Silver Springs Amphitheatre - Silver Springs, FL on March 20, 1999

It all started at 7:00 a.m. I got up excited and ready to head for Silver Springs. I decided to wear my Marty white T-shirt -- the one with same as the album cover of "Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best," a pair of black shorts that goes to my knees, white socks and my high top shoes. I took along a black Harley Davidson hat to shade my eyes.

I ran and jumped into my car only to find that it would not crank at first. The battery was low on water so I filled it. Then I was off down I-75 north. I stopped only one time to get some diesel in my car then headed back out on the road. It took me about three hours, well almost. I got there at ten minutes before 10:00 a.m. Not bad driving I thought to myself. I paid the $4.00 for parking and found a loaded parking lot. Everybody was there to see him and I couldn't believe it. I thought the parking lot was going to be empty by the time I got there.

So I parked and hopped out of my car, walked around to the other side and got my plastic chair out of the back seat and headed for the entrance. It was cool for awhile, but it began to warm up very quickly and the air was so clean that I could even smell the water around me. I walked up and paid my entrance fee of $31.75 and walked on into the grounds. I had been still thinking of back in 1995 when there weren't very many people there and that the old stage was the same. Boy was I wrong in that!

As I rounded the corner of the grounds, I was met with a beautiful stage. In between two tall oak trees was the stage. It looked like a Southern Mansion with white and light green trim. The stage ran out into a curved row of hedges and a brick wall up to over my head a bit. There were reserved seats but I decide not to do that this time. In fact, I had a better time where I'd chosen to sit at.

The speakers were to either side of the stage, with three columns apiece forming a small triangle on both sides. The wall in front of me read, "Twin Oaks." As I gazed at the wonderful sight before me, I noticed this good-looking security guard. He was much taller than Marty. He had black hair, short cut, with his black security guard shirt and light bluejeans on. He wore high top shoes and a black cowboy hat with silver conches around it as a hatband.

I walked up to him and kidded about his standing on the wall to the backstage entrance. I asked if Marty was going to have a backstage meeting with his fan club and he said he didn't know but would find out. I smiled and said a "thank you" and returned to my seat.

There were three acts before Marty's show which turned out to be at 3:00 p.m. instead. I didn't mind. It was such a beautifully warm day and I was enjoying being away from the house.

Three o'clock seemed to drag by at first. It sprinkled once of rain but then disappeared and a cool breeze replaced it soon afterwards. I had all but forgotten my anger of the past week before being there. I began to chat with some of the ladies seated next to me and I believe they might join Marty's fan club. They were real interested in him and, the more I talked, the more they wanted to join.

Then it happened. The band strolled out onto the stage. The boom of music filled the speakers, "MARTY STUART VISITS THE MOON" echoed as my heart once more raced. Then he strolls out, wearing the same thing he wore at the Strawberry Festival -- the black with paisley blue shirt and the laced- up both sides white pants with his brown suede boots.

I rushed up to get in line -- me and the other lady I had been talking to -- for the picture taking. They let a few of us go at a time. I don't remember what the first song was because of my excitement of getting a picture of him.

At first he stayed way back from the outer edge of the stage, then I said "If he'd only get closer!" Somebody must've heard me as they yelled out, "Marty! We want to take a group picture!" He turns to the band and says, "Wait, wait, wait, somebody wants a group picture." So him and the band stroll out to the outer stage and then he says, "On the count of three. One, two, three!" All standing at the stage flash their cameras at once. Then he spins around and sticks his butt along with the band up in the air and says, "And don't forget to get this side as well!" I snapped a quick picture of that as well!

He then returns to the microphone. As I return to my seat with the lady, she asks me, "Did you get a group picture?" To which I replied, "Yes, a good one and one of their butts in the air too!" She laughed and said, "I tried to get a quick one before they spun around."

Marty starts off with the song, "Doin' My Time," a pick and smile as my foot began to tap to the beat. I whispered to the lady, "I like this song." She said, "What is it?" I said, ";'Doin' My Time,' he sings with Johnny Cash on this one."

The song ends and somebody asks for a guitar pick, to which Marty plucks one from the microphone stand and throws it out to the ladies in front of the stage. It falls short and lands on the speaker to which he comes out and hands it to her instead.

I'm now back up there at the stage again as he picks on poor ol' Travis Tritt. Someone in the crowd asks how he is doing to which Marty replies; "He's home drunk!" A round of laughter comes from the crowd which now stretches the length of the whole grounds all the way up to where the giraffes pins were.

He then does "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' " as the crowd cheers him on -- dancing up to the stage then back again. I'm in my chair watching about now, not noticing that I'm becoming more and more sunburn by the minute. That didn't seem to matter to me. I was enjoying the concert and the overly hot day. I knew now that it had to be at least 80 degrees; with the humidity it had to be at least 85 degrees.

Marty talked about getting an award from the Governor of his home State Mississippi and how I smiled he really deserved it! He also talked about how many fans would come up to him and ask how Johnny Cash was doing. So he said he went over to see him and told everybody there that he was doing much better or fine.

Only trouble with that is his expression seemed to be saying something else, but I guess it was just me. Just before he starts to play this song, he rubs his electric guitar up against the microphone stand, thus shutting it off. He looks down and starts to play the thing when he says, "What a minute something's wrong here." He tilts the guitar up to see if the thing is still plugged in, which it is, and then notices that he's some how switched the knobs off to his guitar. A bit embarrassed, he then turns them back on and grins evilly at the crowd, "Oh well."

Marty talked about how much he loved trains too. Then music began to echo once more as he strummed out the tune "Blue Train" another one of my favorites. The haunting sound of the steel guitar called out from underneath the Southern Mansion stage sending a chill down my spine. As he sang, I got to thinking more of picturing the train rocking along the tracks.

Marty then turned on the crowd with "Tempted" to which rocking echoes of him pounding out the notes on the strings of his guitar. I could see everybody with a smile and a tapping of the foot to his every move. The more he wiggled the more the ladies yelled.

In between songs, I had gotten up and walked towards the stage, He had done a Merle Haggard tune and one of Tom Petty's but my mind was on him. Marty's hair had the touch of gray with white streaks in it. My mind began to flood with thoughts of him, everything around me seemed to melt away and in my eyes he seemed to be singing just to me.

Marty began to joke about how many people showed up and that this was the best crowd he'd every encountered in Florida. Then he pops up and says this, "Yawl are a great crowd, I want to take all of you out to eat!" I cheered, "Yeah! Let's go!" "Out to a Waffle House, where you can eat all you want." Then he pauses, "I don't think Connie would mind just one Waffle House. I hope it doesn't get me into trouble. You know I'm supposed to be on a healthy diet." He had that worried expression in his eyes and face. I grinned, "Yeah, she finds out you did and she'll hang you."

Again I return to my seat. I had gotten a few great shots and was about to get some more when my film runs out on the first roll. I make a fast trot back to my seat as the good-looking security guard says, "Something wrong?" As I trot past I reply, "I ran out of film, but I do have another roll and will be back soon." Glad I took the extra film with me most of the second roll is of Marty. As I return to the line, the security guard leans over and say, "You know, I'd look good in those jeans." I reply, "Yeah you sure would, but I don't think the shirt would look very good on you." He's a real kidder I like that!

Marty takes out his mandolin and starts to pick slowly teasing the crowd with the next tune. Winking and grinning, he strolls out farther onto the edge of the stage. I don't think I got any of him with his mandolin, sorry guys, but he then cuts into "Oh, What a Silent Night." I just wanted to jump up and dance, but I can't dance and I would look like him just wiggling along the ground there.

Marty talked about George Jones getting out of the hospital and everybody cheered. And of his new album The Pilgrim and if everybody would please buy it when it comes out. I know I will.

He starts off with, "Red, Red Wine and Cheatin' Songs" which would do ol' George Jones justice to some of his cheating songs. Marty talked about all them coming over to be on the album as well. Just following that song he spun off into "Little Things." That give me gave me a giggle as to his height and size, it fit. Somewhere in the middle of things, his hair was beginning to get hot as he picked it up off of his neck trying to cool himself off. Marty joked about the giraffes, "Am I drunk or is there giraffes out there I'm seeing?" I laughed and said, "You're drunk."

I love the next song, "Hobo's Prayer" He talked about being down in Volusia County when he wrote this song. It brought tears to my eyes as it did for the two ladies seated next to me. I do hope he will put this song out as a single. He paused for a second as the crowd cheered and applauded, then he continued to pick on his guitar as the steel guitar made a crying sound as if a train was in the distance -- it's whistle calling out to you.

I applauded and yelled for that song, as he hands back his regular guitar and takes back up his electric guitar and starts playing "Now that's Country." He asks of the crowd, "How many of you are from the country?" There are several cheers from the crowd as he rocks across the stage playing with the band and then strolling back out onto the edge of the stage. I couldn't take it!

Once more, Marty asked for requests as several shouted out, "Hillbilly Rock!" Then in the reserved seats, somebody yells for a guitar pick for their grandmother. So Marty tosses it out but it falls onto the stage. So the grandmother starts to hop over the wooden railing to get the pick when Marty yells, "Whoa!" He calmly strolls over bends down picks up the pick and hands it to a lady just below him. She turns around and hands it to the grandmother whom smiles thanking him and returns to her seat. He's got a BIG heart for such a small body.

So the request is filled! Marty jams to his tune "Hillbilly Rock" dancing out and back and forth across the stage. As it ends, the crowd cheers, one of the K-Country 93.7 FM DJ's announces, "You want more of Marty?" The crowd roars now, as the cheers beckon him back out onto the stage for an encore of "Rocket Ship!"

I could not believe it! He finally gets an encore and would you believe a standing ovation for his performance! He deserved it and it was about time too!

That security guard comes up to me and says in between songs, "They will have a fan club meeting. " I smiled and told him thank you.

It was 20 minutes before 5:00 p.m. as I waited on the grass near the gate to the backstage. I had purchased another color picture of Marty -- the same one I had gotten at the Strawberry Festival only a few weeks before. It didn't take long until Mike shows up and says, "We're accepting anything of Marty's fan club. Backstage passes, fan buttons, fan club cards or backstage passes you got here from Silver Springs." I smiled and handed him mine and went on in.

Around the corner there were the two black buses and a box van, more of a U-Haul truck for their equipment. The line wasn't very long, but it was enough. I had brought along a gift for Marty as well. I had made a pair of earrings for his sister -- the dream catcher ones and two larger jewelry dream catchers for Connie. I told him, "The earrings are for your sister and these two are for Connie." He just looked me up and down and noticed the hat; "Harley Davidson Travis would like the hat."

I smiled and started to ask him about the tape and the poem I gave him. But, like last time, I got choked up and ended up whispering to him. Marty really understands, as he leans forward and says, "What baby?" I just about cried again, I tried not too but it happened yet again. I told him in his ear; "The tape I gave you that had my brother on it how did you like it and his belly laugh?"

Marty replies, "I loved it." with a big ol' smile on his face. I say, "And the poem I gave you, you know the 'Brother and Best Friend' about my brother?" To which Marty says, "I loved it too and I'm still enjoying it." I just about fell apart right in front of him as he says this phrase that I will NEVER forget for the rest of my life in a whisper to me" I love you." He has those puppy eyes of concern towards me. He then reaches out and gives me a hug as I close my eyes and hug him back saying, "I love you too Marty, so very much." I ended up patting him on the back on last time before I walked away.

The ladies behind me didn't understand and I figured he explained to them why I acted the way I did.

As for that security guard, he wanted to see the picture that I got signed and then I said, "If you like I can take your picture as well." He said, "Go ahead." but he was standing near Marty, "No I can't right here you're standing next to Marty and I'm not suppose to be taking any of him."

Marty turns around to see what I am doing, as the guard strolls over to one of the oak trees I say, "Ready?" then placing the bag of goodies and the picture of Marty on the ground between my feet, I snap a picture of him. I ask, "Oh by the way, what is your name?" To which he replies, "Robert." If there were any way of putting his picture into this review I would greatly love it. He was so sweet in helping me out and I said I would try too.

My anger left me, I felt like I could go on with my life. I needed to be alone and to go to the concert by myself. I found that I wasn't alone in my hurt but I had one of several true friends and that one was Marty Stuart!

Review by Dawn Watson, Lithia FL

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