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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Day Two at Jazz Fest

I slept well and through the night. I woke at 643 so I could make an attempt to get another two weeks in the Keys next winter.  Didn’t make it. Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare. I went back to sleep until ten. After breakfast I packed my survivor bag for Day Two of Jazz Fest. I was meeting a friend of Tim’s a lady named Erica, a six foot blond as she described herself to start the list of features I would need to use to identify her in the crowd. Tim sent me a pic of her so I had the advantage. She and I had corresponded the evening before to set a plan of venues to see and when to meet. Where would be determined when we both checked in at the fairgrounds. That was a good plan. I left at 11 and figured I’d be in the Fest by 1138. When I got to the St Claude Bridge, I was delayed because it was up. I don’t know the way around, but will have to figure that out, ASAP. Once back on the road, a fifteen-minute delay, I hit a train crossing on Press St. This is horrendous as the train goes one way then the other and back again. This is even worse and there is a way around I do know, but can’t get out to take it. Finally I escape the gridlocks and find a spot immediately on Burgundy and Elysian Fields Ave. It was an easier ride since I know the roads and am finding new ways each ride. I am inside the fairgrounds at 1220. YIKES!! I missed Johnny Sansone. I went to the next event on the list, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue at the Fais Do-Do Stage. Erica and I had been in touch and she was on her way. I saw her immediately as she got near, easy peasy. In a short time, Klon, her partner arrived at decked out for sound stuff. He was the honcho for the sound system at the Festival, all twelve stages. He spent the whole day putting out fires in the sound area for all the stages. Erica had a pass for the whole Festival, She had access to the base camp on grounds that had a proper bathroom, air conditioning, water, tables and chairs, a large RV. These guys are important to the event and they are treated right. It is better than those fancy 150$ tickets concertgoers can go to at sponsor’s tents. There was even a hammock in the fenced in yard. We chatted for awhile and then his radio went off and the fireman was gone. We enjoyed the Honky Tonk and then went for lunch before the next act, Anders Osborne at the Acura Stage. The crab po’boy Erica wanted was at a vendor near the Acura Stage. I got seats at the picnic tables under tents while she got her lunch and I began on mine. After lunch we went to hear Anders Osborne. They provided a hard driving sound and a great stage show.  From there we had to go all the way across the fairgrounds to the other side to hear Tab Benoit at the Gentilly Stage. There are twice as many people today than yesterday. It’s madness. We stop at the RV and use the facilities and replenish our water supply. I hang out in the hammock for a few while Erica and Klon are chatting. We bid adieu and enter the Central Park kind of blanket mosaic in the outskirt of Gentilly Stage as we stream our way to our spot to enjoy the performance already in progress. He plays some great blues and has been in the Blues Tent in past years but draws too big a crowd for the Blues tent. Ironically we will be returning not quite back across the whole distance but almost that distance when we go to the Blues tent to hear John Hammond and then Boz Scaggs. I’ve never seen either and have wanted to see them so badly over the years. Because there is almost a forty-minute break between Benoit and Hammond, we make a quick pit stop and get to the Blues Tent to get great seats. We are in the first row with an aisle in front of us separating us from the stage seats. We can spread out and the traffic is low. Every show begins on time and ends on time, the precision is amazing. We sit and chat as Hammond is tuning his guitars. He leaves and then returns in five minutes and starts about fifteen minutes before his scheduled time and ends on his scheduled time. The stories he tells before each song is musical history going back to the mid fifties when he started. I thought I was hearing Eric Clapton sing when Hammond began. He played some of the most beautiful blues I have ever heard. This was a good pick. There was another forty-minute break. Erica headed out since she wanted to see Van Morrison and Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys. I stayed for Boz, since I’ve never seen him and I had seen Van so many times before. Boz didn’t disappoint. The crowd went crazy for his classics and for the fabulous encore. Everyone was up out of their seats halfway through the hour and twenty-minute show. I found my way back to my bike and peddled through the traffic to my car. On the way back, I ran into another train, but it passed quickly within a couple of minutes. When I got to the bridge it was just starting the lights and no cars were up there. I took the left on Poland and followed it to the bridge that took me into the Ninth Ward over a bridge that is high enough to let boats pass under. I take the second right and proceed back to St Claude. I have discovered the way around this annoying St Claude Bridge. The rest of the ride is delightful and easy and I arrive home at 815. I have to unwind with some imbibing and shucking my sweat-laden garments for more comfortable attire as I attend to dinner prep, some journaling, and then a shower before dinner. I’ll be in bed early, as I need to get up early to try for the Keys again and to rest up for Day Three and recover from Day Two.

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