Last Saturday evening was the fourth and last of our string of live music week-ends. For the third time we were in Charlotte at the Neighborhood Theatre, this time spending an evening with Railroad Earth. My daughter, her fiancee Michael and her old friend Chuck joined us, first for a wonderful dinner at Boudreaux's and then for the music. The evening was just about perfect. But the best part for me was after the show, in the parking lot.
Railroad Earth filled the main stage of the theatre nicely and opened at about a quarter to nine. Our seats were about four rows back, center. The sound was perfect as was the sightline to the stage. The dancers in front of the stage did not obscure our view. As there was no opening band, RRE played two sets. After the first my wife and I staked out a position at the foot of the stage with the dancers where we spend the remainder of the evening.
The guys came back after the break and just smoked. As it was their eighth show in nine days, I was amazed at their energy level. I was stationed underneath John Skehan, the mandolin player. From this position I was able to hear the music partially through his stage monitor - all the better to marvel at his contribution to the band's sound. I don't think I have ever heard the band any better. I sure hope a copy of the show appears on archive.org.
After the show - three encores - we said our good-byes and headed for the parking lot behind the theatre. As we turned the corner into the lot we saw a small crowd at the back of a van. Moments later we heard music and saw some guys playing away. Curious, we walked over and saw Skehan playing with folks we did not recognize. They were in a tight circle - banjo, guitar, bass, hand-held drum, and John. They were watching each other like hawks, occasionally calling out chord changes.
So here was John, after already playing for three hours, jamming after midnight in a parking lot, just for the love of making music. That, folks, is what it is all about.
After a couple of tunes we headed to our car and drove away, smiling.
On the Earthboard later I found that John was playing with the Lost Ridge Band from Boone. Tim and Andy joined in the parking lot set after we left.
Damn, what a night.