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Taylor Acoustic Clinic
June 2, 2001
Let's start by saying that I was excited about hearing Mike and Bryan play live. Let's say that I was anticipating this more than I'm anticipating the release of Lord of the Rings. Let's start by saying that I was hyped for a long time.
But, when I showed up at the venue, on the day of the clinic, about an hour before it was supposed to start, the guys still weren't there: no merch table, no guitars up on the stage at the front of the room, nothing to indicate that they had even been there. A faint murmur filled the room. Something about, "He ain't gonna show." My heart sank and then, immediately (because, folks, this is the way it has to happen if you're going to believe that I was panicked for a moment) a number of scenarios flashed through my mind: MIke and Bryan had a fight behind an after-hours BBQ joint in Kansas City the night before and Bryan had quit, Mike had to fly home to San Diego for an Ozzy Osbourne-related emergency, they'd run across Stephen Stills and his road crew, engaged in verbal fisticuffs, and now Mike was hoarse and would have to go to Switzerland to recover. Sure. Right. Anything was possible.
No, what had happened was much simpler: there'd been some confusion as to what time the show was supposed to start and the guys were on their way, though it didn't look promising. It was already fifteen minutes before they were supposed to start, they'd only just noticed the problem, and they had a three-hour drive between Kansas City and Wichita. And there was lots of construction on the Kansas Turnpike. (Did I mention that the store closes at five?) Joe Hill, who organised the whole damned thing, took the bull by the horns and said that there'd be a show, we just had to come back for it.
And we did. Sure, a few people took off (church, family engagements, gigs of their own) but a lot of people stayed and once Mike and Bryan got there and started to play, everyone seemed glad about staying. The accolades thrown in the direction of Mr. Keneally and Mr. Beller that afternoon consisted of monumental understatements such as "gifted," "talented," and "brilliant." (These compliments were coming largely from guys who were old enough to have fought in Korea, including the guy who asked Mike, after "Cowology," if he [Mike] had "ever milked onea those things"!) And, indeed, the guys displayed that they were just that by running through new favorites such as "Thanksgiving" and "Hello" and older ones such as "Click," and "The Car Song," "1988 Was A Million Years Ago" and a few others.
While Beller and Keneally didn't cover as much musical terrain as they had a few months before in Oklahoma City (they played a lot of songs that night, a lot), they certainly won over a few new fans. Sure, I didn't get to hang out with the guys, we didn't swap email addresses, share driver's license photos, or give each other manicure tips, but that wasn't the idea: it was cool to have my picture taken with them and know that maybe they were maybe one step closer to being able to do a BFD show in the Wichita.
So, a huge thanks to the guys for good music, D&S for being kind as well, Scott Chatfield for keeping the GH system alive, and Ron Spiegelhalter for important updates.