Nateva (or Not)
So there I was, a thousand words or so into telling you all about the Crosby, Stills & Nash show that Tigger and I recently saw at Red Rocks out in Morrison, CO when someone sent me an e-mail that read (and I quote):
_Hey, Mr. Jambands.com contributor from Maine –
Which days you gonna be at Nateva? I’ll look for you at the Relix booth, dude._
Which sort of numbed me right up in my tracks. I paused. I pondered. I scratched. I rubbed my forehead … and then I sighed. It was obvious: I am so unqualified to be doing this.
I mean, sure – since Dr. Dean and the good Mikey G first allowed me to stand on the other fringes of the Relix/Jambands.com drum circle in August of 2008, I’ve doled out 150 or so album reviews, a bunch of interviews with folks I never dreamed I’d be talking to (remember: you can still have heroes when you’re 52, boys and girls), a few book reviews, and some other odds and ends (including these Maine Line columns). Which is to say I’ve had a chance to make some noise, but I’m a little bit removed from the scene. (“Woods queer,” folks around home used to call it. I kind of like that; a cousin to Todd Snyder’s “peace queer” – which I guess I am, as well. So’s my wife. “I resemble that remark,” she might say. That’s one of the reasons I love her.)
The truth is, I hadn’t even considered going to Nateva, which is poised to be, like, Bonnaroo North or something. (And only 75 miles or so away from our dented mailbox at the end of the dirt road here.)
One could ask, “Were you asked to come up and hang at the Relix booth?” And I’d have to say no, but I don’t blame those folks – they may still be at Bonnaroo, for all I know. They’re pros.
Doesn’t matter, though: we’ll be having crabmeat rolls with Tigger’s 92 year-old mother on the 4th of July and I hope to be playing a little music locally with my bandmates that weekend. Probably mow the lawn. Go kayaking. Crank the old stereo wide-open. Grill something. Maybe have a firebowl under the stars. Nateva? Boy – I hadn’t planned on it. But I hope everyone has a wicked time. I really do.
And, having admitted how out of touch I am, I’ve finally exposed myself as a true woods queer, perfectly content to lay low and only scurry out to the civilized parts of the world when absolutely necessary. Yep, that’s me.
Sorry, boys and girls. I yam what I yam. And I’m cool with that. I don’t know what this does in regards to my credibility as a music scribe in your eyes, but I’m being honest with you.
Anyway … I originally planned to tell you about the whole Red Rocks experience (my first, of course), but I won’t. I will, however, share a couple moments from the Crosby, Stills & Nash concert:
David Crosby had the crowd – the whole gigantic stone bowl full – in his hands as he sang “Guineverre”. He sang the lines
As she turns her gaze
Down the slope
To the harbor where I lay
Anchored for a day
And then he paused … and there was silence. Total, complete, overwhelming silence. From us greyhairs to the wookies – nobody even drew a breath.
And later on, in the middle of “Almost Cut My Hair”, when Crosby sang about letting his “freak flag fly”, we all (again, greys to wooks) sang together as one with him. It was cool.
Supergroup wretched excess and ego explosions of the past be damned – we witnessed three old friends getting off on making music together. They may have played some of those songs four thousand times or so over the years, but the grins on their faces were fresh and real.
It was a great night for a couple of woods queers.