Sunday, June 22, 2008
Singin' in the Rain
Just as the show started, so did the rain. Garrison Keillor kicked off the show by "warming up" and singing for about 15 minutes while roaming the audience. We were way in the back on the grassy lawn - quite comfortable, until the storm blew in. He started walking through the audience under the pavilion, singing the whole time. Then I couldn't believe it, but he opened the gate and started walking out onto the grass. It started to sprinkle, but he just kept singing as the people gathered around. He meandered through, stopping to sing to people and shake hands. He shook my hand and I was awe-struck. I couldn't remember what he was singing about. He was obviously making it up as he went along. He mixed in a round of "America the Beautiful," was singing about walking up the grassy knoll in the rain, and I sort of remember him singing about Elvis as I was shaking his hand. The radio station rebroadcasts the show the following day, so I figured I'd hear it again anyway. Well, no I won't ever hear it again because he was just warming up. When he made it back to the stage, it was precisely 6:00 and he welcomed everyone to "A Prairie Home Companion," broadcasting live from the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
The entire cast was wonderful. They are all so good at improvising. They had obviously intended to base the show around a beautiful, sunny day in Ohio and did an amazing job of fitting in jokes about the rain and the loud claps of thunder. At one point the power flickered out for a minute or two. He joked about that and wondered what the folks at home were hearing. But it was quickly restored and the show went on. They ended up opening the gates and inviting everyone to come in out of the rain as the storm worsened.
I was too far from the stage to get a decent picture of the set. Anyone who has seen the movie would recognize the house with it's front porch. The lighting changed throughout the show, with a gorgeous full moon shining above while he was reading the "News from Lake Wobegon." The music was incredible, from the stage musicians, to Jorma Kaukonen's amazing guitar, and the Wailin' Jennies harmonies.
After the show was over, they performed a few songs over again, apparently to fill in where the power went out and other technical glitches, so that the rebroadcast would be flawless. I hope we can go again sometime. The kids were quite jealous, so we'll definitely try to go again. Any kids that are interested in public radio deserve a chance to see the show.
Blossom Music Center is a beautiful location. The Tom Petty concert was sold out for tonight, but I'm glad I'm not sitting in the grass because it is storming here again! We were a bit damp, but had a wonderful time. We enjoyed a delicious dinner afterwards and I managed to get a picture of a double rainbow, making for quite a memorable anniversary!