Tributes

In the past few years I was able to cross some bands/performers off my list of bands I wanted to see before they aged out, quit, broke up, the things bands do. I got to see Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, U2, Huey Lewis and the News, Three Dog Night. All were great shows, and I am happy I had the opportunity to see them, and see them with fun people. One big one on my list is The Rolling Stones. Covid pooped on the party last year, I was going to see them with my brother and sister in Minneapolis. It was postponed, but not cancelled. It has been rescheduled, but the band took a huge hit this week.

Charlie Watts died this week. The drummer for the Stones, been with them since 1963, before I was born. I took it so much harder than I thought I would, honestly. Just like that, the dynamic of that band is forever changed. Time finally caught up with them, after 57 years. They haven’t cancelled anything, and I think Delta Variant willing, the show will go on as scheduled, just minus Charlie. He had stepped away for health reasons, with the intention to return. So they had a substitute that he asked to replace him for the tour for now. But it just makes me sad for them, and for the fans. I am a fan, I have loved them for years. Hell, even my dad liked the Stones back in the day, because they had that blues thing about them. Even though I am sure it will be a great show, it’s going to be missing that one important guy. Rest well, Charlie, you certainly earned it.

Then, as I read tributes to Mr. Watts, some articles popped up commemorating the 31st anniversary of the passing of Stevie Ray Vaughn. He died in a helicopter crash leaving Alpine Valley here in Wisconsin 31 years ago, this week. I was at that show. He was amazing. My friend Lance and I were geeking out the whole way home about him, not knowing that we made it out in the fog, but he did not. We waved at every limo saying “Hi Stevie!” and in general were super nerds. We were 20 years old, and what I didn’t know that night was the last fun I was going to have for a long while. Hearing the news of SRV’s helicopter going down really hit me the next day, hard. But what was also happening was that my dad, in the hospital recovering from heart surgery, wasn’t really recovering at all. He died on August 30th. Late at night, like Stevie Ray did, and without the people he really loved around him.

Those two events are tied together for me forever. And now, the passing of Charlie Watts, and Don Everly, in the same week, 31 years later, made those memories hurt a little more than they have in years. It’s a stretch, sure, but this is my least favorite week, of my least favorite month, and I am allowed to be a wreck if I choose to be. Reading those articles about SRV were just a huge trigger for me. People talked about that show, the one I almost didn’t attend, and talked about how great he was that night. I almost didn’t go because of Ed being in the hospital. He told me to go, have fun, and not worry about him. So for that night, I had a great night, with one of my favorite people in the world, and it was undoubtedly the best concert I ever saw live, given all the legends I got to see, and Stevie Ray was amazing. Three days later, it all crashed down. My first huge loss in life.

Maybe August just wants the best for itself, and that is why it takes the best people from us. I don’t know, but as the end of the month is getting close, I am once again happy to see it go. I shouldn’t get too cocky about it, but other than the famous people, it hasn’t taken from me this year the way it often has in past years. All things considered I have had a very good and fun month. 31 years of hating a month is a long time. I didn’t hate it as much the full 31 years, it took its sweet time making me hate it more and more over the years. I count anything good that happens in August as a huge bonus and blessing. So in a jacked up way, this is my tribute to August, and maybe in a way, trying to take a little power it has had over me back, and saying to it, I do respect you, but I also know you. Stop it, and let’s go forward into September, and not have any more episodes for a while.

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