The best and the worst of the evening ~Lyle and his very large band were professional and impressive. The band walked out and started at 7:05 (we could hear them warming up as we waited in the huge line at 6pm). Lyle joined them five minutes later and they performed together starting at 7:10 and didn't stop until 9:44pm.
They were all in black suits and ties, that stayed on all night, and were extraordinary musicians. Lyle introduced a couple of them but didn't engage verbally with the audience until 35 minutes of great music had passed. He first introduced every musician and then admired the headware of the audience, commenting on the University of Michigan/Michigan State fans, and then telling the ladies that the Kentucky Derby had nothing on them :-)
Then Lyle played to the women, telling them that men know they would be lost without the guidance of the fairer sex, and want to do the right thing, if they just knew what is was; followed by: My Baby Don't Tolerate.
Lyle referenced how they were asked to be quiet during their warmup because a wedding was going on and then played I Will Rise Up.
Besides the audience favorites, Lyle spent a lot of time allowing the musicians to hawk their own wares and perform their own numbers. If the musicians weren't top-notch, we might have minded but they were all great. Arnold McCuller (amazing singer), Keith Sewell (do you have your CDs here with us? Pause. I think so. That's good marketing), and Luke Bulla - fantastic on Temperance Reel and everything else he played. Every time he performed or was announced, the audience shouted "Luuuuke," which first sounded like boo. Obviously he has a fan base.
(Update from Martin Waalkes: "Luuuke" is actually a reference to a past Detroit Red Wings player. Fans always cheered this back to the announcement of his name, forcing all TV and radio announcers to explain the convention to their audiences. I wonder if this Luke had any idea...")
The people in front of us added a mysterious liquid to their beverages (not sure how they smuggled it in but kudos) and also a smoking device of unknown nature that was surreptitiously passed among them. And...I also got us in their picture.
The worst of it was the foursome that crowded next to us, armchairs overlapping (I had to have my entire row move to the right to get some space), dancing with arms akimbo bumping into me with no regard, and then taking a cell phone call - jackass.
Lyle took us beautifully through the evening, ending with a 3 number encore, and as always, some people left early but they always do at Meijer Gardens to beat the parking lot traffic. It was a high energy concert played straight through for 2 hours and 35 minutes.
Once you attend, you will understand why Lyle is a perennial favorite. Check it out next year but you'll need to know a Meijer Gardens member to get tickets - it sells out before tickets open to the public.
Day moved softly into night, and Lyle played us out...