Johnny A. One Longfellow Square Portland Maine 2-4-2012

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7 fév. 2012, 15h40m

I woke up in dull light and tried to focus my eyes through the window on the opposite side of the room. I gazed a second as the weather moved in my line of vision and out loud I said “Oh crap, it’s snowing”!

Any other morning I would be more then happy to see the snow; I would love more snow, just not ‘today’. I am looking forward to see my friend Bonnie for her Birthday and going into Portland to have Thai food and to see Johnny A.

It did look nice to see a new coating of white over the ice, sand and dirt, though we must be very careful walking on that, I thought as I peered out and then proceeded into the shower. As the soapy scents of lemon verbena woke up my senses, I walked back to my room rubbing a towel on my head and looked to a brighter light spilling on to the floor. Beams of light from the rising sun were sifting through the trees that lined the field as well as mark the steeper grade that encircles this valley. I was looking out my window again and getting mesmerized in the sparkle the flakes produced as they gently danced through the rays of sunlight. They were like in a dream moving in slow motion giving brilliant radiance as they past through the light. I had to stand and admire the beauty before me; for it certainly would not last.

I stepped out with the dog and the snow was now barely falling and the valley was now full of warm sunshine. I admired the shiny downy crystals blanketing all the hard ice beneath. My dog, Sister slipped over boulders and snow banks as she made her way into the woods. The sun was in my face sharing its warmth as I head back to get ready for my violin lesson. The sound of the kettle was heard before the door opened and the warmth of home greeted me as I entered. Lizzy was ready, which was a welcomed surprise. She cleaned off the car and got it started as I made my choffee which is a delicious hot drink I concoct each morning adding hot chocolate and pumpkin pie spice to my coffee.

With lesson behind me and new techniques to practice in my head I put it away and packed a bag with my ticket voucher, a Johnny A. cd and some gifts for Bonnie. I was on my way to Maine, as I listened to Keb Mo playing and singing to me from my player as I was enjoying the drive on such a gorgeous day. Memories pass through me as I go by many familiar spots thinking of driving this road to go to work when I lived in Maine. As I travel through Cornish I think of all the times I had walked here and frequented the shops. There are some of the best antiques in this little town and maybe tomorrow I will stop.

I arrived at Bonnie’s with welcoming hugs and excitement of our time we get together. We get updated on each others what’s been going on and share sentiments around her kitchen table with munchies and a cool drink. Time passes as we converse and we get ready to go about our intentions for the evening. It’s not a long drive and we got lucky finding a free place to park right between the Thai restaurant and the music venue. We bundle up and walk a few blocks among the other city dwellers, past the man yelling his sermon to anyone needing to be saved; I just smiled with my own confidence to him, for I know there is a superior light upon us and I felt warm.

The Thai food was yet again delicious and I tried to eat every bite with my chop sticks, but my stomach just could not fit it all. My mouth was bursting with wonderful flavors of lovely wilted bright green basil and pad prik sauce that coated my Fancy Chicken and vegetables. Bonnie’s Drunken Chicken left an aura of heat that was welcome in my mouth. I love trying different dishes but am still partial to the green curry and the sweet hot of the mango curry. But I am happy with a full belly of delicious decadence. Bonnie even asked for another order to go.

We walked back the way we came and dropped off our food in the car. Just another couple blocks to Longfellow Square. It was all lit up with red lights through the trees that surrounded Henry Wadsworth for which the square was named. The venue was on the corner and seemed to be full of concert goers. We entered and were asked if we were picking up tickets, so we got right up to the counter and got our hands stamped. We followed our way to the door leading to the stage. As I walked in and down a couple stairs, I was amazed to see such a small room. The chairs were lined up so close to the stage you can rest your feet on it. We chose two seats on the aisle in the second row and could see everything. I thought that when I saw him at the Blue Ocean that we were close in a small club, but this could be his living room. I sat happily with a smile and was comfortable. All us fans were actually fanned out around the stage in a wedge shape with the point hidden behind a white screen that hung behind the instruments that were ready and waiting. The crowd grew as we sat there and it got close, but we still could see perfectly.

The lights dimmed and the screen began to show us a variety of performers that are coming here with dates and video clips. It is very affordable and it’s non-profit. They have a bar in the foyer and also sell coffee and baked goods. They have volunteers working here to help keep costs down and many patrons are taking advantage of going to the bar themselves as I see many mixed drinks and bottles in hand.

My patients have triumphed and the door at the side opens, and in comes the band as the crowd applauses their entrance. Johnny came onto the stage following his drummer and bass player and as he spoke to his audience, he stood tall with his Malden image to make up for his stature. He went from chewing his gum, to putting on a face of concentration as you melt into those velvety tones caressing your soul. We transcend into a groove state as he played the smooth tones on his Gibson. As he meticulously fingered the strings, the guitar was his extension to his soul and it sang out beautifully through every stroke and strum and the vibrato pulsated into his admirers. I felt the pulsation travel from Johnny’s guitar, it came up from the floor and took hold of me as it climbed and it entered me, for I could not be still. My body moved in time as I kept the beat flowing. He played some recognizable melodies from my collection and some that should be. He spoke of concert going at a young age and how privileged to see artists that we can never see again. Jimi Hendrix was a huge influence and he played his version of ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ electrifying! The Beatles also left a mark on Johnny A. as he played ‘The Night Before’ his way, and it was a very good way. So commonly known by most but with a Johnny A. style all his own.

He played on to awe us as he spoke through the three guitars he had with him. I especially enjoyed his version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and like thinking he was playing it for me to add to my collection of this piece done by numerous musicians. ‘O yeah’ was played for us to sway in our seats too and my toes were tappin in rhythm with the rest of me. I looked and saw Bonnie swayin and wearing a smile on her face too.

‘Two-Wheel Horse’ began and I sat chair dancing, I was just loving it. Johnny kept making comments through the show about not being able to have an alcoholic beverage on stage. Are the people in the front row allowed to have their drinks sitting on the edge of the stage? They quickly disappeared. Why is there another stool on stage? he asked the guy up in the sound room. While the stool was moved to the floor off to one side, it gave a better view to the woman who sat in front of us. People shouted out answers and comments all evening and cheered on the band. He went on to play a Zeppelin medley that everyone seemed to love. The drummer (Ron Stewart) and the bass player (Jesse Bastos) both where highlighted and showed us some fantastic talents. The room was buzzing all night with sounds of affection for the pleasure and joy being received. He again mentioned not being able to have a drink on stage, so I took this as a hint for someone to get him one and I did. I came back from the foyer and handed Bonnie her coffee and as he looked at me walking toward that stool no longer on the stage, I held up a Grey Goose with soda and lime and then set it on the stool. I had a nice cold water. More remarks from the crowd made sure Johnny knew he had a drink.

In agreement with the crowd, Johnny started a sing-a-long. Every time the song reached its hook, Brown Sugar was sung out load by the participating crowd. I saw Johnny’s lips moving, but heard only the sound of his guitar; the crowd was quiet until that hook rounded again. I would say everyone had a good time as time flew by. I was surprised when he didn’t come out for an encore as the house lights came on. We sat and waited for him to come to greet the stragglers wanting pictures and autographs. I was waiting to purchase his DVD/CD ‘One November Night’ which he did sign for me. Bonnie and I zipped up and faced the cold walk to the car, it wasn’t too bad, the air felt good to me and I unzipped a little. As we opened the car door the aroma of Thai food escaped into the night and into my nostrils, and I enjoyed it again. We listened to the CD as we drove back to Bonnie’s and she laughed when I made the car shake while I sat dancing again in my seat, I knew that would get her attention and we both chuckled.
We stayed up chatting more until I started fading and off to bed I went to have good dreams and restful sleep.


  • johnTMcNeill

    quite a night, huh? Did the Grey Goose get ya busted for contributing to the delinquency of a musician? I bet if you had given him the Thai food he would have given you both a signed CD for free! Ya gotta think about these things, woman!...:)

    7 fév. 2012, 16h37m
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