Outlaw Music Festival
Rooster and I went to the Outlaw Music Festival to watch Willie Nelson sing and play his guitar. We experienced a magical night of music under the stars. #Willie Nelson #Robert Plant #Alison Kraus #The Boathouse #Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center #Jamestown Revival #Outlaw Music Festival
There are certain adventures when the air is full of magic and music, which carries a special meaning to your heart.
I don’t understand the elements that combine to make one excursion more meaningful than another. It’s like the universe aligns in a special pattern to create a serendipitous sequence of events. Rooster and I were lucky enough to experience one of these unexpected excursions when we set out to attend one of the performances on The Outlaw Concert Tour.
An evening filled with enchantment
The entire evening was filled with enchantment and nostalgia. It was the sort of evening I’d like to bottle so I could recreate it at another time. It was an adventure I’d like to freeze and put under a microscope. Then I might be able to figure out how all the pieces fit together that made the night so special. The big issue about serendipity is it can’t be replicated at will. The elements need to evolve spontaneously as if whisked from a magician’s wand.
Dinner at the Boathouse
The adventure started early when we stopped for dinner at The Boathouse in Cicero, Indiana. We’d passed by this restaurant but never stopped. Rooster and I had eaten there when it was under previous management and thought the service was slow and the meal high priced and bland.
I’m glad we decided to stop this time. The first thing I noticed was the service had drastically improved. Almost as soon as we walked through the door, we were seated and handed a menu. I will admit we didn’t arrive during the dinner rush, but the wait would have been pleasant. The Boathouse has an interesting nautical atmosphere. The restaurant is located next to the water.
Reminded me of summer camp
The décor has a summer camp-like feel to it. There is even a small portal shaped window hanging on the wall with a small replica of a deep-sea diver with bubbles escaping from his derriere. The food was excellent. I prefer my fish to be moist inside with a crispy crust on the outside. The piece of white fish I enjoyed at The Boathouse couldn’t be cooked any better. Rooster like the meal he ate.
The restaurant staff made us feel at home. Rooster and I enjoyed a fantastic meal sitting by the water. My experience at the Boathouse was like a late summer escape to summer camp. It was the beginning of an evening filled with magic.
Rooster made a mistake at the Outlaw Music Festival
Rooster made a big mistake, which turned out to work to our advantage. My husband was under the impression there was only paid parking at the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center. (The venue used to be called Deer Creek Music Center, which in my opinion sounds better, but I don’t run the universe.)
He paid fifty dollars before he discovered there was free parking in another lot. We all know Rooster is cheap. It goes against his grain to pay for something he could get free. When he found out he couldn’t get a refund, it put him in a surly mood. I worried it would spoil the concert for him until we pulled into the parking lot. He realized he hadn’t wasted his money when he saw the advantage of being parked close to the gate. It meant he wouldn’t have to walk a mile to get to the music and another mile when the concert was finished.
Rooster isn’t a good walker due to a leg injury he received twenty years ago when a lady backed over him with her car while he was riding on his motorcycle.
Jamestown Revival at the Outlaw Music Festival
Music was in the air when we rounded the corner and strolled toward the lawn of the stadium. The sun was starting to set, and the temperature was moving from hot to pleasant. We opened our lawn chairs and focused on the stage. A band called Jamestown Revival was playing. We’d never heard of them before this evening, but we liked the sound they were creating. It had a sort of alternative country type vibe. I created a Pandora radio station featuring their music. I’m interested in exploring their sound.
Alison Kraus at the Outlaw Music Festival
Alison Kraus was up next. Her angelic soprano voice rang out through the Indiana countryside. She ran through her repertoire of songs without skipping a beat. The musicians, who played with her, were talented and professional. She put on a truly remarkable show as she sang one song after another, occasionally playing her fiddle. The music held the perfect touch of Bluegrass and country music to make your heart sing along with her. Rooster and I thought she put on the best show of the night. She is a talented woman.
Restroom dilemma solved
During intermission, I made a trip to the bathroom. There must have been a hundred women standing in line by the time I got there. I was sure I’d miss the entire next act by the time I used the facilities. Throughout history, the dilemma of women’s public restrooms remained unsolvable until Ruoff came up with a plan. There never seem to be enough stalls in ladies’ rooms.
The ones that exist are hoarded by the lucky few who managed to find the first open stall. Ruoff made sure there were enough individual booths to provide easy access to many women without causing a great delay. Stationed at the back rear of the long line of stalls was an employee who functioned as a traffic controller and cheerleader. She would say with a strong voice, “We have three stalls over here, ladies. Washrooms are right around the corner. Keep things moving.
You have five minutes until showtime.” It was a fantastic display of team effort. I made it through the line, used the facilities, and was amazed to find myself sitting in my lawn chair with time to spare before the show started again.
Robert Plant at the Outlaw Music Festival
Robert Plant was up next with his Sensational Space Shifters. The entire performance proved to be as memorable as I expected. Rooster was a teenager in southern California in the late sixties and early seventies. He attended music concerts every chance he got. He saw artists like Jimmy Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Credence Clearwater Revival, Led Zeppelin, and Steppenwolf.
The list of artists he saw is impressive. He claims to not remember any of it except when Robert Plant sang Stairway to Heaven. Plant’s performance at the Outlaw Music Festival wasn’t disappointing. His voice was different than what I hear when I listen to Led Zeppelin on the stereo, but there was a more mature quality to the sound. Rooster and I felt like he held back at times.
Past performances must have taken a toll on his larynx. It seemed like he pushed it to a point where he knew he had to stop or hurt his voice. We both thought the music the Sensational Space Shifters performed was amazing. They were a fantastic addition to the show. We would gladly go watch them again if they were the headliners.
Finally, we saw Willie at the Outlaw Music Festival
The entire audience waited for Willie. There isn’t another performer on the planet who can compare to this country and western music legend. He makes no secret about his love for weed. A cloud of man-made marijuana fog hung thick over the entire circumference of the outside arena.
I discovered you can’t attend a Willie Nelson concert without at least coming away with a slight contact high. He took the stage, and the audience cheered. His voice rang out strong and true, but his guitar playing sounded a little off, almost as if he was lagging behind the rest of the band. None of us in the audience cared. We all thought it was an honor to be in the presence of a legend.
Willie might be 81 but
There was one thing for certain Willie Nelson might be eighty-one years old, but he wasn’t ready to sit back in his rocking chair and let the world go about their business without having his say about things. I have a feeling Willie is going to go out singing.
There was one glaring fact that stood out in the Outlaw Music Festival. None of the performers were spring chickens. They were out there making their own brand of music on their own terms. Thousands of people flocked to the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center to watch these performers bring their songs to life. The audience crossed all generations.
The biggest party in the state happened at the stadium that night. It occurred to me there are two ways a person can age. The first option is to give up and accept the limitations nature places on you. The second option is to push hard against those limitations and do the thing you were born to do with all your heart until you take your last breath. I want to be in the company of those who rage against the dying of the light.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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