I enjoyed all of the music I heard at the Kate Wolf Festival, but I enjoyed John Prine the most. Six of the first seven songs he did came from his first two albums, and those are my favorites. All along, Prine had the top billing, so it was only appropriate that he would play last, starting at nine o’clock, on the third and final day of the festival.
Annie and I were there in the Bowl, an hour and a half before he started his set, so we had time to spare. We had just come from Poor Man’s Whiskey, who combined with the Brothers Comatose, to play a lively set over at the Arlo Stage. Having figured out the best vantage point to hear the music, was on the gently sloping hillside, behind the rest of the audience, we had enjoyed the show immensely.
But now it was time for the main act. Annie had her dinner with her, chicken cooked in white wine and lemon thyme, with a side dish of braised cabbage with pieces of bacon and onions, on a bed of brown rice. I know what her dinner consisted of, because I cooked it up, earlier in the afternoon, and had eaten mine before we left the house. Annie had to work on Sunday, so at least she did not have to come home and cook, and she was nice enough to tell me that she loved her dinner!
When we first got to the site of the Prine music, we found a couple of vacant chairs and plopped ourselves down in them, since the owners were off and about. The rule at the festival, all weekend long, was that folks could set their stuff out, and come and go as they pleased, so long as they understood that the empty chairs were fair game for anyone who wanted them. If you were sitting in someone else’s chairs, when they returned, you just had to be willing to give them up.
As the time for music grew closer, we decided to look for a more desirable spot, where we could spread out our little quilt, and take a seat. The spot that we eventually selected, worked for a while, but eventually the people in the immediate vicinity, drove us away, because they seemed to forget that there was music playing. I thought it funny that people who came to a music festival, found so many other diversions, in which to engage, that the music seemed forgotten. So we moved.
I had also made the command decision, not long after we had spread out the quilt, that I would rather see the concert, while sitting upright in a chair, which was inconveniently residing out in the truck. Having plenty of time, Annie graciously accompanied me out to get a chair, which was a good thing, because I was sure that I would never be able to stay comfortably sitting on the ground. My plan was to sit until I couldn’t, get up and stand for a few minutes, and then repeat the process. It’s funny what a sixty-year-old youngster can and can’t do anymore. And sitting on the ground, even for as exciting a venue as a John Prine concert, comes under the category of things I can no longer do. You win a few and you lose a few.
Casey and Amber had also relocated, but Courtney, her daughter, Ry, and Annie and I stayed together. One thing that happened though, in the confusion, was that Amber’s very expensive and very dear hula-hoop got left behind, and we didn’t discover that fact until the next day. Fortunately, a couple of phone calls were all that was needed to put things to right, the following week, so it was all good.
John Prine’s music was very intense and very special. The first time I ever heard his music was 1972, while overseas in Korea. That’s forty-one years of enjoying his music, before I got to see him live. So I associate much of his music with a period of my life, in which things were pretty topsy-turvy. I got chills listening to all of the old songs, and goose bumps to boot. Afterwards, I heard many people voicing the opinion that his show was terrific, and I couldn’t agree more.
As far as I was concerned, Prine time was prime-time and appropriately topped off the three days of fun and music.