Darius Rucker Concert Fort Wayne Indiana

darius rucker

Polly and I drove to Fort Wayne, Indiana last night to hear country singer Darius Rucker in concert, along with David Nail and Eli Young Band. We had a delightful time. This was our first country concert. Prior to this, we attended a Matt Nathanson concert in Pontiac, Michigan and a Collective Soul concert at Pierre’s in Fort Wayne.

We stopped at our favorite restaurant, Mad Anthony’s in Auburn, before driving to Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. We arrived at the Coliseum, eighty minutes before the start of the concert. Parking cost $5.00 and we able to park fairly close to the Coliseum entrance. Tickets for the concert cost 45.00 each. We had great seats, on the floor, four rows back. There was what they called a pit section in front of us where ticket holders could stand. We noticed that most everyone in the pit section was much,much younger than us. Polly remarked that she couldn’t imagine standing for four hours. I laughed and said, I couldn’t imagine standing for a half hour let alone four hours. Such is the life of the old woman and her handicapped side kick.

The staff at the Coliseum was quite helpful. The man at the main entry was in a wheelchair. We talked briefly, and then I asked him if he was a carrot top when he was a kid? He laughed, and said yes. He had a complexion similar to mine, and both of us had a hair color that was a washed out reminder of the bright red hair we once had. He pointed us to the elevator, and after waiting for about five minutes, the elevator door opened and we got in. Polly hadn’t pulled me in quite far enough, so when the door started to close, it smacked the feet of my wheelchair. This was the first of what would be many smacks during the concert.

After we exited the elevator, we motored down a long hallway to the arena. As we entered, one staff member looked at me and said, handicapped? (I thought, what gave it away) He then pointed to an open section towards the back of the arena. He said that this is where all the handicapped people sit. (the back of the bus?)  I told him that we had tickets for section 204.  He said, oh, uh, ok and he directed us to our seats

About halfway  to our seats, we noticed what looked like a huge speed bump. This bump was where they ran the cables and wires for the soundboard, lighting, and audio-visual equipment. Polly feared she would not be able to push my fat ass over the bump, but with a little help, we were able to get over the bump with me still in the chair. Once we arrived at our seats, the staff was quite helpful with arranging things so my wheelchair could be parked properly.

To the left of us sat a young man with spinal bifida and his girlfriend. To the right of us sat several adult women, including one woman in a wheelchair. Sitting directly in back of us were some adult men and women who all knew each other.  The woman in back of me, by the end of the night, would prove to be quite a problem. As the concert wore on, and as the level of alcohol in her bloodstream increased, she started banging into the back of my wheelchair. Every bump sent a painful jolt through my body. I was already over medicated, knowing I would likely be bumped and jostled around, but this lady beat me like a dominatrix. About 3/4th’s of the way through the concert, I rolled my wheelchair a few inches forward, hoping to put an end to her thoughtless behavior. The woman just moved forward, and continued to bump my wheelchair. Polly said, at times, the woman was hanging on to the wheelchair handles. I suspect this helped her keep from falling over. (I tend to endure rather than having conflict in public)

The concert started promptly at 7:00 P.M. David Nail sang first. He did a wonderful job. Polly and I didn’t really know any of his music, so it was nice to be exposed to a new artist. Next up was Eli Young Band.(we thought Eli Young was a person, but the band is made of two men with the last names of Eli and Young)  My oldest son had already told us that Eli Young Band was a kick-ass band, and he was right. These guys could flat play. Mike Eli is the lead singer for the band. His vocals started strong, but towards the end of their hour set, his voice became quite raspy. Our only complaint about Eli Young Band is that the sound was not mixed properly, with the instruments overplaying the vocals. I worried that this problem would continue when Rucker sang, but whoever did the mixing for Rucker had everything mixed just right.

Darius Rucker was who we came to see, and he proved to be everything we hoped he would be. Rucker sang for about an hour and forty minutes. He sang  songs from his solo albums, along with a number of songs from his time as lead singer for Hootie and the Blowfish. Rucker’s vocals were crisp and we loved every moment of his concert. We sang along with many of the songs, especially the Hootie and the Blowfish songs.

Polly and I love listening to live music. There is just something about the live music experience that can not be duplicated at home. In many ways, the emotions that are stirred during a live concert are like the emotions stirred during a revival service. I whispered to Polly that the concert has a “religious” feeling to it, minus Jesus of course. The triune god of country music is alcohol, southern life, and heartbreak. But hey, they will all be in church on Sunday!

The only real negative came towards the end of the concert when a graphic of the Duck Dynasty guys was displayed on the video screen. The crowd erupted in wild cheers. Bruce? I lifted my right arm and hand into the air and flipped off the video screen. Polly laughed. I wanted everyone around me to know that there was least one liberal in the crowd. (Country fans tend to be white, working class,right-wing, and Republican, Ask the Dixie Chicks what happens when you cross this crowd)

After the concert ended, we waited until the arena was almost empty. I tend to panic a bit if we try to navigate the wheelchair though a crowd, so we usually wait until everyone clears out before we leave.  The workers came out and began putting the chairs away while we were sitting there. The workers were overwhelmingly African-American. During the concert, we saw two African-Americans, one of which was Darius Rucker. This was definitely a white man’s concert. As far as most of the workers being African-American? That’s a subject for another day. (quick, name all the non-white country singers you know)

All in all, Polly and I had a great time. Driving home was treacherous, adding a half hour to our 45 mile drive home. We were exhausted, well I started the day exhausted. Polly quickly fell asleep, and I, just like every other night, dreaded my least favorite time of day. Finally, around 4:15 AM, the drugs won the battle and I fell asleep. Was it worth it? It sure was. Polly and I were confined by the girdle of our religious beliefs for many years. It is nice to be able to go out on the town without considering what the Bible says or what would Jesus do. Since the sun is starting to set in West for us, we have a lot of things we want to do and experience. In many ways, Polly and I are now, for the first time, living our teenage and young adult years. Too bad we don’t have the bodies to match the time period!

Notes

Sadly, I have no pictures to share with readers. I called the Coliseum about their photography policy and they told me that I could bring a professional camera as long as the detachable lens was not longer than 3 1/2 inches. When we got to the Coliseum, there were signs posted that stated the artists were not permitting the use of any camera with a detachable lens. I tried to take some shitty pictures with Polly’s shitty cell phone, and, well, shitty + shitty=shitty. The cell phone camera was not able to process the ambient light properly. While this upset me at first, I finally settled down and realized that no-camera was a good thing. Sometimes, while I am busy focusing on getting a great shot of the “experience”, I end up missing THE experience. (I do plan to add a decent point and shoot camera to my wish need list)

I noticed that Casting Crowns, a contemporary Christian band, is going to be at the Coliseum in a few weeks. Tickets? 45.00/25.00 I laughed, and said to Polly, “ministering” has turned out to be quite lucrative for Casting Crowns. (one of our favorite groups when we were Christians)

Comments (18)

  1. Paula

    So glad you had a good time. We don’t go to a lot of concerts. Financial constraints, and they are often much too loud to suit my husband. He is very protective of his hearing and at age 66 can still hear a pin drip in the next county, despite decades in a factory. He usually carries ear plugs in his pocket and isn’t ashamed to use them to reduce the decibel level a few notches.

    As a teenager, I saw Paul Revere and the Raiders, and we’ve been to see George Straight, as well as locals you wouldn’t know. We probably had the best time at free open air concerts at UAFS, seeing Peter, Paul, and Mary, and Pete Fountain.

    Hope you don’t feel too bad today paying for the fun!

    Reply
  2. pilgrimsinthisworld

    love Darius Rucker.. So glad you had a nice time. No offense, but I remember thinking it was a very odd (to me) statement to say that it was nice to be going out of town without thinking what the Bible says or what Jesus would do. That is very foreign part of Christianity to me. I guess this was a part of your journey. . I’ve been to lots of concerts as a believer including when Darius Rucker was first breaking into country music and opened for Rascal Flatts. I don’t think I ever thought what does the Bible say about this.. or what would Jesus do. So glad you all had a good time and sorry about the wheelchair bumping and pain. :( I had a guy fall on my lawn chair at the Rascal Flatts concert. So much for moderation in alcohol consumption.:)

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      The bible has a lot to say about how a Christian should live their life. When we were Christians, we filtered everything through the Bible. We believed country music glorified things that were sinful and then attempted to put a Jesus bow on the package. At least rock musicians made no attempt to give the impression they were Christians.

      So, it nice to now just enjoy the moment and music without God and the Bible getting in the way. I do laugh when country artists give the “appearance” of religiousity publicly and then behind the scenes leave Jesus behind. I consider this to be a vapid, empty, Christianity that uses Jesus for marketing purposes. (They also use patriotism and the flag in the same manner)

      Reply
  3. Becky Rogers Wiren

    I knew Darius Rucker was a friend to the Duck Dynasty guys as they were in his Wagon Wheel video. Too bad. I enjoyed him also at a Rascal Flatts concert. BTW, I wish the Dixie Chicks would tour here, they’ve toured in Canada. I guess Darius Rucker gets treated so well that he doesn’t know how the OTHER blacks deal with all the crap. *sigh*

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Several of his songs dealt with racism, so I thought that was a good thing. Country music, in general, is a white man’s world. It betrays its southern roots as does NASCAR. It is how it is. Granted some of it has to do with what style of music African Americans primarily listen to. I doubt it is country music. I would love to know what Rucker thinks about this and what can be done to draw minorities into country music.

      Reply
  4. Tim

    Well our musical tastes differ, but we love live music too. Heavy Metal is pretty much a white audience too, at least here in the south. I caught an Amon Amarth concert in Baltimore that had a much wider spread in the demographics and one black fan in a wheelchair was slamming through the mosh pit and crowd surfed (in his chair) at least a dozen times.

    Most concerts I have attended had a “no detachable lens” policy. I have seen a few of the compact interchangeable lenses people slipped through since they look like a compact. I have tried shooting concerts with an enthusiast point and shoot (Samsung EX1) and while they have wide apertures and larger sensors, they all have such short telephoto they don’t do a great job either.

    Glad you enjoyed your show Bruce. Now you just need to expand your musical tastes to the other end of the spectrum! :-)

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I actually have broad musical tastes, but I can only handle heavy metal in small doses. On mist list of things to do…I want to attend a Seether, Stained, or Theory of a Deadman concert. Some of my sons are into heavy metal music and they will send me links that they thing Dad can hack! :)

      The Coliseum considered any lens under 3 1/2 inches non-professional,(I sure paid a professional price for it) but they let the artists set their own policy. The funniest thing was the staff trying to stop people from videotaping with their cellphone/iPhone. They were fighting a losing battle. :)

      Reply
  5. Tim

    What good sons you have! Bringing it back around to the theme of your blog; I always felt left out when people would talk about feeling “The Spirit Moving” during contemporary worship. I never felt anything except for a dislike for light rock music. I realized that what they described feeling was exactly what I felt at a good metal show, the emotion, the sense of oneness with the crowd, the energy. Nobody thought that could be God moving, though.

    The cool thing about being a metal fan in the USA is the opportunity to catch bands that sell out stadiums in Europe in small intimate venues over here. I don’t know that you want youtube links to videos on your forum, but I will send you a couple. Maybe you can surprise your sons!

    Reply
  6. Reverend Greg

    I’d have a heart attack paying $45 a ticket. To think that I saw Jethro Tull for $6.50 back in 1977! But from what I’ve heard is that bands used to do tours to promote the albums but now they make less off the albums and more on the tours.

    I don’t necessarily mind Christian groups making money on shows ( although I’d not pay $45!) because they need to earn a living. What I have a problem with is labeling it a ‘night of worship’ or a ‘night of ministry’ and charging for it. When CCM started out many of the acts played for a love offering. Now CCM is big business. They sell CCM to churches as a big way to make money, and the quality of music in worship has more to do with foot tapping catchy tunes (which are mostly bad for congregational singing) and repetitive lyrics.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      You provoked a blog post out of me. :) Added to my writing schedule is a post on my experiences with Christian singing groups. I have many “fond” memories. :)

      Reply
      1. Reverend Greg

        Oh no, what did I start,lol? Bruce, I don’t always like what you say but I admire your candor in letting us see the hidden side of Christianity. We Christians excuse bad behavior among our own yet rail against the world.

        Reply
  7. Pat f

    Lol. I’ll speak for the monolithic Black voice. (Yes, I prefer Black over African American). I like everything, except gospel. Lol. Many of us do like and appreciate Country Western. Ray Charles and Lionel Richie weave in and out of CW. Even Nellie attempted a rap CW duet. That didn’t go too well, but he tried.

    And Rock is woven through rap songs. It always has. Remember Aerosmith and Run DMC. Too Live Crew and Bruce Springsteen? And yes, Darius Rucker has quite a following. I suspect there’d have been more Black fans at a city larger than Fort Wayne. Anyway, traveling through Indiana just felt a little dicey to me, as a Black person. It felt like such a red state..but I’ve digressed. :)

    Glad you had a great time. You deserve it!

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I never know which term to use. I have the same problem with Latino / Hispanic / Mexican. When we lived in San Antonio I was not a white but an Anglo. Perhaps some day, long after you and are gone, these labels won’t matter any more. Here in racist, white NW Ohio, we have a long, long, long way to go.

      You didn’t mention Cowboy Troy? :)

      I am not suggesting we lose our racial, ethnic heritage. I think these things help us to be a diverse country, rich with traditions from many cultures. How boring would music be without racial, ethnic influences. The challenge for us is to maintain this diversity without racism and bigotry. While I think we have made “some” progress, racism and bigotry have become subtle and nuanced and this leads people to think racism no longer exists.

      Reply
  8. oneperson

    Awesome! (Except for that rude lady behind you. Aargh.)

    “The triune god of country music is alcohol, southern life, and heartbreak. But hey, they will all be in church on Sunday!” *chuckle*

    As I was reading toward the middleish of your blog piece, I got teary eyed. As you probably recall, my father lived his last 13 years with quadriplegia due to a car accident. But oh the adventures and life he and Mom continued to live. Not easy (of course), but filled with rich memories. (There are the painful memories too.)

    Hubby and I found live community theater after leaving the Org. Of all things, Hubby picked the most risque venue in town.

    Our first play was “Southern Baptist Sissies” which is about some young suppressed gay boys-into-men growing up in a Southern Baptist Fundamentalist church. The play is based on the playwright’s (Del Shores) life. It is funny and moving. Anyway, Hubby and I went on opening night and the place was flaming. lol

    The play and experience really had a deep affect on Hubby. As we left the play that night, he stated, “I think I’ve been wrong,” (regarding his then-still belief that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and is unnatural and possibly due to devil spirit possession, that last possibility being left over from our true believe days when we *knew* it was spirit possession).

    Live theater is so much different than the big screen. It doesn’t have the feel of live concerts (that group-high experience). Not sure how to describe it. Engaging? Tangible?

    So glad you and Polly has a wonderful time….and have more to come! <3

    Reply
  9. Jennesh

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now and I decided that I would finally “leave a pithy comment.” :)

    I’m glad you had fun at the concert! Ironically, I was at the coliseum two days before for a textbook conference. I live close enough to you to get the same weather reports– I’m an 8th grade English teacher in super conservative Amish country northern Indiana, although I’ve noticed that the evangelical Christians tend to be even more conservative than the Amish. Your blog gives me hope that some of my more bigoted, close-minded “Godly” students will someday do some critical thinking and stop using their religion to justify hating people. Hey, it could happen, right??

    Anyway, I decided to post this because I am thrilled that you flipped off the picture of the Duck Dynasty guy. That was the most awesome moment of awesome in your post.

    Thank you for blogging. I love reading your insightful, intelligent posts. Keep it up! :)

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Thank you for the kind words and thank you for FINALLY commenting. :) Polly and I have traveled through your neck of the woods many times. We love the pastoral setting, the well kept farms and gardens.

      Reply
  10. Stephanie

    As I said before, jealous! I really like Darius Rucker.

    Reply
  11. brbr2424

    I loved Darius Rucker in Hootie and the Blowfish. What a bold move for him to move to country music. He must be the first African American to try to make it in country.

    I love the imagery of you giving a finger to the Duck Dynasty guys. I just asked my son for his Duck Dynasty stuff and he gave me the season 2 volume 1 DVD set. Some people think that right wing Christian Dominionist stuff should be trashed. I don’t. I sell it on ebay or Amazon. The buyer was going to buy it and that’s one less dollar in the hands of Zondervan or the Duck Dynasty crew and one more dollar for me.

    My son said, he hadn’t finished it yet but then said nevermind he had lost interest. I asked why, was it because of the homophobic stuff. He said no it was because he found out they were fake. The professional family portraits of the families on the beach in their matching khaki pants and white shirts, the men with short hair and the women with beautifully colored and styled hair revealed too much behind the curtain for him. Their reality show is a fraud.

    Reply

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