We headed north to Decatur about 4 yesterday afternoon. Jilda's friend Jackie went with us to the concert. The show didn't start until 7:30 but we wanted to eat first so we stopped by the world famous Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Que on 2nd Ave. SE in Decatur, Alabama. We got there just past 5 but there were people backed up to the steps outside. A helpful customer told us to step up to the counter and get on the list. A Japanese family walked up behind us with a tour map. Apparently they had heard about Big Bob's too. When I gave the girl my name she said it would be about 15 minutes. I looked at all the people waiting for a table and almost decided to walk down the street to Burger King. But about twelve minutes later they called our name and we were seated.
The first thing that struck me was the ambiance. There were plaques and trophies everywhere. You could buy tee shirts, Bar-B-Que sauce and other stuff. I thought to myself, ever who is doing their marketing is doing a very good job.
I got a Bar-B-Que pork plate with potato salad and baked beans, Jilda and Jackie both got chicken plates.
The service was really good and the place had that nice Bar-B-Que'ish smell. The meat was really tender and the portions were just right. I tried both the white and the red sauce and both were really good; but here's the thing - I'm probably really prejudice but to me, the sauce was not as good as my personal favorite which is Green Top BBQ. Sauce is a personal preference and I hope Big Bob and the Gibsonites don't drive down here to Empire and smite me in my sleep but I try to call them as I see them.
On to the Paul Thorn concert. We drove a few miles further down 6th Avenue and arrived at the Princess Theatre over an hour early but we picked up our tickets at Will Call and hung around on the sidewalk and talked until the doors opened. Jilda exclaimed LOOK! - up in the sky were a few dozen multi-colored hot air balloons floating gracefully over the Tennessee River. Apparently they were having some kind of festival at Joe Wheeler park or perhaps in Huntsville. It was a beautiful site to behold.
When the doors opened we went inside where the air was much cooler and we browsed the Paul Thorn merchandise on sale. I bought Paul's new tee shirt " for my good friend Steve's birthday....(Steve, if your reading this, skip this part).
Paul and the band hit the stage around 7:30 and they put on one heck of a show. He played songs from his old albums, songs from his new albums and a cover or two. The band was hot!
What made the show was the stores he told in between songs. He wove the concert together like a tapestry with words and music. Some of the stories were hilarious, some were insightful and some were very poignant.
As the show began to wind down, a woman requested "Will The Circle Be Unbroken". Paul's father was a preacher and you can tell he spent a great deal of time in church when he was younger so when the woman requested the song, he agreed. But as the band cranked up, he invited anyone in the audience who wanted to sing to come up on stage. Jilda and Jackie made a b-line for the stairs. I started to go but then there would have been no one to record the event for posterity so I remained in the seat and took pictures.
Jilda has spent a little time in church too when she was younger and she'd done "Circle" a time or two. When they launched into the chorus, the entire crowd of about a thousand were on their feet and the place was a din but over it all you could hear Jilda waling "Will the Circle, be unbroken."
I saw Paul cut his eyes in her direction in acknowledgement. He seemed to be saying OK, girl, you've sung this song before too.
It's a thousand wonders that I'm not here by myself tonight because I have a feeling that if Paul had asked Jilda and Jackie to join the band and hit the road, that I would have been driving home alone. All in all, it was a wonderful experience...and Jilda will be signing autographs at her upcoming shows :)