Saturday, September 03, 2005

Cow Town

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Fort Worth is cool. I took the train part of the way, which is always interesting. The TRE trains and nice and clean and comfortable and air-conditioned. On this trip, the high-light was a nice black man who was singing spirituals because he thought the people on the train were too quiet and sad because of tragedy. "Glory glory, hallelujah, since I lay my burden down...," he sang. It was great. The low-light was the woman who sat across from me with the worst B.O. I have ever smelled (she was reading a Russian Bible), and the rich lady next to me who talked on her cell phone loudly during the trip.
At Centerport, my brother picked me up and we drove to Keller to get a friend, and then to the Stockyards. It is by far the most Texan place I have ever been. There were real cowboys there. It is where the West begins, after all. We had dinner at Riscky's steak house and it was very good and reasonably priced. Then we headed to Billy Bob's for the big show.

At Billy Bob's they don't have a mechanical bull. Instead, they pride themselves on having real bull-riding, which you can go in and watch for $2.50. Since I have lived in Texas for 26 years and never seen any bull-riding, it seemed like something I should do. So we got our tickets and took our seats in the bleachers. First, a clown comes out to warm up the crowd with schtick. I was concerned about the clowns, but turns out they aren't as scary as circus clowns because their make-up is real half-ass, almost like an afterthought, so they didn't creep me out too much. Then, the lights go down, and from the fan-fare, you'd think an NBA team was about to come out, but instead they introduce four cowboys who are from places like Garland and Lufkin and so forth. The cowboys then each take a turn at bull-riding, and there is more clown schtick in between. Then for the finale, they send out a bull which is supposed to be all riled up and the audience is supposed to get all excited and fear for the lives of the rodeo clowns. This poor bull had the worst case of tired-head I have ever seen. He wanted no part of chasing these clowns around. He did about half a lap around the arena and headed right for the exit gate to give the gate-keeper the old sad-eye. But the gate-keeper didn't budge, and the clowns teased him and teased him, so he finally made a feeble attempt at a head-butt or two, and then back to the gate he went. Poor thing. I think that is my last rodeo. It made me sad.

Here is a question for you: When a ticket lady on the phone tells you that your tickets are 4th row center, what does that mean to you? At Billy Bob's it means you are on the 4th row of long cafeteria tables which are prependicular to the stage, and therefor you are actually way way back, and in our case behind a big pillar. I had to lean sideways and zoom way in to get the photo above. Also, at Billy Bob's, those cafeteria tables are jammed so close together that it is extremely difficult to get in and out of your seat, and dancing around is pretty much out of the question. Not that I had any intention of dancing around, but if any of you have ever seen the old 97s, you know that their live shows are all about energy, and this show had none because nobody could stand up. The sound was bad too. I sure wasn't expecting this from Billy Bob's, a place which has hosted Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and any other great country star you can think of. It was pretty disappointing. But it was good to see Ken (below singing his one big hit, Cohuila), and I talked to him for a little while until I could no longer compete with the fans who kept coming up to take his picture and whip his ass about what kind of guitars he used on Wreck Your Life and whatnot. It is still very weird to me that Ken has fans.
So that was my big Friday Night. Kev didn't go because he was sick. The rest of the weekend is all about doing as little as possible. I am gonna do a lot of reading, and a crossword, and that's about it. Happy Labor Day.


Gye Greene said...

Rodeo clowns: Love the description of their quality of face-painting. Makes me imagine them going off to their ''day job'', groc. store, still wearing their makeup.

Rodeo bulls: My understanding is that they used to get them riled up by strapping their bull-hood, causing ''discomfort.'' Maybe that's now deemed inhumane.

Concert: A shame about the bad sound and seating. Every once in a while, I daydream about opening a live music club, just so it can be done right. :)


Tall Guy said...

Regarding the title of this blog entry -- ''Cow Town'' -- there is a very catchy They Might Be Giants song by the same name (from their Lincoln album):

I'm going down to Cowtown
The cow's a friend to me
Lives beneath the ocean, and that's where I will be
Beneath the waves, the waves
And that's where I will be
I'm gonna see the cow beneath the sea

(See for the full lyrics.)

I thought this relevant. But perhaps it's not. :)