Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May Is The Coolest Month

I’ve not exactly been verbose in The Tim and Bob Show blog department in 2010. As a matter of fact, I went from reporting after every gig for the last few years to reporting after every month, and then I wrote only one blog entry after the end of January. Things have been relatively slow for us, and that’s a fact. Last year we played 65 gigs, and 2010 doesn’t look like it’s going to come anywhere near that mark – but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t still exciting for the band. For example, consider the fact that two of our greatest weekends ever occurred in May.

We opened the month with Woofstock 2010. We had been planning for this event for a long time. Everyone was involved in promoting it and, for a change, I was the member that turned out to be the busiest. Since I was selected to represent the band on the board of Pet Pals of Texas, the success of Woofstock had become my biggest focus. This all-day music event was held at John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes, one of the iconic music venues in the state, immortalized by Willie Nelson – who performed there many, many times over the years. As the native Texan in the band, playing at Floore’s was a very exciting prospect for me. Pet Pals scheduled eight musical acts to perform. In addition to The Tim and Bob Show, Floore’s indoor stage featured The Vinyl 45s, Clayton Gardner, and Los Dos Estebans Con Queso. The outdoor stage hosted The SA Blue Cats, The Lavens, The Do Gooders Band, and the irrepressible force of nature known as Sara Hickman.

Alternating between the two stages allowed us to provide NINE HOURS of continuous music. Mary Lou and I were there when the doors opened, and we helped the Pet Pals crew set up and get organized. I did a couple of interviews for local media, and made sure the various acts found their stages. Steve and Kathy represented the band in the church choir in the morning, but showed up in time to watch a few acts prior to our performance at 6 o’clock. All of us had an opportunity to enjoy Floore’s great food, but I stayed away from the beer until our gig was finished. Although all four of us were wiped out at the end of our set, we found ourselves shouting and waving arms and cheering Sara Hickman’s “star set.” What a great writer/guitarist/singer she is, and what a charming, witty, and warm person she is to meet. The state government did well when they named her Texas State Musician for 2010.

By the end of the evening, we were comforted by the fact that Vicki and the Pet Pals folks were happy, the folks who bought tickets were happy, and Floore’s staff and management were happy. A special thanks goes out to all the volunteers who made this happen – with a shout out for the young people from San Antonio’s Hard Rock CafĂ©. They showed a limitless capacity for hard work and good humor.

It’s hard to top an event like Woofstock 2010, but the weekend of May 22-23 will be equally memorable for the band. It all started last August, while The Tim and Bob Show were performing our Artist-in-Residence duties at the Southwest Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute in Oklahoma, Steve and Kathy became reacquainted with Lee and Joan Stringer, former members of the San Antonio church, who had moved to Huntsville, TX about five years ago. The Stringers found a small UU fellowship there, but it wasn’t long before they began to dream of worshipping in a new church that they and their friends could build and then enjoy. By August, 2009, they had only four walls, a roof, and a dirt floor. We told them that when they were ready, we’d be glad to come to Huntsville for a fundraiser and to attend services in their new church building. After several attempts to coordinate everyone’s calendars, a three-hour concert was scheduled for Saturday, May 22. The only people in Huntsville who had ever heard us were the Stringers, so my biggest concern was that we might get a Peggy Lee Reaction from the Huntsville audience – “Is That All There Is?

As it turned out, we didn’t slip into town unknown. The Huntsville Item and The Houstonian [Sam Houston State's school paper] featured two full stories about us and the impending concert, and there was a third entry in their “Best Bet” entertainment column. The photograph that we suggested Lee and Joan use was featured in both articles. If we were surprised by this when we arrived at the Stringers, we were to be stunned by the enthusiasm of the audience at the event, not to mention the warmth of the welcome we received from the church community. Our concert consisted of 42 songs, and each of them was followed by prolonged applause. They sang along, tapped their feet, reacted with joy to the “fun stuff,” reacted thoughtfully to the quieter stuff, and hugged us all when we finished.

Once the music stopped, I was to discover that two of the attendees were Huntsville’s mayor and first lady. Other folks came from as far away as 40 miles, and – best of all – many were non-church members who might have found a new place to worship. By the time we got back to the Stringers and helped them dispose of some wine and snacks, we were all ready for a good night’s sleep. Four hours in a rental van followed by a three-hour concert will do that to you.

Prior to coming down, we had talked to Huntsville’s minister and volunteered our help for his Sunday service. We sent him our list of songs, included the words to our original titles, and told him that we often perform for Sunday services at San Antonio’s First UU Church. We expected to be asked to sing three songs and perhaps play some soft music during moments of reflection. As it turned out, The Tim and Bob Show pretty much WERE the service. By the time the chalice was extinguished and the floor was being cleared for the pot-luck lunch, we had performed another 11 songs.

Once again we were thrilled with the open friendliness and acceptance of the congregation. I know there must be some grouchy, rude people in Huntsville, but we didn’t meet anyone like that the entire weekend. By the time we left the newly minted Thoreau Woods UU Church, we not only had made several new friends, we’d all found our “church away from home.” On the four-plus hour drive back to San Antonio, we kept recalling great moments from the weekend’s performances. It really is good to be in a rock ‘n roll band.