It's Chuckles' birthday today. He's 49 years old.
Way back in November, I bought him tickets to the Robert Plant & The Band of Joy concert in Raleigh, on February 2.
Seemed like forever to wait for the concert, and now it's done.
But it was AWESOME.
I love when I can buy him a present that I get to participate in. Best type of present there is.
Chuck took the day off work, and we got into Raleigh at around noon. I had scoped out a restaurant to eat lunch at (as I always do, I love planning out our eating itinerary) called The Pit. It's a delicious, business-class BBQ joint. Their slogan is 'Everything but the squeal.'
How cool is that? :)
When we walked up to the place, following two dudes in button-down shirts and ties, Chuck asked, 'Are we dressed well enough for this place?'
Since I had scoped out the menu ahead of time, I knew that it didn't seem so expensive that a dress-code would be required. Chuck and I were attired in car-traveling clothes...jeans and t-shirts. I don't think we were that offensive.
We walked in the door and up to the hostess' 'lectern'. There were two hostesses standing there and one was very skinny and blonde. She was looking at us with a look that suggested she had just stepped in dogshit. And the smell had just hit her nostrils.
The smell was us, apparently.
I stared her down. She hesitated in asking us, 'Just the two of you?' with a resonant disdain.
Really? Were we that abhorrent? There was no posted dress code, and there was a very casually dressed couple next to us when we were seated, so we weren't alone.
The disgusted blonde hostess had some very, very, fake looking drawn on BROWN eyebrows. I resisted the urge to let her know that one of them was smudged. Just resisted.
The food, however was delicious. We had fried green tomatoes for a starter, with a surprisingly different (and amazing) lime-cream dressing with fresh basil. And I had an Eastern NC BBQ pork plate, Chuck had a BBQ turkey plate. Collards, fresh biscuits. Excellent service besides the bad attitude of Fake Eyebrows.
As for the concert itself, Chuck and I had never been to the Progress Energy Center where it was held.
It was a very nice venue. I felt very posh as I sipped from a champagne flute before the show started. In fact, I felt so posh that I had two of them :)
The place had chandeliers and everything.
The North Mississippi All Stars were the opening band.
I had never really listened to anything by them before, but they rocked it out. Talk about BEEF.
That was really the theme of the night. Beefy guitar sound.
They didn't really stay on all that long, about 45 minutes. But I really enjoyed it. Some dudes behind us showed up late, and asked the guy next to them that had been there since the beginnning, how the opener had been.
'Meh' he said. 'I wasn't all that impressed. You didn't miss much.'
I just about turned around and asked the guy if he'd been asleep. It was pretty damn good stuff.
I don't even know what I can say about Robert Plant and the Band of Joy except that it was amazing. I highly recommend catching this band on the latter part of their tour.
This is my favourite off their recent album. Remake of Los Lobos' "Angel Dance".
Any new band Robert is a part of usually performs a certain amount of Led Zeppelin tunes, and usually they put a new twist on them.
They played 'Ramble On', 'Black Dog', 'Rock & Roll', 'Gallows Pole', 'Houses of the Holy', and 'Tangerine'. 'Ramble On' was probably my favourite, I'm such a Lord of the Rings nerd and the song is all about it, in case you didn't know :)
Robert is awesome, STILL, even though he's 65-ish. Amazing charisma, such stage presence. Doesn't matter how old he gets. You either have it or you don't. He has it. Forever.
And the band backing him up was awesome too. I've sung the praises of Buddy Miller before.
That guy can RIP IT UP on the guitar. BEEF, I tell ya.
And he had Patty Griffin singing in harmony, which was a great sound. That girl really needs a sandwich or two, but she can sing her ass off.
The fun continues this weekend. Got to spend the whole day with Chuckles today (a rarity), we made a shrimp and sausage gumbo for the Superbowl tomorrow. Always tastes better the next day. Some good friends are coming over.
I'm totally using football as an excuse to eat.
It's going to be yet another awesome day!
Life is good, I tell ya. Enjoy the little things.
Happy Birthday Chuckles! Love you more.