WINTER DANCE PARTY in CLOVIS, NM 2009
Hmm…never seen that before in an airport! Does it mean it’s been raining in Lubbock? At any rate, we board our plane and off we go.
Off we go towards Clovis and wind our way thru the cow aroma smells of Muelshoe, TX, ending up at Jalisco’s in Clovis for some great local mexican food and are greeted very warmly by the staff and servers. We also see our show poster up there, very cool. The salsa is fantastically spicy. We are all breathing fire. Our sound man Jamie “Peaches” Gelsamino has driven all the way from Modesto, CA to ensure the best possible sound for the audience. Jamie loves chain food and declines our offer to chow at Jaliscos and winds up at a “Red Lobster” instead.
After a long day of travel we’re all ready for some shut eye at the La Quinta Inn on Prince where again we are treated like royalty. Nice folk in Clovis.
SATURDAY SEPT 5th, 2009
Jamie, Marshall auditorium personnel and some Clovis volunteers help Jamie unload and set up his sound system and gear. I help test our new pre show video and it looks and sound great on the big screen. Rest of the WDP crew arrives a few hours later and we all do a great sound check. Marshall Auditorium has a great natural wooden sounding echo/delay that makes for a great 1950’s vibe and feel. Many local Clovis residents including Marshall staff tell me they are perplexed by the music festival not using this facility this year. Instead, the festival chose an “event center” that is largely for rodeos replete with metal seats with no backs, dirt flooring, trains that go by every half hour and is sonically not conducive to live concerts. Not sure what the thinking here was, perhaps because it holds more seating but as one resident told me any event there would be lucky to get one quarter capacity filled at this large and vacuous venue. At any rate, we are thrilled to have the Marshall Auditorium. These kind of auditoriums are a dying breed in the U.S. but make for great concerts.
We leave our fun and uneventful sound check and Ray Anthony and I decide to drop by Joe’s Boot Shop to say hello and look over their goods. Joe’s handled our local ticket sales and are as friendly and as helpful as can be. Ray was really into the flashy belts.
The folk at Joe’s Boots were great and it’s a great store. If you ever get to Clovis make sure you drop on by. They even have a little wooden roping calf area for young’uns to practice their roping skills on!
Okay, it was time for a quick rest then on to the show! We arrive at about 6:45pm and get ready to rock and roll. Some nice hot rods out front courtesy of Carl and Donna. Nice crowd turnout considering it’s labor day weekend and college football weekend opener plus the sad state of the econAdd Imageomy right now. It’s not our usual packed to the rafters crowd but nice and enthusiastic indeed. The Clovis News Journal also neglected to cover our event but it doesn’t matter. The folks are here and we’re all ready to rock and roll. The show starts off with a bang as brother George “Guitar Geo” Mueller cranks out a lighting fast instrumental. It is super charged and the band is on fire!
Jay, Ray and I do our thing and get the crowd revved up into overdrive. For the second set we decide to toss into the mix, Billy Grammer’s “Feel Like I Gotta Travel On” which of course Buddy opened with on the original Winter Dance Party tour. We also do “Moondreams,” a song we’ve done before with an orchestra but never with just the WDP band and it comes off very well.
Mike “El Capitan” Acosta plays a nice flute part throughout in place of the strings and it works nicely. Much fun. We close the show with our new version of “Hey, Buddy” with Bopper and Ritchie verses in honor of the 50th anniversary of the WDP. It gets somewhat emotional and we do an encore next. We then sign and greet fans after show for awhile.
Sept 6th, 2009
Back sunday morning to Lubbock airport for our trip back home and I am greeted by ace Fox TV news reporter Lindsey Ashcraft. Boy, am I groggy and tired! Where’s the coffee and donuts?? Anyway, Lindsey interviews me right in front of the airport terminal and I even sing a bit of “Everyday” right in the parking lot! She put together a very nice piece you can see here: http://www.myfoxlubbock.com/dpp/news/local/090609lindsey
It sure was great to see our old friends at the show including Gary and Ramona Tollet not to mention some fans of ours that drove all the way from Peoria, Il. Our fans and the Clovis community were great despite our non involvement with the music festival this year. We sure hope the festival learned from choosing an event center not conducive to concerts over Marshall Auditorium. Perhaps Buddy said it best, “I should have reconsidered all those things I said I’d do, so now I’m changing all those changes that I made when I left you.”
Photos courtesy of BWalley photography. For more shots go to otb-photography.com