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Thanks to member Zelda for submitting this review of the Birmingham show!
Is catching a Bobby Long show worth dying for? The answer to that question is a reluctant yes!?! For three girls in a Hot Rod Lincoln with a driver who put the wrong contact in the wrong eye, Interstate 65 in the middle of Alabama can be a dark and scary place.
Thankfully we arrived unscathed after an unexpected detour through a very depressed area of Birmingham, all thanks to “Malfunction Junction” and our drivers confusion over the directions given to her by Molly, the sweet talking GPS. But who could blame her? Exit Right…keep left. Anyone could become befuddled.
We pulled up to Bottle Tree Café. A funky little building that sported a bottle tree out front (a tree with bottles on all the branches...of course) an Airstream travel trailer parked out back and lit up like a Christmas tree with what else but thousands of twinkle lights. The outside of this cool little place could have never prepared me for the overload of visual insanity once we stepped through the door. The first thing I noticed were the restrooms labeled “Ike” and “Tina”. The décor in this joint looked like a flea market, your grandma’s attic and The Island of Misfit Toys blew up and stuck to the walls. I could go on and on about the album covers from artists such as Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle) The Osmond’s, The Ray Conniff Singers and other oddities that adorned the walls….a Holly Hobby lunch box, a clock centered in “prayer hands” attached to a piece of shellacked wood in the shape of the Great State of Alabama and a creepy devil baby painting to name just a few. But I’ll move on. You’ll just have to go check this place out for yourself.
The standing room only crowd was quite diverse. Men, women, old, young, hipsters and those of us who like to think we’re cool. We all gathered for a great opening act. Preston Lovinggood, a local musician, was enjoyable to say the least.
Now to the dude we were here to see. Bobby took the stage and after a few technical difficulties during the first song, he cut loose. I’ll be the first to tell you that I love to sit at a table, drink my Vodka-Cran and enjoy the music. But this standing venue, in my opinion, allowed for the energy to flow from the stage to the crowd and back again. Not everyone would believe this, but you can do some booty shaking to Bobby Long. Let him break out with “The Bounty of Mary Jane”, “The River is Long” “Penance Fire Blues” and a new, yet to be named song that we’re calling “I Don’t Understand” and something is wrong if you don’t find yourself doing a little bit of moving, even if it isn’t a full blown booty shake.
Of course, if you know Bobby Long, you know he’s not only there to play great music. His witty remarks and storytelling are legendary. While drinking a beer that appeared onstage with him from an unknown source, he warned that if he collapsed in 10 minutes, don’t be alarmed, he’d probably just been roofied. Later he told a story of giving a trucker the finger on his trip to Birmingham, only to see the guy, who was apparently massive in stature, at a gas station a few miles up the road. He and his Tour Manager Eric dropped their purchases and made a run for it. Classic Bobby tale.
The crowd was energized and amidst the shouts of “ROLL TIDE” (remember, this is Alabama in the middle of football season) several song requests, and a couple of “I LOVE YOU BOBBY’s sprinkled in for good measure, he seemed to be feeding off the audience. Bobby played with so much feeling and energy, I forgot that my back was hurting from standing through a 16 song set.
Maybe it was because this was his last show of the tour or maybe it was because he was playing to a great crowd in an awesome venue, but Bobby’s performance was nothing short of amazing. I’m real glad we didn’t die. I would have hated to have missed this night.
She Wears Green
The River Is Long
The Bounty of Mary Jane
In The Frost
I Give Her Love
Left To Lie
Two Years Old
Who Have You Been Loving
Still Can't Tell
Where You Lay
I Don't Understand
Hundred Years From Today (Jack Teagarden cover)
Penance Fire Blues / In My Time Of Dyin'
Dead and Done
Posted at 4:50 pm cst
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