Last Night: Merle Haggard at Stafford Centre
Sadly, the concession stand stopped selling beer and wine halfway through the gig. I am sure a younger crowd would have decimated the whiskey stock.
Haggard recited Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," during the show's victory lap. Those up on their Hagg-story will know that the former San Quentin State inmate saw Cash live at the prison on January 1, 1958, a moment that kicked his ass into taking on his music career whole-hog. Moments like this won't be around for public viewing much longer.
He relayed the old story about being asked why he wrote the anti-hippie anthem "Okie from Muskogee," he replied "I wrote it because I was the only one who knew the words." Most people know that Haggard wrote it as half-satire, and half-tribute to his military fans, but the crowd at the Stafford Centre appropriately ate it up as gospel.
At the end of the show, after the lights went up and fans herding out of the main hall, Dr. Mann sat in place, waiting for his wheelchair. I asked him if he wanted me to snag it for him.
"Nah, I am enjoying the scenery, but thank you," he replied.
Personal Bias: It's Merle Haggard.
The Crowd: Mr. Haggard's song "I Wish I Was 30 Again" was God's honest truth, but for me the milestone is just a month away. Many people in the crowd were double that age. I don't think I will be complaining about the 3-0 in a few weeks.
Overseen In the Crowd: Older country fans have seen shows and artists that I would commit serious crimes to have seen live and in person. I wish I could download their brains for their musical memories.
Random Notebook Dump: Stafford Centre should be your go-to place to see your favorite surviving country legends if you get the chance. The stage doesn't revolve, the sound and seating are quality, and parking is free unless you're a fancy-ass valet person. It only took me 20 minutes to get there from Montrose.