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  • Three Days of the Fish: Part III

    by lobo91 ( 63 Comments › )
    Filed under Music, Open thread, Uncategorized at September 28th, 2017 - 11:00 pm

    After making it back to my motel room from the MIM concert, I found out that it had the worst Wi-Fi in the western hemisphere, and about the second-worst TV, so I ended up going to bed early.

    I got up bright and early on Sunday, with the idea of beating the traffic going north on I-17 to Flagstaff. Didn’t really go as planned, but it’s not that long of a drive, anyway. It’s pretty much all uphill, though. About a 4,000 increase in elevation over the 147 mile trip.

    Anyway, after a fairly uneventful drive, I stopped in town and got gas, ate lunch (in the process, locating the second-worst Wi-Fi in the western hemisphere), and visited the local Sportsman’s Warehouse while killing time before I was able to check in at the campground where I was going to spend the night.

    Yes, that’s right…I camped out. In Flagstaff. In late September.

    There actually was a reason for it, though. Both the campground and the Pepsi Ampitheater are located within Fort Tuthill County Park, just south of town. Camping there meant that I had less than a 10 minute walk to the show. Plus, it was a lot cheaper than getting a room in town. Not sure why Flagstaff is so expensive.

    Once the check-in time came around, I found my spot, set up my tent and the rest of my gear, including my trusty Military Sleep System (MSS) bag . It’s supposed to be rated for -30, so I figured I’d be fine in the expected 29 degree overnight temperatures. As I was making myself some dinner an hour or so before the show, I heard the unmistakable sound of Samantha’s voice (and guitar) in the distance, as they did a sound check. I was definitely at the right place.

    About 5:30, I wandered over toward the venue. The vast majority of the tickets sold were general admission (meaning lawn), with maybe 250 or so actual reserved seats. Much like the arrangement in Albuquerque, there was a huge open space between the seats and the stage, though. I had a feeling that this was where most of the people who had “lawn” tickets would end up, sooner or later.

    After I finished scoping out the territory, I got an overpriced beer and camped out in an empty seat to wait for the show to begin. This one was going to be interesting, because I was fairly certain that almost no one knew who Samantha was, and didn’t even realize that there was an opening act scheduled. Her name didn’t appear on the tickets, the advertising, or even the venue’s website. I only knew about it because it was on her website. About 95% of the audience was there to see JJ Grey & Mofro . It was billed as an all-ages show:

    Finally, 6:00 came around, and Sam took the stage. Aside from the half-dozen or so of us who were down in front, hardly anyone in the audience even looked up from their smartphones, at first. I had staked out a spot about 10 feet to her left, once again, so I was happy, at least.

    And then they began to play.

    Just like the alpaca dancers Friday night, the Flagstaff crowd went into prairie dog mode, and began looking up from their phones. By the time they started to play the third song of the set, a cover of Ted Taylor’s 1964 single “Somebody’s Always Trying,” the area in front of the stage was just about packed. Once Sam got to the extended solo in the middle, they were hooked!


    Unfortunately, since she was the opening act, Sam’s set was abbreviated that night, about 45 minutes total. Once again, she finished with “Crow Jane,” and once again, she brought down the house.

    And with that, it was time to make my way up toward the merchandise table, where I knew Sam would appear momentarily.

    I had much better luck this time than in Phoenix. Instead of 100 people in line ahead of me, there were maybe four or five. When it was my turn to meet her, I had her autograph a poster for me (which, for some reason, WordPress won’t let me upload). I mentioned that this was my third show in a row, which seemed to surprise her. She said that they were driving back to Albuquerque in the morning in order to catch a flight home to New Orleans, which she was clearly looking forward to. I then asked her if she’d mind having a picture taken with me, to which she graciously agreed:

    After that, we said our goodbyes, and she returned to greeting the increasing line of fans. I ended up sticking around for most of JJ Grey’s set. He’s definitely a talented musician and singer, and the band is tight, but it just didn’t appeal to me for some reason:


    On a side note, when did Chris Christie change careers? I could have sworn that was him on drums! 🙂

    Anyway, by the time their set was over, it was getting downright cold out, and I made my way back to the campground, where I burrowed my way into my sleeping bag. I can’t speak to -30, but it definitely kept me warm in the 28 or so that it got down to that night. Definitely a good purchase. In the morning, all that was left was to make breakfast, pack up, and head back home, about 270 miles from there.

    Conclusion: All things considered, it was a great weekend. No real problems, aside from a few minor annoyances (parking, Wi-Fi). I got to see three great performances by a really amazing young artist in three totally different settings, and eventually got to spend a few moments with her. My impression of Samantha basically tracks with what I’ve read in dozens of comments on various websites, which is that she’s a true professional on stage, and a real sweetheart in person. Musically, she gets better with each new album/tour. Her latest album, Belle of the West, is scheduled for release on November 3rd, after which she’s going to embark on her first European tour. She still has a handful of dates scheduled on the East Coast before then, though, so if she’s going to be anywhere nearby, I highly recommend making the trip. You won’t regret it!






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