It’s official! A News Cafe readers are the luckiest readers in these here parts. This week, once again, A News Cafe, Jefferson Public Radio and yours truly, the Mistress of the Mix, team up to give away a pair of front row tickets to see and hear another spectacular performer at the Cascade Theatre. So read on, give the Nevillecentric playlist a listen, and comment below to enter to win.
I’ve had the rare opportunity to meet, even if only for a few brief moments, some of the most amazing and talented performers in the world since JPR restored the Cascade Theatre. Sometimes I’m lucky enough for that meeting to be a 15 minute conversation about buying funeral plots, as was the case with Chris Isaak, sharing an entire meal together (the Manhattan Transfer), or sharing the stage for an entire song (when Pink Martini invited me up for their encore). But mostly my moments are nothing more than a quick handshake (if that) just before I run out on stage to get you excited about upcoming shows (you do know Peter Frampton is coming next Spring, right? And Foreigner? And Kenny Rogers?) and thank our sponsors.
That was pretty much the case the last time Aaron Neville brought his amazing voice to Redding a couple of years ago. He came up the stairs, said hello to me, and then I turned around and ran out for my 2 minutes alone with ya’all.
I’m really looking forward to Aaron Neville’s next appearance on the Cascade Theatre stage on December 21st. Not just because of the distinctive quality of Neville’s voice, but because I’d really like the opportunity to thank him for being so willing to go on the road during the holidays. I have to really respect someone who’s willing to venture out to entertain the demanding masses (that would be us) just a few days before Christmas.
Being on the road ain’t easy. You’ve probably seen those big buses that hug the alley behind the theatre during a show. That’s not just a means of getting around for most of the performers who grace the stage of the Cascade. That’s home. Sometimes for months at a time. Living on a bus is just part of the necessary evil of being a star performer on tour.
I’ve lived on a small island before. It was just me and a few thousand other people who tended to get pretty grumpy in the winter when the weather was bad and there was nothing to do but sit inside, and we just saw the same faces day after day. Even though my island was 30 miles long and a few miles wide, it felt so small in the winter, that being stuck there was a slow suffocation.
Now take that small island claustrophia and put it on a 40 foot bus with one bathroom, and send it out on the road in the middle of December, from Oklahoma through Texas, to Arizona, and then up I-5, for 4 shows in one week. That’s Aaron Neville’s life right now. Taking the same path as Santa Claus, pretty much, just a few days before Christmas. Maybe he’s breaking trail for the big guy in red.