I Heart AustinI really do, despite what my last post says. Austin is so awesome in so many ways, and last Wednesday was just another reminder of this. I went to the Hurricane Katrina benefit concert, Neighbors in Need, "thrown" together by Willie Nelson. I say "thrown" because I think they were able to get it all done in the scant space of two weeks, but as for the lineup and the execution, it was nothing less than fantastic.
We got to see Eric Johnson, Bob Schneider (my fantasy boyfriend), Patti Griffin, Jimmie Vaughan, The Flatlanders (woo hoo!), Ray Price, the Neville Brothers, and Willie Nelson. Tickets were available from $20 to $500, so even if you didn't have a whole lot of money, you weren't excluded from the show and were still able to contribute a little something for hurricane relief. The Frank Erwin Center donated all the costs of the venue (according to Clifford Antone, of the one and only Antone's, who emcee'd the event), so that all the proceeds went directly to the American Red Cross.
Can I just say, again, how much I love this town? Many of these artists are local musicians, and if they don't live here, they come through town often enough to feel local. There was just such a feeling of comfort and homey-ness--even with Willie, who despite his status as a worldwide music legend, nevertheless puts on an annual 4th of July barbeque for his local fan base. He also happens to put on enough concerts and benefits to have some people calling him Saint Willie.
There was an outpouring of affection and support for the Neville Brothers, who totally rocked the arena. If it hadn't been for the memory of the disaster in the background, it would have been like Mardi Gras in there. And then Lance Armstrong, another hometown hero, introduced Willie Nelson, who played and played, and then when he tried to wrap up his set and the fans wouldn't let him, played some more.
My friend Cristina and I had great seats, but, well, we were finally "evacuated" by b.o. You heard me right. The guy sitting next to Cristina, well...he smelled like ass. There's just no delicate way to put it. Every time he walked past us to get a snack or use the john (which he did many, many times during the evening), the stench almost choked us. At first, I couldn't believe it was emanating from this one guy, so I turned to C., whose eyes were wide and watering, and I whispered, "Does that guy smell like cola?" She nodded furiously, holding her breath. We were able to hold out midway through the performance, but we finally couldn't stand it. Stomachs rolling and lurching, we went to find our other friends who were sitting in the balcony. Where the air was clear.