by Max Brantley
We drove over early enough to get a parking spot right next to the place, ambled across the street to a pizza joint named Giraldi's (which features the 2007 Arkansas Times Readers Choice Award prominently on their wall), ate one of the best pies I've had recently, then ambled outside to find an empty sidewalk bench in the shade where we had a great long family visit and marveled at the panoply of weird people passing by.
We had great seats about four rows back in the center orchestra, and the performance was sold out.
Randy came out in a Hi-wy-yan shirt and slacks. He sat down and played for around 2.5 hours with a brief intermission to "go back and shoot up for the second half."
Of course, he played all (or at least a LOT) of his great tunes. I don't think he had intended to do "Rednecks" but laughingly did so when the crowd shouted for him to do it. "I like to see a crowd whose tastes are as vulgar as mine," he said.
He mixed up great tunes like that with some soft, sad ones and had us eating out of his hand.
One of the highlights was a new tune that isn't on any record yet. I don't know the name, but the theme, as he told us, was that even though the present regime is as bad as most of us can remember, there HAVE been some to equal it -- Hitler, Stalin, King Leopold and the Spanish Inquisition. I maintain there's not a pop musician alive (or possibly even dead, except for Warren Zevon) who could even THINK of the final line -- much less put it into a hummable tune: "The death of an empire is seldom pretty."
The concert started at 8:30 and we walked out of there around 11 to make the curving, steep drive back to Fayetteville under a full orange Ozarks moon.
A good time was had by all.