The affluent uptown district of Atlanta known as Buckhead, comprises about one fifth of the city and surrounding its dense, high-rise core are large single-family homes situated among dense forests and rolling hills. Chastain Park is situated in amongst these hills and general pleasantry. The park is Atlanta’s largest and houses one of our favourite venues of any US tour.
The day off which preceded the show was particularly enjoyable for many reasons. I was lucky enough to hook up with one of the most famous names in pro football, a certain Morten Andersen. Morten originally invited me to play golf at Eastlake. Unfortunately, that venue wasn’t available today so we played his – equally spectacular – home course, The River Club. Our pilot Blake Spencer is back with us this week and offered to drive me out to Suwanee and join us on the course.
Morten is an amazing, delightful man and enjoyed a career in pro football that spanned 25 years with The New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and twice with the Atlanta Braves. Retired from football in 2008, he now spends a lot of his time giving corporate and in particular, motivational speeches around the globe. He also devotes a lot of his time to the Morten Andersen foundation, dedicated to affecting positive change among children and youth locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
….and aside from all that, there’s golf! We had an amazing day with Morten’s good friend and tour merchandiser, Jim Sullivan. We played a game called ‘Wolf’. Amazingly, I managed to win. I actually won at golf! Drinks in the club bar afterwards meant I was a little late for our band and crew get-together in their hotel just down the road from ours. When I arrived, the bash was in full swing. I was immediately ordered to polish off several large drinks courtesy of Kevin and Kerry. We had a really fun night, one to remember for a long time. I was definitely the worse for wear, in fact, when I walked back to our hotel, Glenn and Gareth escorted me. I thought they were coming back for more drinks but it turned out that they just wanted to make sure I got back ok. That’s the kind of people they are. Family.
Show day revealed the full extent of the damage. Actually, there wasn’t any, no-one really suffering severely – I guess we’ve all been doing this too long and stay in touch with our limitations…most of the time.
Chastain Park was bathed in warm, humid weather and sound check was a slow and relaxed affair. The on-site catering was fabulous, one of the best on the tour. The home made vegetable soup was to die for.
Naturally, Morten and his delightful wife were my guests at the show and with a few of his friends, joined Mark and me in the catering area for a chat. It was soon time for us to ready ourselves and take to the stage. The tables area in front of the stage comprises mostly season ticket holders who apparently buy tickets to the full season of concerts. The atmosphere is relaxed and most people bring dinner and eat it before the show. As with all outdoor shows of this kind, a lot of wine is drunk so the crowd are well oiled. Apart from a few incredibly distracting and quite frankly, slightly rude attendees down the front who thought the show was all about them, the audience was sublime. At the end, in their excitement, somebody threw a piece of Salami onto the stage. We’ve had all sorts of things launched onto the bandstand in the past but this was a first. The gesture seemed too generous for words…or maybe I’m missing something.
During our standing ovations at the end, the noise from the crowd was deafening. I guess we fooled ‘em again! It was then straight back to the bar across the Mandarin hotel courtyard for a couple of nightcaps and some supreme Chicken Wings.
What a wonderful stay in Atlanta and with only a few more shows to go and only ONE more hotel stay, this is going to be a mighty difficult tour to say ‘adios’ to.
Today’s Track of the Day is Te Amo – Atlas Sound (Hailing from Georgia, Bradford James Cox is the engine room behind both Deerhunter and Atlas Sound. He made his film acting debut in the fabulous 2013 movie Dallas Buyers Club)