Thursday, July 31, 2014


   We celebrated Fourth of July with several hundred others in Pegram, Tennessee.

Compared to downtown Nashville, which drew over 200,000 folks that night, it was a small affair.

But there was plenty of festive fun, food, patriotic spirit, and music on the lawn, so we enjoyed it.

It was a beautiful sunny day, and we were under a roof to keep us from getting too hot and sweaty. And as we arrived, we were presented with special creative gifts.

A local woodworker named David Watson took the time to make four full scale reproductions of "the white album" out of painted boards, with "THE WANNABEATLES" written in the spot where "THE BEATLES" was written on the original album cover.

David Watson presents his artwork, with David and Dennis
           Here's a closeup of the wooden album cover

In addition to this, we received from our friend Sheryl How four identical Wells Fargo pins to put on our shirts. Sheryl is one of the most committed and creative Beatles fans in the world,  having decorated her car, her walls and her body with images of and tributes to the Fab Four. 

The Wells Fargo pins she gave to us were packaged in a small white round box, decorated to look like a miniature bass drum, with "Ludwig" and "The Beatles" painstakingly rendered in authentic font in black ink. Inside each box was a small ticket commemorating the Beatles at Shea Stadium. 

                Sheryl displays her creative package

Sheryl added to our knowledge of Beatles lore as she explained that the badges that the Beatles wore on their coats during the Shea Stadium concert were given to them on their way to the stage, as they were driven by Wells Fargo security officers.

The badges were given as souvenirs of their time spent in a Wells Fargo vehicle, and partially in gratitude for the security provided by the famous company, the Beatles pinned the badges to their coats and wore them during the concert.

Since we had recently added "Shea Stadium" shirts to our wardrobe, it was appropriate that we add "Shea Stadium" badges. Thanks to Sheryl for her special creative contribution to our look.

                       Onstage with our new badges

                 WannaBeatle David with his new pin

        We had our friend Allan Waugh doing sound for us.
                Allan surveys the ramp leading to the stage

He brought his son to help out, to learn the family trade.
                Allan & his son David in the engineer's tent

Setting up - 
Allan sets up a monitor under an American flag

     Nathan with Jana, Dr. Sally's assistant, and his daughter Eliza
                      Dennis & Nate setting up
                Nathan, David, Dennis & hardware
                          Dennis in afternoon
          Nathan with the yellow submarine, for which 
we never found an appropriate location, so it went back into the van

Rockin' in Pegram...

        The boys on stage, the flag, & part of the merch table 
                   The view from onstage, with the flag
                               Rockin' onstage
                      Dennis and Nate share the mic
                                      BC onstage
                                   Dennis rockin'
The WannaBeatle bow

                                Guitar heroes
            The stage with its red, silver-white and blue trim
        BC wanders into audience at end of "Come Together"

And our audience got excited...
                           Dr. Sally dancing...
Our good friend Lucy with the limbo pole and cooperative kids

              Young dancing volunteers join us onstage
                         The crowd had a good time
                  Dennis contemplates the park regulations

We had a great time, and then...what better way to end a Fourth of July evening but...
                       Fireworks. Happy Birthday USA!

Thanks to Sheryl for the badges, Allan for great sound, and to Lucy for helping out and taking pictures.

Thanks to Pegram for having a great Fourth. See you next next year!

Bloggin Bryan 31July2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Virginia Beach

Here's the report from Day 3 of our long weekend several weeks ago.

Ah, the beach! We left Charlottesville (Day 2) Sunday morning, arriving at our hotel on a bright sunny afternoon. 
Our hotel: The Oceanfront Inn (sunglasses recommended)

We were on the beach! Here's the view from room 117.
               Note large pedal-powered vehicle on path

We had some time before sound check, so Dennis and I took a little stroll to see the sights. Only three blocks away was the famous Neptune statue.

                       Neptune statue - not quite Athena, 
                       but a pretty impressive sculpture
(Hey, there's an idea for a blockbuster action flick: Neptune vs. Athena)
             Dennis with Neptune statue in background

The beach stretches for miles, with ocean front hotels lined up along a cement path for pedestrians, cyclists and larger pedal drawn vehicles that couples and families can rent.

I can tell you that the sand was hot. And the beach crowded.

                           The ocean - up close

Our gig was a Sunday night show, part of the ongoing Beach Street Music Festival. The stage was down at 17th St., a little too far to walk. So we fought the traffic, and we won.

                   A view of the ocean from the stage

                           A view of our stage
      David's Panoramic few of the beach from the drum riser
              Our sound man sets up temporary steps, 
preparing for the possibility that our wild guitarist might wander into the audience during a solo.

During sound check we were approached by a woman with a microphone accompanied by her cameraman. It looked like a feature story team from a local television station, but it turned out to be Yesenia Perez, who hosts her own independent web based show, News With Yessi. 

Here's what it looks like on their website:
And here's a link to the brief segment she produced:
Dennis did a great job of presenting us as a newsworthy item. And Yessi did a fine interview.

After soundcheck, looking for a place to eat, we avoided the abundant pizza options and discovered a colorful little Thai restaurant. 

           We all cleaned our plates - four hungry boys.

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at Abbey Road, a local restaurant which is totally dedicated to Beatles memorabilia.

We couldn't resist going inside
                     framed Beatles poster at table
                 David at wall displaying memorabilia
                    Liverpool street sign at the bar 
                  David & Dennis at pool table 
         Menu at Abbey Road (The Yoko Ono is only 5.99)
Outside, we loved coordinating with the artwork on their wall

We had time to hang out back at the hotel before heading to the show. Some of us even took a nap, before getting dressed to leave for the show. 

As we drove the few blocks down to 17th Street, we noticed a couple dressed in fanciful clothing walking along the sidewalk, headed our direction. It turned out they were headed to the stage at 17th St. It was the man who introduced us to the crowd, along with his wife. Their festive attire was part of their portraying the fictional Mayor of Beach Street USA with his wife and their dog. It gave the evening a momentary Wizard of Oz tone.

"The Mayor of Beach Street USA" with his wife and dog
                     .....and an another view

The "Mayor of Beach Street USA" turned out to be Alfred Garr, the videographer who filmed the concert we played last August at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach. It was great to see him again, all dressed up as a fantasy politician.

Another moment right before the show, with me displaying the little monkey sticker on my guitar, that is a gift from my granddaughter Ella, (the sticker, not the guitar) - I wanted to document its presence at the gig.

                   The crowd gathers before the show

It was a fun crowd. The highlight of audience response was a young lady who danced with a hula hoop. She was just having fun in the audience, but we were so impressed with her skillful choreography that we invited her up onto the stage, where she joined us during a song.

After the show, we found a pizza joint and actually ordered some beer to go with it.

The next morning, I couldn't resist one more stroll into the ocean. It's not every day one gets this close.

                        One guy's feet in the ocean

Then it was a long drive back to Nashville, back through Richmond and down I-81 entering Tennessee east of Knoxville. Ten hours of driving.

It was a great adventure, but three days in a row is about all we can stand. 

Bloggin' Bryan 24July2014