Concert was to begin at 6pm and from 5:50 to almost 6:30 the opening act, Luke Warm and the Not So Hots, played around with sound checks. But the bluegrass/country band finally started in full swing and played for a solid hour.
Luke Gitchel, lead singer in his plaid shirt and baseball cap, was entertaining and incredibly talented. "Here's a song I wrote, 'I got drunk last night'." "My Mom's real proud of this one." But he followed that up with a murder ballad he also wrote, about Sarah May, and his mother is probably a little happier with that number.
Around 8pm Bill Kirchen and Redd Volkaert were up on the stage and doing their own setup work. They don't have "people" and they didn't have a back-up band or musicians. It was sweet and pure music.
Just before they started and intermittently throughout the concert, Jerry the Promoter would make an announcement via his megaphone. We haven't seen one of those in years.
He not only called for another number by Luke Warm but also continually plugged raffle tickets for a guitar, that Bill claimed he was only allowed to play twice. Bill would have liked to win it but thought there would be a whiff of impropriety if he did. He went on to play "One Woman Man."
Bill and Redd started with "Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods," "Crazy Arms," and "Down to Stems and Seeds Again Blues" (Bill: I told my mother it was an agricultural song). Redd Volkaert then sang "She's Gone Gone Gone" and the guitar playing was magnificent. "Always Late With Your Kisses" was a little long and repetitive but "Oxblood" was rockabilly awesomeness.
Someone from the audience shouted out "Two Triple Cheese" and Bill sang what he could remember from his Commander Cody days.
But the last number before their break was one we were waiting for, more famous than Two Triple Cheese from Commander Cody, "Hot Rod Lincoln." Bill added in a musical history of styles and families (here's the King family) that was hilarious. The only wrong note played was a reference to the Edmund Fitzgerald, asking it to move over for the Lincoln. Growing up mostly in Michigan he should have known there was nothing humorous about the Edmund Fitzgerald going down in Lake Superior.
So a break at 9:05, resuming at 9:25, and finished at 9:45, called on account of darkness. Musicians playing by their cellphone lights to the end. "Wine wine wine do your Stuff." But no amount of wine can undo seeing the cutoff men's sleeves, a confederate flat hanging out of a jean's pocket, cowboy boots and shorts, and the t-shirts.
Ada Riverhouse put out a nice spread with a beer table, a wine & liquor table, and food featuring brats or cajun sausage, beans, and potato salad, for a small price.
We learned to appreciate the concert rules at Frederik Meijer Gardens as we were subjected to high chairs and smoking. A few cigarettes and some pot we could tolerate but cigars wafting throughout the area was revolting.
And no shirt? Keepin' it classy.
Great to have this high chair plunked in front of us. A trainwreck indeed.
Many people had their own labeled chairs.
We loved this concert and venue with its easily accessible food and beverage tables. But it was interesting that there was no security, no rules about smoking, no lights, and no cares about photos or videos.
We had to keep moving to stay out of the sun and this group was huddled early on under the tree.
A friendly neighbor took some group photos of us and was creative in his instructions.
But one person couldn't follow the simple instruction of where to look (you know who you are).We took great pleasure in moving in front of high chair man later in order to stay out of the sun. And he was very gracious about it, not knowing what an irritant he had been to us. We caught a sunset on the way home and we're happy to have experienced the talent of Bill Kirchen right here in Ada, in spite of the t-shirts & cigar smoke.