Earlier this summer Jen noticed in one of the papers that Farm Aid was coming to Kansas City. She probably caught it as the big push for Farm Aid now is family farms growing food locally which is a passion for her and one that also comes naturally for me. I was interested to see the music line up which included Jamie Johnson who I had seen a while back in Kearney (see earlier post), Dave Mathews, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and the infamous Neil Young. The event took place at the new Livestrong Sporting Park ( http://www.livestrongsportingpark.com/ ) which did an incredible job on logistics. In terms of getting 20K people in and out of facility quickly and painlessly, they could not have done a better job. They got bonus points for being a great Cisco customer as well!
Jen got us awesome seats up front. This is a shot towards the back of the stadium. The variety of people at the show was probably broader than any other we had ever been to. From farm parents with young kids to hard core bikers to those that obviously were MAJOR followers of Willie and his natural herb. The cool part was EVERYONE got along great.
We saw Mellencamp at The Blue Note ( http://www.thebluenote.com/ ) years ago and he put on a heck of a show. Fifteen years later and he still puts on a great show. John was joined by Miriam Sturm, violinist and band member who stole the show. I am not sure I have seen a performer play with more passion. She was almost worth the price of admission by herself.
Ok, this is a fun one. I like Neil. Jen, not so much. By the end of the show I did get her to agree that he was a heck of a songwriter. Neil by far and away was the most vocal about the cause of Farm Aid. His message was really simple. Buy local. You don’t have to make some sweeping change in your life. Simply start to buy local. He also sung a very powerful song that I had not heard previously called Love and War – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skJddbSJQjA . Take a listen. Does make you stop and think. I had hoped to hear him sing Rockin in the Free World which is one of my favorites but no luck. Still a memorable performance.
Ok, when you are 78 years old, what will you be doing? Hanging out on the front porch? Complaining about this or the other? Not Willie Nelson. At 78 he is still on the road and touring. I had never seen Willie and figured this may be one of my last changes. I am not a huge Willie fan but he has had a significant influence on music over the past five or six decades. Songs like Angel Flying too close to the Ground stick with you well after the last strum of the guitar.
I also tremendously respect his independent nature. You may not agree with his politics or lifestyle but you have to give the guy credit for blazing his own path.