And now a story about Billy Gibbons...

And now a story about Billy Gibbons...

So, I wrote this out one late night while replying to a Facebook post... thought I'd save it for sharing:


And now a story about Billy Gibbons...

When I lived in Austin, I saw live music at least two nights a week for a stretch. One time, I was seeing Robert Randolph and the Family Band at Antone's, a blues club on West 5th that's been around for probably 50 years and was a musical playground for Stevie Ray Vaughn, BB King, Muddy Waters, and even ...ZZ Top.

By Ralph Arvesen [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ralph Arvesen [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

After the opening act finished and people were standing around talking, waiting for Robert Randolph to come on, a whisper went through the crowd, and I saw somebody point up to the box seats above stage left. I was with my bud Pairsh, and we both realized that it was none other than Billy Gibbons who had come in with his entourage. When The Family Band took the stage, Robert Randolph noted the honored guest in the house, and seemed genuinely surprised and excited to have a blues rock legend there to see him.

By Stuart Sevastos [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Stuart Sevastos [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The show was incredible. In the top five best concerts I've even been to. At the end, Robert noted that Billy was still in the box lounge above and dedicated to him a cover of a ZZ Top song. (Kind of a ballsy thing to do with the man himself in the house.) It went down pretty well, and as I remember, Billy Gibbons stood up and have a little clap, which prompted Robert Randolph to invite him to come on stage. After a minute of what looked like being goaded on by others in the box, he came down and then walked up to the stage.

I don't actually remember what song they played together (one of the big hits, like "Sharp Dressed Man" or "Cheap Sunglasses") with Billy Gibbons on lead and Robert Randolph on slide guitar. It was...... sadly mediocre. It definitely seemed like Billy was a bit too drunk or stoned to manage the licks on lead, which was disappointing because the excitement had built up so much to this point. Still, I pulled out my not-so-smart phone and started to film it, then realized that even if I had been holding better video and sound recording equipment, it wouldn't have done the moment justice. It felt like an important event to witness and take in--like it was the mantle of blues greatness being passed down from one generation to the next--which, I guess, is why it came to mind just now.

I don't have any photos from the evening, because I decided to just enjoy the experience. And that's what stories are for.


 

Just for good measure, here's an older Robert Randolph & The Family Band performance from Austin City Limits in 2002.

Austin Texas 9-30-2002

That dude can tear the house down on the pedal steel... As Pairsh would say,

"Church!"

Turner Family Photos - March 2017

Turner Family Photos - March 2017

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