I accidentally lied last post. I forgot. Instead of going straight back to the hotel after the Pride parade, we actually went out for a pint and some fish and chips at the James Joyce before getting ready for the concert.
It happened to also be the 30th anniversary of the death of John Bonham. Being the Zepheads that we are, we dedicated a pint in his memory.
The food was pretty good, and we had a good time. It was near where the parade took place, so the place was full in the middle of the afternoon. We had to sit by the bathrooms. Very amusing watching all the drunk people stagger in and out.
Anyway, on to the review of the concert.
The venue was the Reynolds Theater on the Duke University Campus, right next to the famous Chapel (which we have visited before, and that place is beautiful inside).
Filing in to the venue, I was very surprised at the crowd demographics. 75% of the crowd was old white people. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are such a young group, I can't believe all the blue-hairs that were in attendance.
The seats were very comfy. Photograhy was not allowed, so I have no pictures. Usually I take one or two anyway, but this place seemed to be strictly enforcing the rule. There were only about 600 seats, and the auditorium was packed.
The opening act was Joe Henry. In addition to being the opening act, he also produced the Chocolate Drops' newest album.
His act consisted of him singing and playing guitar and the piano. He did have a friend of his provide stand up bass accompaniment.
Henry's music and lyrics were very....artsy. I don't have any other word for it. Not really my cup of tea, even though I did like a couple of his songs. My opinion is that he's a better piano player and lyricist than a guitar player. He kept blaming his mistuning on "the humidity". I'm sure that can be a factor, but sometimes it was really off.
However, he was pretty funny when he spoke in between songs. He had a voice and manner like Christopher Walken. You almost expected him to ask for more cowbell. And he really liked to name drop. 'When my close friend Madonna and I were having a dinner party last year...' stuff like that. Which is cool, if I knew famous people I'd probably name drop too.
He played for an hour and a half, and then the Chocolate Drops came on.
They blew the roof off.
It was amazing. I highly, HIGHLY recommend that you stop by and see them play if they tour in your area. Even if you don't care for the type of music they play...they just have such energy and talent. Truly they're something special.
They would switch instruments every song. The fiddle, the guitar, the banjo. The woman, Rhiannon Giddens, got up and danced a couple of times while the other two were playing, and WOW. That woman can dance. She even does Celtic throat singing. Cool as shit.
The other thing I've never seen is someone playing the bones during a concert. So neat. This is 'Snowden's Jig' from a previous performance.
I think they're touring in England right now, or will be soon. If you live there, see them!
Chuck decided to ham it up in the parking garage before we left.
Ladies, flex IS accepted. And Chuck's got it for ya.
The next morning, Chuck and I decided to hang out in Durham and check out the Maplewood Cemetery that we were going to see before we got sidetracked by the parade.
The place is HUGE. I'm talkin' MASSIVE. We didnt' even know where to start really. It was too overwhelming. I didn't even get more than a couple of pictures.
We did happen upon the Duke family mausoleum.
Apparently though, the 3 most influential members of the Duke family were exhumed and reinterred in the Duke Chapel.
And we thought this was pretty cool:
The headstone is being swallowed by the tree. Makes you wonder what the roots did to the business part of the grave underground... O_O
If you want to see way more interesting stuff about the cemetery, I found this blog post that takes you on a more intensive tour.
We decided to go and visit Chapel Hill for the rest of the morning and afternoon before making our way back to the coast.
Chapel Hill is only a few miles out of Durham. It is the home of the University of North Carolina, which is the oldest state university, established in December of 1789.
College basketball has a vast following in the US, and UNC has one of the most illustrious teams. The Tarheels are Chuck's favourite team. So he was pretty excited about touring the campus.
Just as Duke has the Chapel, UNC has the Clock Tower.
It was just about noon when we got there, so we got to hear its beautiful chimes.
We were pretty close to the football stadium where the Tarheels football team plays. Chuck took some pictures, and I sat outside and yawned.
We spent some time walking about and seeing the sights...I love being on a university campus. Makes me feel all nostalgic and stuff. If I could just quit my job and attend university forever, I would.
It was the last really super hot day I think we'll have this year. We sweated all over campus (which is why you don't see me in many of the pictures from the weekend, I felt really gross), and decided to make our way down Franklin Street and seek food and drink.
I think everywhere across North America, if there's a university, there's a street nearby like Franklin Street.
In Durham, it was Main Street. In Edmonton, it's called Whyte Avenue. A street with lots of little, great restaurants. A street with a lot of pubs and clubs. A street with a lot of artsy little shops and galleries. A street were people just come to hang out and be seen.
We settled on the Carolina Brewery. Great beer, and very good food. Although I don't know if I would have picked it, had I known how many TV's they had inside. ALL playing different football games. They even asked which football team Chuck followed before we were seated. He said the Cleveland Browns. They sat us right in front of the tv that was scheduled to play that game.
That's just what I wanted. To be ignored during the whole meal on a date.
But I have to say that I deserved it. I did drag him to Gay Pride the day before. Karma always wins.
Here's Chuck texting a friend about the score of the game.
After the pub, we went out walking again. It was starting to sprinkle rain, so I figured we didn't have a whole lot of time left to walk around before getting drenched.
I was right. I snapped off these last pictures in front of the science observatory before it started to pour.
The whole front of the building was a rose garden, and had a giant sundial in the center of it.
I'm not used to seeing so many healthy rosebushes in one place. Out here in the coast, they all get black spot.
We made a dash for the parking garage. It was a deluge for a lot of the way home. Which was an omen for the week to come.
We've had horrible, flooding rain all week long. My area even made CNN. I was actually going to write a blog post about it, it was so bad. But I wanted to get this one up first.
The next post will be about the nasty weather we've had all week...it was crazy. I've never seen anything like it.