Wednesday, November 8

Andy York gets a fresh horse, I mean guitar, at Farm Aid 2006

A kind and generous friend of my sister-in-law gave Paul and me tickets to this year's Farm Aid concert. We went expecting to be in the milling crowd on the far lawn, way in the back. Turned out we had seats in the third row! I had simply assumed we'd be too far away for any decent shots, so had not lugged along my good (big, heavy) camera. I was tearing my hair in frustration but I did my best with the little pokey Canon Sureshot that I always keep in my purse for photo emergencies. Like this one! Fortunately I had my sketchbook too and did many pages of concert croquis drawings, to the great interest of the people sitting around me. I would normally have felt self-conscious, but they were all so mellow and appreciative, it was that kind of crowd! A heck of a night all around. I was especially thrilled to lay eyes and ears on Willie Nelson and Neil Young.

Probably the hardest-performing band that night was John Mellencamp. They came blasting onto the stage and the energy did not let up the entire set. And it was a nice long set. Andy York kept switching guitars. Someone told me that he plays so hard that he plays them right out of tune in a few minutes, so the backstage guys are ready with a fresh one after practically every song. It was fun to see the roadies in action: handmaidens with beards and beer bellies. But quick! At first I did not even notice the lightning switches and then I became fascinated by the fluid and seamless nature of the exchanges.

Instrument switch accomplished

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