Thursday, October 20, 2011
Central Texas Wildfire Fund
Oh man, I'm a little late on the posting about this, but as often happens when I get overwhelmed and tired, the blogging has taken a hit.
It wasn't actually that stressful of a weekend, but after two weeks on the road it only took a little jaunt up to Oklahoma and back to wear us out. And when we got home, it was time to get ready for the big Fire Relief Concert.
As you probably know, Texas is in the middle of a gigantic drought. And at the end of the hottest summer on record, every last bush, tree and bit of ground cover was dried out. Which is why we had a series of devastating fires all around the state. The biggest one happened just down the road from us in Bastrop. Thousands of families lost everything to the fires.
It was and remains to be a truly heartbreaking situation.
So Ray and Eric Johnson hatched a plan to throw a benefit concert to raise money for the fire victims. And they got all these amazing Texas artists to sign on -- Shawn Colvin and Randy Rogers and Joe Satriani and Christopher Cross (Sailing! Hello!) and the Texas Tornados and Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson and George Strait and the reunited Dixie Chicks -- it became this huge show. So they had to get a huge place to hold it. So they got the Erwin Center.
And then they sold out the Erwin Center.
And Monday night Asleep at the Wheel got to play the Erwin Center and back up Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson, and watch all those other acts -- it was really incredible. I mean, I saw Christopher Cross sing "Sailing." I saw John Michael Whitby play with Randy Rogers. He used to play piano with us and now he plays key for Randy (and George Straight) AND he sings backup, AND he sounds really good. I got to watch the Dixie Chicks twice; once at soundcheck and once during the show. (I didn't have the balls to even take a picture. They're badassedness provoked a super respectful anti-paparazzi thing in me,) I knew they were good but I was unprepared for how blown away I was by them. I actually got to see George Strait live. No one can deny the power of George Strait.
It was a very good night.
It was definitely the largest crowd I've ever played for. I didn't do an official head count, but I heard there were 17,000 people. Hearing a crowd like that let loose is an intense experience. Dave describes it as akin to the sound of an airplane flying all around your head. That's a very apt description. It's strange to think that for act like George Strait and the Dixie Chicks, a gig like that is run-of-the-mill. Can one get inured to that kind of giddy energy? I may never know, but being in the middle of all those people was a real mind blower.
In the end, it was an awesome night, and one that I felt lucky as well as proud to be a part of. What a fun way to help out. And even though this blog post does not coincide with the event the way I wanted it to, I want you to know that you can still help out. You can donate to the Central Texas Wildfire Fund or you can text FIRE to 84465 to donate $10 in the easiest peasiest way possible. Because we're all usually pretty lucky. But sometimes fate takes a swipe at people and for no reason, and suddenly everything they have is lost. If we as a community can come to together and pick them up and help them out and sings songs to encourage people to help them some more -- well that's nothing but a good thing.