In the last week of September, the WannaBeatles had two shows: one Thursday in North Carolina, the other one Friday in South Carolina. Each gig had its own atmosphere, purpose, and collection of photos, which make a good reason to divide the adventure into two separate blogs.
The first destination was Campbell University, in Lillington, NC, near the middle of the state, which meant nearly nine hours of driving. That meant that Wednesday September 28 was our travel day.
We met at Nathan’s house, our usual gathering spot, at 10:00 am, to load the trailer.
This time the U-Haul trailer said Coos Bay, which I noticed is in Oregon, which happens to be where my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters live. A long way, but a good reminder of the connection.
Heading east on I-40, we decided to stop at a mall near Knoxville to try the food court, an upgrade from the usual quick stop at MacDonald’s.
Nathan selecting lunch items
Dennis and Nathan sitting at lunch
Dennis getting popcorn after lunch
Chipotle was a very satisfying alternative.
Our destination was a hotel in Lillington, N.C. Continuing east into N.C., we drove past Asheville, Hickory, Statesville, Winston-Salem, before leaving the interstate to head south on a smaller state road.
By this time, it had started raining, and the weather report was full of tornado warnings. But we made it to Lillington without too much delay, in time to visit a sports bar next door for supper.
Nathan and David at table, Guiness in foreground
This evening - Wednesday Sept. 28 - happened to be the time when WannaBeatle David’s son Wesley would be making his prime time debut as a television actor.
For those who keep up with WannaBeatle business, Wesley Toledo (and excellent drummer, by the way, who once sat in at age 14 with The WannaBeatles on “I Saw Her Standing There” at Puckett’s in Franklin, and did a great job) recently graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, majoring in drama. He’s signed with a local agent, and has been getting calls for various television work.
His first time to appear on camera, as a minor character in an episode of CSI, happened to be aired while we were in a sports bar in Lillington, N.C.
And so we asked the bartender and waitress if we could change the channel on their large screen tv, so that we could watch the show, and celebrate with David this milestone in his life.
We had already ordered our supper when the episode came on. David knew that Wesley’s appearance would come near the middle of the show. When it occurred, David got up to point at the screen.
David points at screen
David looking at screen
Wesley on screen (in a car)
It was a brief scene, but great way to celebrate a major career step for a talented young actor, to share David’s pride and excitement at his son’s accomplishment.
The next day, we checked out, then drove to the campus of Campbell University.
The plan was to leave after the gig, and drive down to Fayetteville NC for our stay on Thursday night, so we would be closer to Friday’s destination.
Nathan unloading trailer at Fine Arts Building
Dennis on phone in band room, amidst drums
Setting up drum riser
David with school staff
Drums on riser
Bloggin’ Bryan had recently purchased custom cables to use with his guitar pedal.
Unfortunately, the new cable in the acoustic guitar coincided with a bent input jack, which caused the plug to get stuck inside the guitar.
The new cable stuck inside the Taylor
That problem got solved by replacing the pickup, a few days later at World Music Nashville, a job by our trusted friend Ed Beaver.
It was a beautiful auditorium, and the staff was very helpful.
Setting up the drum monitor
Stage ready for sound check
It was a treat to see an array of snacks in the dressing room.
Snacks on the table (before getting eaten)
We were treated to dinner in the student dining room across campus. We were transported in a large golf cart.
Riding in golf cart
And that was when we met the most amazing sight of our journey: the camel.
Meeting the camel (Dennis in front,
Nathan and David approaching from the side.)
In front of the administration building is a large bronze camel, the school mascot. It’s a massive sculpture, strong enough for people to climb all over.
We couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Admiring the camel
Nathan climbing the camel
The camel’s face
Four WannaBeatles on camel
Four WannaBeatles happy
The camel was not the only statue on campus. We also encountered a noble portrayal of the founder, Dr. Campbell.
Nathan poses at statue of Dr. Campbell
Plaque with history of Dr. Campbell
We met the music professor, Dr. Ran Whitley, and his students who were so enthusiastic our show. The conversation somehow landed on boomwhackers, which are various sized hard plastic tubes, which make sounds when struck.
The students and Dr. Whitley were so enthusiastic about them that they took me to an office where he played a recording of a concert that featured boomwhackers being played in concert, a piece he composed.
It was clear that the students enjoyed all kinds of music, and their teacher.
After the show, we drove to our hotel in Fayetteville, and discovered that we had been classified as their “guest of the day.”
This should have prepared us for the entertainment we would find in the hotel lobby the next morning.
We woke up and came to breakfast to meet an in-house singer who called herself Shelby Sunshine. She had a purple microphone to match her purple lipstick. Her spontaneity and energy inspired us to join her. We sang together, before breakfast, a bit of James Brown, just to prove we were up for it.
Shelby Sunshine posing on counter at front desk
Shelby joined the four of us for a rousing “yeah yeah yeah” that was posted on Facebook.
That was a memorable morning in Fayetteville.
Then we left for South Carolina, for our second gig of the trip, which will be covered in the next blog.
Thanks for joining us.
-Bloggin’ Bryan 29December2016