Lake of the Torches Casino - Lac du Flambeau, WI on August 19, 1999

It turned out to be a 12-1/2 hour drive from Sedalia to Lac du Flambeau. There was a line of thunderstorms with some pretty impressive lightning across Illinois that we barely missed. Twice we had a few minutes of those horrendous downpours where you can't see a thing, but fortunately it did stop so we could keep driving. We got to the casino around 11:30 in the morning. We didn't get a room ahead, not being sure where we'd be, and the casino hotel was full since it was rodeo weekend, but the first town down the road had a whole bunch of motels and we had no trouble getting a room there. We had a shower, changed our clothes, and rested a while, and felt like new people.

We went back to the casino hoping to maybe talk to some of the guys, but we didn't see anyone except Ken and Jeff (crew bus driver), who were washing the buses. Marty walked by and said "hi" but he didn't stop. He said he'd been eating onions. And we saw Pat Katz and had a good time talking to her. We eventually went to the snack bar with Pat and got some food before the first show and, when they opened the doors, we went on in. The room was set up with rows of tables and we were assigned to a table, though we could pick any seat we wanted. For the first show we were on the left side, three rows back. Too far to get good pictures. Besides, we seemed to be on the main highway (*why* can't people get their drinks, go to the bathroom, and do whatever they do *before* the show starts?), and had to keep moving for people coming and going for at least the first half hour. The show started at 7:00 and was good, but it was very short so they could get in the Meet & Greet before the second show, which started at 9:00.

They played "High On A Mountain Top," "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," "Blue Train," "Tempted," "Dark As A Dungeon," "Burn Me Down," "Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain," "Red, Red Wine And Cheatin' Songs," "Hobo's Prayer," "Soldier's Joy," "Hillbilly Rock," and no encore. The line for the Meet & Greet was out in the hall, for which I was grateful because I think the table next to me had whole packs of cigarettes burning. There was so much smoke coming from there, and I had a terrible headache. It eventually went away when I got out where I could breath again! Pat was with us and, while we were waiting, Gary came out in the hall, so we talked to him for a few minutes until Mike stuck his head out the door and said "Come on, if you're coming!" So we said we have to go!, and scooted for the door. The line wasn't terribly long, and they were both in a great mood. When I got to Marty, with Ellie right behind me, of course, Marty looked at us, gave a huge grin, and said "Cookie Girls!" It made all those miles and hours worthwhile, just to hear that and see his smile!

We were only back out in the hall a few minutes before they started letting people in for the second show, so we went on in. This time we were on the far right but on the front row of tables, so we were right in front of Steve. This show was awesome! It was longer, which was great, of course, but the songs they did! They played "Rocket Ship," "Hey Baby," "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," "Are You Ready For The Country," "Till I Found You," "That's What Love's About," "Tempted," "Oh, What A Silent Night," "Burn Me Down," "Ring Of Fire," "Long Black Veil," "Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain," "Draggin' Around These Chains Of Love," "Now That's Country," "Hillbilly Rock," and, for the encore. "The Pilgrim" and "Western Girls." Wow!

Then people lined up for the second Meet & Greet, and we were going to go on in, as we have been with two shows, but I heard Mike tell someone ahead of us that if they'd been to the first M&G they couldn't go to the second one. Darn! So we put our things away, and just hung around talking for a while. Ken and Jeff came by and talked a while, and Ellie spent some time in the casino (no, she didn't win anything) and saw Les and Randy. We finally left for our motel around 12:30 a.m. or so, for a few hours of sleep before heading for Trempealeau.

Review by Margie Brodmerkle, Oakham, MA

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