitzel sandwiches, goetta balls, Kartoffelpuffer and reuben sandwiches.  We never remember that our favorite booth for most food items is Izzy’s.  Their reuben sandwiches and Kartoffelpuffer are outstanding.  By early afternoon the crowd was larger and the music was pretty loud so we thought it may be best to leave with Peter.  He had been really good but we didn’t want to over stay his patience so we left for the playground on Ridge Avenue near Peter’s home.
He played on the ladders and slides for quite a while.  There were several children there but it wasn’t crowded.  He is a daring little guy and has no fear of climbing and sliding.
We god back to the house around 2 pm got Peter down for a nap by 2:30.  He slept for over two hours, almost until Sarah got home at 5.  Since Sarah and Peter were leaving for St. Louis by way of Indianapolis we didn’t stay so they could get on the road.
We stopped at Babe’s Barbecue in Scott County although neither of us was very hungry.  We split a cup of brisket and had a small cup of baked beans then went to Finnell Pike to sleep.

Since I secured the air valve better my air mattress held up well on Saturday night and we awoke at 5 am feeling rested and ready for a day of work.  We started working at the lagoon before 9 am clearing more brush.  I cut most of the willow trees that had overgrown the perimeter of the lagoon and Mary piled them up along the ditch for burning at a later time.  The hardest part was sawing the stumps off near ground level since the weather had heated up to near 90 degrees.  We stopped working around 3 pm when Emily stopped by for a visit.  We got our showers, made a quick stop by the Post Office and came back to Milton to get ready for the week ahead.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

50th Anniversary Concert - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Our 36th anniversary gift to each other this year was concert tickets.  We have been fans of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band nearly since their formation in 1967.  Mary has seen them in concert three times and I have seen them five times.  They put on a fun show and bridge so many musical genre from one number to the next.  They may do a straight up rock and roll song like "Baby's Got A Hold On Me" then change up to bluegrass "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", Cajun "Diggy Liggy Lo", County "Long Hard Road" and many others. 
John McEuan on banjo
They are credited with bringing an entirely new audience to bluegrass music with their 1972 album, "Will the Circle be Unbroken" that brought traditional folk, country and bluegrass musicians together with popular rock and roll acts of the time.  This concept was repeated in 1989 and 2002 with Circle II and Circle III.  In their 50 years, they had had a number of members come and go notably Jackson Browne, Bernie Leadon, Steve Martin, Bruce Kunkel and Jimmy Ibbitson.  The artists who have recorded with them is a huge list that includes some of the most recognized names in all genre of music.
NGDB front man, Jeff Hanna
This 50th Anniversary Tour, Circlin' Back, has four long time band members.   Lead guitarist, Jeff Hanna and drummer, Jimmy Fadden have been with the band for all or most of the 50 years.  John McEuen was a member near the beginning but left for a number of years before returning 15 years ago.  Keyboardist, Bob Carpenter joined 40 years ago.  The only person playing with them last night who was not a long time member was bassist Jim Photoglo who co-wrote "Fishing in the Dark" for them in the late 1980s.
John McEuan on banjo and Bob Carpenter on keyboard
The band opened with Bob Dylan's "You Aint's Goin' Nowhere" from their Circle II album which featured Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman from the Byrds.  The show continued for two solid hours of some of their favorite songs.  The only breaks in the music were to introduce members of the band.  The band looked good, sounded good and seemed to still enjoy the music.  John McEuen is such an amazing instrumentalist playing guitar, fiddle, mandolin, lap steel and banjo.  For a bunch of 70 year old guys they were pretty darn good.
They returned for an encore of a medley of Will the Circle Be Unbroken and The Band's The Weight inviting a local gospel musician to join them on stage.  
It was great seeing the band doing so well after a half century together.  We would see them again any time.  The only negatives for the show were that the sound mix wasn't the best.  There was way too much bass and featured vocals and instrumentals weren't always brought up in time. The lighting crew didn't always respond in time.  I was a little surprised at how many covers they included in the show.  Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has so many hits so it confused me why they opened with a cover of Dylan and closed with a song by The Band.  It is true that these were popular songs from Circle II album but I would have liked to have heard more music from their many albums from the past five decades.  
We will order the DVD/CD 50th Anniversary concert from PBS that was recorded at the Ryman Auditorium and included many past members and collaborators like John Prine, Jackson Browne, Vince Gill and Allison Krauss.  
Since the only way I had to take snapshots was with my telephone, I have pulled photos in from the local newspaper.