Friday, February 4, 2011

Round Two


Thursday, February 3, 2011, 11:00 a.m., kitchen table.  Andre and I both sit here at our laptops, easing into the day. Jay is upstairs reading, Kim still asleep, while Lionel and Dexter lounge in their living room beds, talking about the day ahead.

Again, we have to be at Club 152 for check in by 4:40, even though they aren’t scheduled to go on until 9:40. Today’s rehearsal is set for noon, and this will be the first one with Ricardo in a couple of weeks. Ricardo and his friend are staying one block over in the guest room of Barbara, a generous friend of Heidi’s, so logistics remain simple.

Willie Panker is in town, playing with the New Orleans band, Lil’ Red and Big Bad. I didn’t see him last night, but we got to chat on the phone for a while. With all that’s been going on, I had completely forgotten my good friend is here. Their set is at the New Daisy at 7:55 tonight, so I should have time to head over there.

Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin arrives tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see him. He plays both Friday and Saturday nights, and with all the others in town, well the choices are overwhelming: Trampled Under Foot, John Nemeth, Shawn Starski, Bob, etc. Fortunately the schedules for them are somewhat staggered, so I might be able to get to all.

2:20 p.m., at the table again. Ricardo is here and the guys are rehearsing. It’s nice to have Ricardo back. I have a chicken in the oven, rice already cooked, veggies ready to go, and getting ready to peel apples for frying. It smells good in here.

Tonight we find out if they advance to the semifinals, but based on last night, that seems a foregone conclusion. There are ten bands, and four will advance tonight; the LYB seemed to be the venue favorite last night, if I know how to read a crowd. And I know how to read a crowd. It will be the same ten bands tonight, but with a different set schedule.

For those new to this competition, this year there are eleven venues, ten bands per venue. After tonight, four from each venue will advance to tomorrow night’s (Friday) semifinals. Forty-four bands. Out of those, eight will go to the Saturday finals. The band finals begin at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, and conclude around 6:30, giving all participants plenty of opportunities to sit in on any of the myriad professional jams later that night, a fitting conclusion to one of the Blues world’s biggest weeks. Bob’s jam begins at 10:00 p.m. at the Rum Boogie, and my understanding is that his is the most coveted. We’ll be there.

4:35 p.m., alone in the house, sitting at the table. The guys wrapped up rehearsal at 3:30, at which time I told them, “You’re walking out the door at 4:15 for registration.” At about 3:55, Lionel walked out the door, I thought to get something from the van. When I announced, “Leaving in fifteen minutes.” Kim says, “Lionel’s not here.” Apparently he decided to take a quick jog around the neighborhood for some exercise. We, of course, didn’t know this. As 4:15 comes and goes, Kim suggests Jay drive them down in his car (Lionel had the keys to the van), meet up with Ricardo, and check in without Lionel. So off they went at about 4:22 (still enough time, but getting a little close). At 4:27 Lionel comes running in the door, and I said, “They left in Jay’s car.” He said, “Good. I just got handcuffed.” Heidi yelled, “WHAT?!?” I only received the condensed version as Ricardo was just leaving as well, and picked Lionel up. All I got was that he was jogging around the block and a police car stopped him, handcuffed him, and roughed him up a “little bit.” Then he and Heidi got in Ricardo’s car toward Beale Street. They should be back within an hour or so for dinner, and I’ll get the detailed version then.

I just received this email from David Morgenstern: “Honey, If I had known Ricardo's flight had gotten canceled, I would have driven to his house and said "get in!" He would have been there by now. As an old truck driver, 20 hrs straight is nothing for me. He could have just slept.” David

Thanks for the offer, Dave. Fortunately it all worked out. Well, except for Lionel’s run in with some undercover cops. Three cars, no less. Because he was, in his words, “Jogging while black.” Unfortunately, that seems to be the case.

We’ve just had a nice dinner, all together around the table including Rose, Ricardo’s girlfriend. Rose and Ricardo were witness to Lionel’s ordeal, and before dinner, the three of them relayed the story a number of times, attempting to purge this ugly incident before heading back to Beale Street for great Blues.

Please forgive my selfishness, but we need to leave in about an hour, and I’d rather not spend that hour focussed on The Incident. I promise to detail The Incident when we get back tonight. After I deliver the news about advancing to the semifinals. And a couple of hours listening to some healing Blues. We all need it right now. Particularly Lionel.

10:55 p.m., back at the house, back at the table. It will be some time before we find out who advances to the semifinals, but once again, the LYB stole the room. There were a couple of technical difficulties, some hot mics during “Bring it on Home,” but they still owned the night. Off to bed.

Friday, February 4, 2011, 9:45 a.m., at the table with Heidi. The LYB made the semifinals, and we are at the New Daisy for a 7:20 set, the second to last act. The final act goes on at 8:00 p.m., so I imagine we’ll know by 10:00 or so, who is advancing to the finals. Another Kind of Magik, the kids out of Cheyenne, are also advancing to the semis, as are Big Jim Adam and John Stillwagon.

Heidi and I are the only ones up right now. Jay is awake, but in bed reading. It’s going to be another long day, with a long rehearsal in there somewhere.

Ok, back to The Incident. Lionel was jogging down the street, and just as he passed the house in which Rose and Ricardo are staying, he heard a female voice command him to stop running. He stopped running. The car was unmarked, and the female officer’s male partner got out of the car. Both of them were in street clothes. They asked Lionel questions regarding what he was running from. Lionel said he was running to, not from. They told him to put his hands on the car, kicked his legs apart and handcuffed him. They then told him to sit on the curb, a difficult task when handcuffed. He sat down, and momentarily fell backwards on his arms. Just about as he righted himself, Ricardo walked out the door, saw what was happening, and asked, “What in the hell is going on? He’s a musician!” By this time, not one, but TWO more unmarked cars had shown up, and they told Ricardo to “go away.” Rose then came out and spoke with the female officer, explaining who Lionel is, why he’s here, etc. They finally un-cuffed and released him. That’s still a fairly condensed version, but that’s it in a nutshell. Fortunately Ricardo was late again. Had he and Rose left when they’d planned, five minutes earlier, well, Lionel had no i.d. on him, no phone, so who knows what might have happened.

Now on to the pleasant. We’re having a relaxing day, chatting, eating, and not thinking about tonight too much. Seven down, two to go.

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