Seeing as how I'm so late in getting this review written and posted, the details have gotten rather less crisp in my memory than usual, but I'll do my best to recall them as clearly as I can.
The selection of shows to go to in 2011 was a bit limited for me, and even this one had its share of problems--I normally try to get together with my friend Irene for concerts in the general Wisconsin/Minnesota/Illinois area, but she had other things going on that just didn't allow for her to join me in this case. Fortunately, I'd met and made friends with another lady named Kelly who lives in roughly the same region, and since she and her husband were already planning on attending the Red Wing show anyway, it only made sense for all of us to meet up and go together.
So that was pretty much what happened; I flew in to Minneapolis on Friday and spent the night in a hotel, and Kelly and her hubby picked me up there on Saturday morning and we all went on to Red Wing in their car. It's not a long drive and we were a bit early to check in to our hotel when we first arrived, so we stopped and had some lunch (if you're ever in Red Wing, go try the Smokey Row Cafe--the service was a little slow but the food was worth the wait!) and then went back to the hotel afterward. Once we got checked in and settled, Kelly and I spent most of the afternoon chatting about all things Jimi (SO nice to talk to someone who understands the obsession! ) and then we all went to have some supper. I remember not eating much, not because the food was bad, but because I had a serious case of jittery nerves, to the point that it made my stomach uneasy. I wasn't concerned about the show itself as such, but I had invested in a new and MUCH better quality camera earlier in the year, and I was fretting over whether I would be able to actually get any worthwhile pics with it or not. I had taken a short photography class earlier in the summer and even gone to a concert given by a local 80's cover band here in Denver in late June, just to try and get some experience in dealing with the kind of challenging light conditions presented by a live concert, but this was still the first time I'd be putting my equipment through its paces when the results actually MATTERED.
There was no way to know except to just go and do it, though, and so after we had finished dinner, the three of us went back to the hotel for a short while to change clothes and get ready, then drove across town to the park where the River City Days festival was being held. We were a little bit early, even with having to find a parking spot and then walk across to where the main stage was located, so I took the opportunity to get my earplugs in and my camera and monopod all set up before the show actually started, and I even took a few test shots of the empty stage to get an idea of whether the settings I'd decided to use were okay as-is or if they needed adjustment. I had to do a little more fine-tuning during the opener, but that didn't take more than a few moments, and by the time Heartbreaker had done a good half-hour of music with no sign of either of their special guests, I was starting to get just a wee bit impatient. Finally, though, Alex Ligertwood came on and did his first number, and then Jimi joined him and the part of the show I had really come to see was off and running. Here's the setlist, or at least as much of it as I could figure out:
??? (The opener was a song I didn't
recognize, and I was so busy with my camera that I really didn't pay
attention to it enough to even make a guess, sorry)
"Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake (Heartbreaker)
"Hold On Loosely" by .38 Special (Heartbreaker)
"Summer Of '69" by Bryan Adams (Heartbreaker)
"Just What I Needed" by The Cars (Heartbreaker)
"Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield (Heartbreaker)
"Long Train Running" by The Doobie Brothers (Heartbreaker - this was one I didn't recognize, so I might have the ID wrong)
"Dark Side" by John Cafferty (Heartbreaker)
"Double Vision" by Foreigner (Heartbreaker)
"Wanted Dead Or Alive" by Bon Jovi (Heartbreaker)
"Black Magic Woman" by Santana (Alex Ligertwood)
"High On You" by Survivor (Jimi, natch)
"I Can't Hold Back" by Survivor (Jimi)
"Hold On" by Santana (Alex Ligertwood)
"Winning" by Santana (Alex Ligertwood)
??? (Alex Ligertwood - I couldn't identify this song at the time and I still can't, even with Google's help)
"Is This Love" by Survivor (Jimi)
"Crossroads Moment" by Jimi Jamison
"I'm Always Here" by Jimi Jamison (He just can't seem to perform this without making some crack about Pamela Anderson )
??? (Alex Ligertwood - another unidentifiable song; possibly "Witchy Woman" by the Eagles, but I'm not anything like certain)
??? (Alex Ligertwood - I THINK this might have been "Stormy Monday," originally recorded by the Allman Brothers Band, but don't quote me on that)
"Tie Your Mother Down" by Queen (Heartbreaker)
"She Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC (Heartbreaker)
"Separate Ways" by Journey (Heartbreaker)
"Gimme All Your Lovin'" by ZZ Top (Jimi)
"All I Ever Wanted" by Santana (Alex Ligertwood)
"Evil Ways" by Santana (Alex Ligertwood)
"No One To Depend On" by Santana (Alex Ligertwood)
"Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor (Jimi - this was part of the encore)
??? (Jimi - he identified it as a Led Zeppelin song, but I couldn't tell you which one)
It was VERY hot and humid out that night, and I'd read a lot of horror stories from other dSLR owners about getting condensation build-up inside their expensive cameras under those conditions, so I was actually glad for once that it was more than just Jimi performing. I'm not a Santana fan at all and didn't know most of the songs Alex Ligertwood sang, so I used them as an opportunity to shut my camera off and give its internal workings a chance to cool down in between shooting sessions. I checked out the pics I was getting with the playback function every now and then, and although most of them looked like they were probably pretty good, it's always hard to tell for sure on that tiny little LCD screen. So I kind of just shrugged to myself and figured I might as well keep on as I had been, and hope everything had turned out once I got a chance to look at it on a real computer.
If the heat wasn't pleasant for us in the audience, though, I think it was even worse for the performers--some high-powered fans had been set up in various locations around the stage to try and keep things at least a little more reasonable, but Jimi still had to change stage outfits twice during the course of the show because his shirts kept getting soaked through with sweat, poor thing. (Fortunately, he has very good taste in clothes, and looked yummy in all three! ) The heat may have been part of why the venue cleared out so quickly after the show was over, too--there was no merchandise table this time around, even though Sally was there, and the rest of the festival (carnival, food court, etc.) had already closed by the time the band finished the encore and left the stage. So there was really no reason for most people to stick around, especially if they were eager to get back to someplace with air conditioning, and I don't think even five minutes had passed before it was just the crew and a scant handful of diehard fans left, Kelly and I included.
We waited around for a little while, and wondered aloud whether Jimi would be coming out to sign autographs or not--he does more often than not at small, free concerts like this one in my experience, but there was no sign of him, and finally I went to ask Sally if she had any idea of what the plan might be. She said that she didn't really know either, but we were welcome to wait for a little longer if we wanted, and since it wasn't hugely late, Kelly and I both looked at each other and said, "Yeah, we'll stick around." And our patience paid off--another five minutes or so later, I spotted a familiar figure emerging from the trailer that the band was using as a dressing room, so I grabbed Kelly and we went to see if we could catch him. He was already in a conversation with another fan when we rounded the end of the stage, but we weren't in a hurry so we just parked ourselves nearby and waited for him to finish. He was facing away from where we were standing to begin with, and when he finally did turn around, he did this theatrical gasp-and-clutch-the-heart thing like he was really shocked to find us there, even though I know he must have noticed me out taking pics through the whole show, the big goofball. And, indeed, immediately afterward he gave me a big grin and said, "Hey, girl, how you doing?" and I don't mind telling you that I just about melted. (I swear, you get me within 6 feet of the guy and I start to look JUST like this emoticon, right down to the little hearts floating above my head: )
Anyway, I know I'm probably a weensy bit biased in my opinion on this point, but I have to say yet again that Jimi is a real class act of a guy--he was every bit his usual sweet self to Kelly and I that night, even though he wasn't really at his best after the long show in the heat and everything. He signed autographs and posed for a photo with each of us despite the fact that his shirt was literally dripping with sweat (not that such a detail bothered me at all--in fact, I'll even admit to a moment of totally adolescent, "OMG, I am never washing that arm again!" after getting near enough to get my own pic taken with him ). And speaking of that pic, here it is:
He stood and talked to us for a few minutes beyond what it took to get pics and sign our stuff, and while I won't recount every detail of the conversation, he did pay me a compliment during it that I'll cherish for the rest of my life. He had noticed my new camera and commented on it being a pro model, then said, "You've got a photography business, don't you?" I replied that I did not, and he just said, "Well, you should." Talk about a "blush" moment--I've never thought of myself as anything more than a fan with a camera, not even up to the level of a serious hobbyist, really. But I guess that collage I gave him at Glyndon must have made an impression, and considering how wonderfully all my pics from this show turned out when I finally got a chance to pop the memory card into my laptop and take a proper look at them the next day, it may indeed be something I consider in future. (I mean, I've already spent the bucks on the equipment, might as well get some use out of it beyond one or two shows every summer!) And again, speaking of which, you can find the set of pics from this show in the Red Wing Jimi Gallery #1, the Red Wing Jimi Gallery #2, and the Alex Ligertwood & Heartbreaker Gallery, plus a complete listing of all my concert shots is available from this page, as always.
So, that's the story--sorry again that it took me so long to tell this time around!
(Edited 19 October, 2016 to add: Please note that there is an expanded version of this Concert Tale now available in the Memorial Gardens section of the Wing, however there is also some background information that I STRONGLY recommend you read first. You may find the first part of that on this page, then follow the appropriate links at the bottom to reach the expanded Tale itself.)