Kansas City is famous for 2 things. Blues music and BBQ sauce which is fitting. All you can do there is eat and cry.
Dad told me that it was James Brown that advised musicians to always stop at Kansas City on tour because the audience reception always made it worth while and he was right. Kansas City people love a concert and will demand a 30 minute encore or even longer because after the concert, there will be nothing left in town to do. I’ve seen it myself. Every concert I’ve been to in Kansas City, the audience sounded like Johnny Cash’s at Folsom Prison with women. At every concert I’ve been to in London, New York and Tokyo, I’ve seen people looking at their watches. I’ve seen them calculating how they were going to get home and if the star of the show dared to do a second song for an encore? The audience would groan as if to say, “Another encore song? Really, Elvis?! I know you’re the king of rock-and-roll-come-back-from-the-dead but I’ve got an 8:00 meeting in the morning…”
Dad always wanted me to like blues music and I did. I thought it was hilarious, especially when white people sang and played the blue. They just took it too seriously. Everything bad that could happen to you in a song always happened to these people and it never let up. I could never tell which was funnier: a song that as it progressed the losses got bigger and bigger to a ridiculous extreme or when the singers listed losses in random order, giving the seemingly more mundane losses more weight while accidentally revealing the singer’s conceits and pettiness.
When I was in university and 19 years-old. Dad took me to BB’s BBQ. A Blues and BBQ joint. It’s the kind of place that had picnic tables inside and hard liquor in the back. It could never decide if it was a family restaurant or a place you could pick up an ill advised one-night-stand after you sent the wife home with the kids.
The night my dad took me there, there was an entire little league baseball team of 10 year-olds taking up two picnic tables directly in front of the stage and a few tables behind them were drunk coupless at the bar groping each other.
We sat at the picnic table adjacent to the little league team and inches away from the white band that was playing. There were a few other people sitting at our picnic table that we didn’t know. One was an older, Santa Claus in a Hawaiian shirt type sitting next to my dad. He and my dad tried to chat over music that was so loud, the wind from the speakers blew their hair ever so gently.
I tried to enjoy the show but I was just too young and too physically close to the band to do so. I was so close to the stage that one of the band members hit me with his guitar on his way down to the floor for his big solo which would have been really impressive if there weren’t so many picnic tables around and I was the only on who could actually see him. I looked less than impressed because I was mentally nursing the part of my leg the guitar hit. Since everyone was trying to see him but could only see me, I did my best poker face because it really did smart something awful.
At the break, dad went to the toilet and that’a when Hawaiian Santa leaned over to me, cocks an eyebrow and asked, “Does this kind of music turn you on?!”
I yelled back, “I’m hear with my dad! What do you think?”
After that, Santa talked to somebody else and now every time I hear blues music, my appetite disappears completely.