Friday, July 24, 2015

Crockett Park

Crockett Park looms large in The WannaBeatles legend. Our Crockett summer show is a tradition that goes back six years. 

The beautiful Eddie Arnold Amphitheater is the outdoor venue where we broke the attendance record by drawing 5,000 people. A photo of us in front of that crowd is featured on our website. 

Crocket Park is  the peak of our summer schedule, the largest and most enthusiastic crowd we play for.

Over the years, Crockett has been where we pull out all the stops, inviting dancers, jugglers, high school choirs, youth orchestras and brass sections to join us onstage. This year, as described in an earlier blog (Satchmo vs. The Fab Four, 8June2015), we invited Freddie Holt, a local trumpet player who does a Louis Armstrong tribute, to sing "Hello Dolly." That was the first song to hit number one after The Beatles occupied that spot on the American charts for fourteen weeks starting in February 1964.

The Crocket Park show is always on a Sunday, and sometimes it rains, or threatens to. This year the sky was beautiful, clear and sunny. 

A semi-artsy photo of the massive tent structure 
on the sunny afternoon

Good Yoko and I arrived early, and set up our picnic at just the right location - center, but back a bit from the front.

Good Yoko, picnic supplies, goodies in ice chest
Bloggin' Bryan and Good Yoko, photographed by ourselves

Gradually other WannaBeatles arrived, and got to work.

Dennis silhouette with mostly empty lawn 

David sets up at drum riser with sound crew also at work

Nathan setting up his keyboard

The WB's family backstage - Betty, Paul, Good Yoko
David and Nathan during sound check

In addition to Freddie Holt, we had joining us a couple of dancers from Belmont who had been among the "flash mob" that appeared with us last October for our special "Welcome Paul" show downtown. (described in the blog "Return to Rippy's" 12December2014) The dancers had arrived in a colorfully painted Love Bus, and danced in front of the Arena, while the sound of The WannaBeatles drifted from the Rippy's rooftop, and concertgoers arrived for the McCartney show.
Dancers rehearsing with Betty

Before the show, we had time to pose for some photos in the wooded area behind the amphitheater. Photographer John Bates took these, and many other great shots of our show which are published below.
Four musical guys in a line
Carrying WannaBeatle Dennis like a surfboard
Four guys looking down

WannaBeatles posing with Her Honor 
the Mayor of Brentwood
WannaBeatles behind a tree

WannaBeatles with Freddie
Meanwhile, the crowd was assembling for the big show
Then, opening the show - panaramic shot
Singing harmony
WannaBeatle David working hard
WannaBeatle Dennis smiling
Nathan and David, and a glimpse of our Yellow Sub

Rockin' out on "You Can't Do That"
Freddie Holt joins us for "Hello Dolly"

Freddie was great. Not only did he do a fine version of Hello Dolly (with Dennis simulating the banjo on his trusty MIDI equipped guitar), but he also followed up with "Wonderful World," the beautiful song that was Louis Armstrong's other major hit. 
Great crowd reaction for Freddie
Freddie on trumpet

It was a hit that night at Crockett, as audience members gathered in front of the stage, some even crying at the beauty of the lyrics and the moment. I know Freddie enjoyed it.

Sunset at the Eddie Arnold Amphitheater

Our friend Rob White took a picture of us while fans were gathered in front of the stage. 

Crowd dancing and having fun
One more view of the huge tent, 
with lighting stripes on its inner surface

It was another great time at Crockett. We appreciate the City of Brentwood for making such an enjoyable community event, and we loved having Freddie Holt and the Belmont dancers join us onstage.

Thanks John Bates for his photos, and to everyone who comes to Crockett Park for making it such a wonderful experience.

Bloggin' Bryan 24July15

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ashland City

On Friday June 26, The WannaBeatles played Summerfest in Ashland City. 

Ashland City is one of those small towns near Nashville that still feels like it's out in the country. It's fifteen miles from Nashville with a population of 4,500. 

Ashland City is the county seat of Cheatham County, so there's a courthouse downtown. 

Cheatham County Courthouse (not a summer photo)

Their Summerfest is a week-long affair held at Riverbluff Park, a couple of blocks from downtown on the Cumberland River. Right across the river is a restaurant called Riverview where we looked forward to eating dinner.

Here's their entertainment lineup for the week. We were the only band listed for Friday.

A 7:00 show meant our load in was Friday afternoon, so we anticipated traffic. WannaBeatle Dennis had suggested a 4:00 arrival, and he's usually the one who arrives first. But the traffic was so light getting up to Ashland City that WannaBeatle David, who in this case was driving the longest distance, arrived first, along with his wife Alice and their Florida friend Lisa. 

Bryan and Holly (the Good Yoko) arrived next, then Nathan in the sunny afternoon, parking our cars together right at the back of the stage - one of the most convenient load-ins ever. 

And then, by about 4:15, we had the historic moment of Dennis being the last one to arrive at the gig.

David and Nathan waiting to fuss at Dennis

We couldn't resist assuming mock irritation, as if Dennis is the one who always keeps us waiting, when the opposite is closer to the typical pattern. 

David's, Bryan's, and Nathan's vehicles 
parked in a row right behind the stage, 
for maximum convenience.

The stage was covered by a tent, which had been brought by our old friend Ed, who had furnished the same tent for us last year at a show in Clarksville. You can see another photo of Ed in the blog "Clarksville & Birmingham" 6/25/2014 from almost exactly a year ago. 

Last year, at the Clarksville Speedway, Ed had provided the stage and run the sound. This year, Ed provided the stage, but our old friend Jody Fraser was running the sound. 

Ed and his trailer in the background

Ed offered, and some of us accepted, the use of his trailer as a dressing room.

There was a storm coming into the area. The sky was taken over by clouds as we set up, and then we had to put tarps over the gear, and move some instruments temporarily into our cars. 

Jody working with tarps over the sound gear

Stage getting wet during set up

Around 5:30, with the stage wrapped in tarps, we headed across the river to dinner. This is where the blog goes the extra mile to provide the reader with "The Fuzzy Series" of photographs. Rather than boring pictures of people posing around a table, we have action shots of ketchup bottles being used, food being appreciated, and conversation continuing over dinner.

Eating at Riverview Alice, David and Dennis, 
with a closeup of Holly's hands on a ketchup bottle

Dennis & Nathan at dinner
View from our table across the Cumberland:
ferris wheel at Summerfest

It started raining while we were at dinner. We stopped in the lobby for a photo. 

Nathan, Alice, David, Lisa and Dennis waiting in lobby
The four of us with a Riverview tee shirt

We drove back over the river, the rain passed over, and we put our instruments back in position onstage as the crowd assembled.

Alice and Lisa 
Holly & local friend Joyce following

We met local friends, some who were also photographers. We met Tony, the main organizer, who had generously provided the complimentary dinner for us at Riverview Restaurant. 

Marie Pickett helped us out around the stage, and introduced us before the show, wearing her camera around her neck. 

Marie introduces The WannaBeatles

Daryell Smith, a native of Arkansas and Vietnam veteran, is a photographer and creative craftsman. He took photos during our show, and showed us his hand made pens, crafted from polished bullet shells, encased in carved deer antler. 

Daryell with his bullet/antler pen

To help you appreciate the detail of its bolt action and miniature rifle pocket clip, here's a close up view:

Daryell caught most of the evening on camera. These are some of his photos he posted on his facebook page.
A fan (and mom-to-be) at our WannaBeatles sign

The WannaBeatles horn section
 during our opener, "Magical Mystery Tour"
Handsome Dave at the drums
Nathan rocking on bass
Dennis rocking on guitar
Full group onstage
Dennis does Ed Sullivan
A side view of David at the drums (and keyboard, etc.)
Nathan really rocking, again
BC on acoustic
Dennis and Nathan sharing mic for background vocals
David and the logo on the kick drum
Nathan a little more serious
Bryan and Dennis enjoy those rhythm parts
during "Can't Buy Me Love"
Another stage shot 

We were well into our second set when it began to drizzle again. Several listeners put up umbrellas or moved to shelter in nearby tents, and we continued. But then the stage began getting wet, and we had to quit.

One final shot onstage with Marie after we played

We had fun in Ashland City. Thanks to Tony, Marie, Jody, Ed, and Daryell for helping us out and making it such an enjoyable evening.

Bloggin' Bryan 7July2015