This Past Weekend in Albion PA & Muscle Shoals AL
Sat., Sep. 17. 2005 4:57pm EDT
Thanks to everybody who came to see us this past weekend in Albion PA (near Erie) and Muscle Shoals AL. We had large, enthusiastic audiences at each event, drawing fans from as far away as Russia and England.
Seriously, three Russian exchange students approached us after the Albion show to tell us how much they liked the show and to get their photos taken with us. And Pastor Alan came all the way from England to set up our appearance in Albion. Well, he came to the United States four years ago with his wife and four kids, but he hasn't been back to England since, and his wife is now about to give birth to their eighth child, so we have to assume we were at least one of the reasons he decided to stay :)
Actually, our old pal, Maggie Shroads (formerly Robinson), who does the female speaking part on our parody "Mama Told Me (What's to Come)" had been trying for years to get us into the Albion Fair. Unfortunately, it wasn't until after she got married and moved away to Texas that we finally made it. Her mom, dad, brother and sisters were in attendance, though. Maggie may have missed us at the Albion Fair, but she and her husband, Daniel, did get to see us at our recent Texas concerts in Nash and Leander.
One of the speakers blew out during our second song at Albion, so Moose and J. performed a rare "unplugged" (i.e. vocals and drums only) version of the song in progress while the pit crew (Karl, Keith and Bill H.) went to work. Thankfully, they were able to remedy things in time for the next song. Unfortunately, that was the one piece of equipment that didn't belong to us and had to be replaced, so we wound up spending more at the fair than a family of five usually would :)
Thanks to Albion Mayor Paula Fetterolf, who has supervised the fair for the past five years and lent us the aforementioned speaker. We liked it so much we bought it! Thanks also to Krista Haynie for running the CD table.
Friday's concert in Muscle Shoals was set up by Mike Noles, the youth pastor at Highland Park Baptist Church and the leader of AYPD (Awesome Youth Praise Department). Mike has a keen sense of humor, which came in handy, because he had to babysit us from late morning till late night, and he was also our chauffeur to and from the Huntsville airport. He's also met more famous people than any other Alabamian this side of Forrest Gump!
And dig this: we just missed meeting Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and Donny Osmond. We were all at the same place ... we just got there about 35-40 years too late! After lunch at the local Ruby Tuesday's, Mike took us to one of Muscle Shoals' famous landmarks, FAME Recording Studios, the place where music legends like Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, the Allman Brothers and the Osmond Brothers recorded some of their biggest hits. We got a guided tour from the guy minding the store, Justin "Biggie" Sizemore, and it was quite educational. It reminded us of our trip to Graceland in Memphis a few years ago, but this time we could actually touch stuff :)
We also visited the equally famous Muscle Shoals Recording Studios, which was originally a spin-off from Fame Studios, where the Rolling Stones, Cher and many others recorded. That studio recently reopened after being briefly closed down, but nobody was home when we came to call. Of course, that didn't stop us from getting our picture taken in front of the building's famous storefront. Not too far from there, a less-famous storefront caught our eye -- a place called "Guns n' Such" -- but we elected not to be photographed there :)
Then it was off to radio station WFIX for an in-studio interview with station manager and afternoon host Mark Allen. WFIX is a longtime supporter of ApologetiX, and Mark graciously allowed us to "explore the space" while we were on the air. Later that night, we finally got to meet morning show host James Dancer, who's done many phone interviews with us in the past but had never met us in person. James and his wife, Heather, were a lot of fun to hang out with.
Our show Friday night was part of a series of "Fifth Quarter" concerts AYPD has been sponsoring after the Friday-night high-school football games. Other artists who've gone before us include Toby Mac and Skillet. ApologetiX lead singer J. Jackson got to sing the National Anthem before the game from the press box as the rest of the group was out on the field. After that, we got to stand on the sidelines and watch the game, although the home team, the Muscle Shoals Trojans, lost by two touchdowns.
Although the show didn't start till after the game was officially over (it was unofficially over after the opposing team scored a touchdown on the opening drive and then intercepted Muscle Shoals for another touchdown on the next drive), there were at least 500 students in attendance. The late hour and tough loss didn't dampen their enthusiasm, either. They brought us back for our longest encore of the year.
Thanks to Delilah and everybody who prepared a special home-cooked Alabama dinner for the band; to Mark, who ran the sound, and to the rest of the very friendly staff. Thanks also to Anne and Megan, who ran the CD table for us, as they have so many other times when we've been in Alabama and other parts of the Southeast. Speaking of which, we'll be back in the Yellowhammer State in three more weeks for a concert in Gadsden AL. Hope to see you there!