Good Friends, Good Food, and Good Music

Marie and I could easily get used to a social and entertainment schedule like we’ve experienced in August. You might have read about the enjoyable time we had a couple weeks ago with Michael and Jo Ann P., when the three of us surprised the daylights out of Marie (see Michael’s guest weblog, A Magical Weekend, from 8-11-08). Well, as it turned out, Marie and I weren’t done living the good life. Read on to learn more…

Good Friends, Good Food, and Good Music

By Rusty Goe

There aren’t a whole lot of entertainers that can motivate Marie and me out of a comfortable Saturday night at home. We’ve experienced our share of concerts and other live performances in our younger years. Now, with our busy schedules, it’s often more trouble than it’s worth for us to get off work, do a fast change of clothing, take care of our three precious little puppies, and stay out until midnight or later. Only to be worn out and sleepy-eyed the next day: which happens to be our only day off of the week (Sunday).

This is why we’ve become very selective when it comes to planning our leisure activities. Through the end of 2007, while working on my last two books and taking care of a full list of clients over the past seven years, there’s been little time for us to enjoy the nightlife. As the calendar turned into 2008, I thought Marie deserved some paybacks for all of her hard work and support as we published books, ran a national coin club, monitored a website, and managed a thriving retail-wholesale rare coin business. Music concerts and nice dinners at first-class restaurants seemed like suitable rewards (for starters).

Marie loves all sorts of music, but over the years, she has cherished the work of three artists, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Skaggs, and Taj Mahal. Who could have predicted that all three of them would appear in our area at different times during 2008? I must admit, it required much effort—especially since I wanted each concert to be a surprise—to plan three concerts over a period of eight months. Yet those of you who faithfully read Southgate’s weblogs know that we made it to each one. Moreover, the third concert—Boz Skaggs—topped them all, thanks to the participation of friends Michael and Jo Ann.

With these three concerts entered into our scrapbook of memories, I thought our 2008 entertainment schedule had concluded—at least as far as the Ticketmaster-type was concerned.

Looking forward to real Swiss cuisine

Then, out of nowhere, I received an email from my favorite Swiss friend, Otto. He invited Marie and me to join him and his wife Christine for a Sheryl Crow concert scheduled for Saturday August 23 at South Lake Tahoe’s Harvey’s Casino. In addition, since he knew that Marie and I delight in his introducing us to the finer tastes of Swiss cuisine, he suggested we dine at Tahoe’s Swiss Chalet restaurant before the concert. I quickly informed Marie that our live entertainment season had been extended; at least through the fourth weekend in August.

Swiss dinner is served

Our dinner was as gratifying as we had expected, even if Marie and I couldn’t pronounce the main course served to us!

Then, a talkative cabbie raced us through traffic and delivered us right in front of the entrance to Harvey’s Outdoor Arena just in time to hear the first opening act called Toots.

Next came James Blunt, of “You’re Beautiful,” fame. We all agreed that the diminutive British pop star is a ball of energy. As he performed through an entertaining mix from his songbook, he ran from one end of the stage to the other, jumped on top of the upright piano, hopped from the top of one big speaker to another, and even raced around out in the crowd as he shook hands with people in the aisles.

Waiting for the music to begin

Finally, at 9:00 o’clock, Sheryl Crow appeared on stage, and for the next two hours totally captivated the huge outdoor crowd. She sang all of her bestselling songs, added in a few from her new cd, “Detours,” and even covered tunes by the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Ms. Crow doesn’t hesitate to voice her political opinions while performing, and at one point encouraged us all to get more “pissed off” that gasoline is so expensive, even though Exxon reported record profits over the past year. Marie and I had never seen her live, and were grateful for the experience. Sheryl Crow is sensational.

 The night skies and the outdoor temperature were perfect; though Marie and Christine did dawn light sweaters later in the evening. The setting, the ambiance, the powerful music were exhilarating. Yet, as must happen with all good things, it all ended as we dropped Otto and Christine off at their home, and headed toward ours.

After arriving home at a little past midnight, we both agreed that it had been well worth it, even if our three puppies barked, whined, and squealed in protest because they’d spent another Saturday night without us.

I think this officially closes Marie’s and my big-musical-event season. We’ve got all kinds of things coming up at the store as fall approaches, and then we’ll shift into our busy holiday shopping period. If I had told Marie at the beginning of the year that by the end of August we would have attended four major concerts, she would have rolled her eyes. But we did it. The memories are ours to keep forever.

A night of music to remember

It might not seem like much to some of you, especially those of you who are always on the go, but it’s a lot to us. I know we’ve got many years ahead of us, and God willing, we’ll experience many more memorable times, especially with good friends, sharing good food, and maybe (no, definitely) some good music added in to liven things up.

Until next time,