I'm tired of driving to Omaha. For anyone who knows me and knows about my Christmas/New Year treks to Omaha, I've become so tired of driving back and forth, putting hundreds of miles on my car, and spending hours of of life listening to music or not (this part can be pretty worthwhile).
Finally, Bela Fleck returned to the area. And finally, I was all too happy to journey to Omaha. It snowed the afternoon before I went, and I worried for a bit that I may be in for a longer journey than I had bargained for. However, the drive went splendidly and I got to talk tot my brother in Guam for over an hour (only the third conversation we've had since he left last summer).
The Holland Performing Arts Center itself was worth the drive. The hall was absolutely beautiful, and I could have sat and stared around for a long time. Design of such places intrigues me and brings me thoughts of the eternal. My brain drifted often to the thought of God's throne room. If people could create such a fantastic place, how much more magnificent will Heaven be?
I sat on the ground floor next to a couple on a first or nearly-first date. She was nice. He seemed like a tool. "I've been to almost every major city in the country," I heard him say. Who cares? Anyhow, when he left to go to the restroom, I talk with her for a while. She was from Kansas City and had never heard of Bela Fleck. "What brings a person from Kansas City to see a banjo player they've never heard of?" She enjoyed her evening, though, and said that it was worth the trip.
And worth it it was. I could feel myself getting a sore throat while I was there, and I was ill the following two days. Worth it.
After the show, I got to meet Bela. He's a cool guy. I had nothing for him to sign, and at first, I didn't much care. I'm not too into getting a signature if I get to meet the person. But as I stood in line, waiting my time with the Banjo King, I became self-conscious. Nothing for him to sign. Would he care? Probably not, but what if? With a very nice lady holding my place in line, I ducked out and ran to the merchandise table and bought more than I needed. I figured, if I'm going to have him sign something, he shall sign many things. I almost kept buying because I wouldn't mind getting my hands on the documentary. But I was spending up to 50 bucks, and that's more than I wanted. He signed them happily, thanked me for coming out. Earlier in the evening I had thought, "I wonder if he has ever dabbled in the idea of producing a crazy banjo gospel project." So I asked him. "That could be pretty cool," he said. "I could get a gospel quartet together and that would sound really cool." So I claim it now: if it happens, I told him to.
The drive home was accompanied by Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba. It was the best drive from Omaha I've probably ever had. My senses were tingling from the show, my mind sharp and alert. I've never been one for concerts (much to my wife's dismay), but seeing Bela Fleck along with such brilliant musicians makes me eager to see more and more shows. My standard now is exceedingly high, with the likes of Trace Bundy being one of few who will satisfy my musical performance hunger, but I am more on the look out for quality, unfamiliar sounds to sate my musical nature.