Alameda County Fair - Pleasanton, CA on July 7, 2001

It was a month shy of two years since we had seen Marty. Now the day had finally arrived and we were on our way. We left Reno at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning. It was the first trip we had taken since we last saw Marty at the Troubadour in Los Angeles and the Frontier in Las Vegas. It was the first trip we were taking in our new (used) Toyota 4 Runner. Over the Sierra Nevada's and through the Sacramento Valley to the now famous Silicon Valley and lower Bay Area. What a ride. The four hours might have seemed long had it not been for Marty on our CD player all the way there.

We arrived in Pleasanton about 7:30 a.m. and went straight to the fairgrounds. The gates did not open until 10:00 a.m. so off to breakfast we went. Not too far from the fairgrounds, we found a restaurant that served overpriced, not-so-good food. It was food though, and we were hungry. Breakfast down we were ready and back to the fairgrounds we went. We were still early, however. Since we already had our tickets, we were allowed in. Right away, Linda found the amphitheater where Marty was to play and we took our place first in line. We were now just 8-1/2 hours away from seeing Marty again. We knew that our friends and fellow Marty Fan Club members Deanna and Heather had plans to be at this show. They, however, did not know that we also had planned this event. The last time we had seen each other was at the Troubadour show in Los Angeles almost two years ago. We did not have to wait too long. There were familiar voices and a "Oh my gosh!!" We looked up to see Heather, Deanna and Heather's nephews walking towards us. What a joyful reunion we had.

As the day went on, more Marty Fans and Fan Club members continued to join our line. This was indeed a new adventure as we met other Fan Club members and made new friends throughout the day. Linda and I are very grateful to all of Marty's fans and Fan Club members. They helped make a long wait enjoyable and considerably shorter. Before we knew it, it was 4:30 p.m. and they were getting ready to open the amphitheater for seating. Shortly before 5:00 p.m., handicap seating began. Linda went ahead and secured our seating and the seating for Deanna, Heather and her nephews.

We were in and seated. Now the long wait began. There were to be two shows that night. One at 6:00 p.m. and another at 8:00 p.m. Finally 6:00 p.m. arrived. A local DJ showed up on stage gave a short announcement and announced MARTY STUART. There he was, the man himself, in the flesh and before our eyes. The two years disappeared as Marty and the Rock and Roll Cowboys began to play. The audience roared as Marty cheerfully bounced all over the stage. This was the Marty we all knew and had grown to love. The consummate performer and entertainer. Marty and the Rock and Roll Cowboys did not miss a lick. Marty and the Rock and Roll Cowboys sounded better than ever. It was hard to believe that 60 minutes had passed when the show was over. Then came the moment for which we had all waited. The announcement that "All Fan Club Members" come to the side of the stage for a Meet & Greet with Marty.

Marty, as always, greeted all of his fan club members with either a handshake or a hug. He took the time to talk and have his picture taken with every member there. Then at last it was our turn. Marty gave Linda a nice warm hug and a nice firm handshake for me. He listened, he talked. He took his time. It was sure nice to have Marty back. The next show was at 8:00 p.m. We barely had the time to get seated and comfortable before 8:00 p.m. Once again, shortly after 8:00 p.m. a local DJ comes on stage and announces MARTY STUART. Marty appeared on stage and once again the audience roared. This time though was to be a little different. He and the Cowboys played a couple of Marty's standards. Then a country classic and all of a sudden Marty was playing on the guitar that Brad was playing. Then Brad was playing on the guitar Marty was playing. Then they both simultaneously played on each other's guitar. What a sight and they did not miss a lick. No mistakes!! Just wonderful wonderful music. Now this was entertainment! This was Marty Stuart! They continued on playing classic after classic. The audience could not keep quiet.

When they closed the set, Marty took a bow and thanked us -- the audience -- for letting him and the band play the music he loves so much. Marty thanked us (his audience) for allowing him to just let it flow. I don't think that Marty realized how much he had just given all of us. He gave us a show and a performance like never before seen. He gave us Marty Stuart in his own element. The show continued on to last for almost a full 90 minutes. Marty was doing what Marty loves to do and it showed. Then it came -- the final song of the night. This one Marty let his audience select. When it was over, his audience again roared. Then he was gone. You could hear conversations amongst the audience about this performance. There was no doubt that he had just wowed this audience. As a final note Linda and I would like to thank all of Marty's Fan Club members for support they provided in a very difficult moment.

Review by John Ammons, Reno Nevada

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