What can I say? Got really lucky as a friend won tickets for the "space available" line for 2 ACL tapings. How lucky can you get, 2 tapings in one night??? Well, you can get very lucky, I guess, because not only was it 2 tapings but one was with an all time favorite of mine, Rosanne Cash. And Brandi Carlile...talk about a doubleheader!
The thing I love about going to these tapings, and it is a rare treat, is you know the artists are going to bring their A Game, no going through the motions. It goes without saying you're watching in a very intimate setting with perfect sound.
Space available works like this: you sign up for a drawing and they choose so many names which allows you to get in line for 2 tickets based on capacity. They let in 325 and the high rollers who donate all the big bucks to KLRU automatically get in, plus the VIP's like local musicians, etc...doesn't leave much space for we common folk but there's a little! So, you go get in line and at 5pm they come out and give you a number based on your place in line. Hence, if you want to make sure you get in, you better get there well before 5pm to get a good spot in line. They let the people with guaranteed seating in starting at 7pm. At 7:40pm, they start letting in the space available people.
We were numbers 7 & 8 as I got there at 2:15pm to get in line! The guy who won the tickets couldn't get there until 4:30pm but I sure didn't mind being the one to hang for a couple of hours. The first people there (big Brandi fans) got there at 11am!!
When we got into the studio, there were hardly any seats available. The open spots were side stage, kind of where you'd be looking more or less at the backs of the artists. But, if you wanted to stand, the entire front of the stage was wide open! I opted for that and stood right in front of the center mic! Seriously, sometimes you just have to pinch yourself to make sure these cool things are really happening!
Rosanne came on first and had a full band, including her husband John Leventhal, on lead guitar. This guy, I completely love. What a player! Not to mention, as a producer, he's delivered the best Shawn Colvin records and for my money, done the same for Rosanne, starting with her 2003 gem, "Rules of Travel."
They performed for about an hour, mostly from her most recent release, "The List." If you're reading this blog you already know the idea behind the record. I can't tell you how cool it was to be standing about 6 feet away, right in front of her, and hear these songs. She did 3 or so from "Black Cadillac" and also played "The Wheel," about the only old song she did, I think. It was fantastic.
Took about 45 minutes to get the stage ready for Brandi Carlile. I have to say, I've seen Brandi only twice before and it's been several years. Anyway, I liked her songs and of course, she has a very big voice. But, as far as seeing her live goes, I was sort of indifferent and hadn't bothered to go see her when she'd played Austin the last few years. Not after this taping! Oh my God, she blew the roof off! Really tore that stage up! She has grown into quite the performer and put together a very tight show. From the opening bell when she and her band walked out, gathered around 1 mic and did "Oh Dear" with only a ukelele for accompaniment, I think everybody in the place was mesmerized. We remained that way for the next hour. Suffice to say, I am now a big fan of hers. I can't say enough about her band, either. Tremendous. And fun to watch. Especially the new drummer. Wait until you see this set. Also, for a couple of songs, she had a string quartet. It was a killer hour! Besides her own great material (this girl is a writer!) she did Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison" which, kid you not, had the place up for grabs! It was cool too, she started with "Jackson" but morphed into "Folsom" and did the entire song. Oh, and did I mention she brought out Amy Ray to play and sing on one song? It was fabulous! Amy was having a great time!
So, I came home and was so wound up it took a couple of hours to ease down enough to go to sleep. You know you've had a banner night when that happens. I'm already waiting for October so I can experience it all over again!