John Ascuaga's Nugget - Sparks NV - May 13-17, 1999
Sunday, May 16, 1999 - Day 4
Today was just a lazy, sit-back, catch-our-breath kind of day. Went over to get pictures developed and stopped at Circuit City to pick up a tape recorder just in case this interview came to pass. On our way back we stopped for lunch. We ate and talked. Heather, Leah, and Dee are great gals. We had an enjoyable time and Marty stories were aplenty. We went back to the hotel and made our plans for the evening. I was beginning to get nervous about the interview so I thought I better write the questions down in case I made a total fool of myself.
Well you know the drill.... Glenda and Clarence were in line when I got there. The rest came shortly thereafter. Someone is always standing in line while someone else is going to the bathroom or getting something to drink. Jamie and I go and, when we get back, the girls tell us we missed Marty going in and he stopped to tell them "hi." That's the way it usually goes for me. When my ship comes in, I'll be at the airport!
A sign had been put up... Bertha and Angel were getting the night off. Not that I don't like like them, but a little elephant goes a long way. More waiting. Mike walks by stops to say "hi." I asked him if he remembered about my talking to Marty and he got a funny look on his face and said, "Yeah but some special guests came in for the show tonight and Marty will be spending time with them after the show so it doesn't look good. You'll recognize them and they might get up and sing." I said, "Okay thanks anyway." I don't know how many emotions can go through a person at any given time but I felt them all. The girls all knew I was disappointed and kept telling me everything would work out, but I was in a blue, blue funk! As show time got closer, I told myself "shake it off.... you can't let your last night be a bummer!" Finally showtime.
I think Tony D'Andrea did a little longer show since the elephants weren't there. He was still pretty funny even if we had heard most of the stuff for three nights. Again he said what a great guy Marty was and to enjoy the show.
Tonight Marty is in black pants and a deep royal blue shirt, black coat with red appliqued stitching. He opened with "High On A Mountain Top." He said, "Did y'all like Tony Deangelo?" One of the guys said "nope." Marty said "Deandera?" Again, "nope." Marty said, "Man I can't get his name right but he's who I get my hair from!" (This guy had wild hair that stuck out everywhere!)
He did "Whiskey" and he let us sing along and said, "Hope y'all gamble better then you sing!" Then he did the ex father-in-law Johnny Cash story and "Blue Train," "Tempted," "We Are The Lonely."
He got his mandolin and started to play and.....no sound. He said, "Plug me in" But he was plugged in. He wiggled the plug... nothing. He looks back and Randy is frantically switching plugs, plugging and unplugging. Marty says, "Well sometimes you just gotta take a break!" He then lays down on the floor and holds his legs straight up in the air! We lost it. At last the problem was fixed and he did "Dark As A Dungeon" and "Burn Me Down." Then he said, "There is a special guest here tonight. She's been on the road for ten days and she came here to rest. She has sang on a couple of my records and we've known each other for a long time and she knows what country is all about, and we've never had a fight. Please make welcome my sister......Pam Tillis." She was in the balcony. The place erupted, but she didn't sing.
He then said he had some fans that traveled from Ohio and put the spotlight on Glenda and Clarence. He asked her how many shows they had been to and she said "320." He said "I haven't even been to 320 of my shows!" Then he puts it on us and says, "How many you been to?" We stammer and stutter and he says "463 huh!" and just laughs.
He introduced the band and told the Pilgrim story, left while the guys played "Jailhouse Blues"...then Emmylou....then he's back and does "Red, Red Wine and Cheatin' Songs," "Hobo's Prayer," "Reasons," "Draggin' Around These Chains of Love," guitar jam and "Hillbilly Rock." Again we are on our feet and he comes back with "Western Girls." And all too soon it is over.
Mike came out and said, "Hang on, he would be out," so we started a M/G line. Again only 8 of us. There was an older couple sitting in a booth and Mike told them to come on back. As they passed us the man said, "We promise not to keep him too long." We said, "Take your time. We'll wait." We sat down at a table to wait. I had brought the albums with me and was trying to decide what one I wanted him to sign when he came out. He stopped over at Glenda and Clarence first and talked to them a few minutes.
He walked over to us and said, "Oh my God, where did you get these?" I said "At a used store here." He picked up each one of them and said, "How much did they pay you to take 'em?" I said "I was thrilled to have them." Still looking at them, he said "Look at my hair and that bandana. When I put them on Lester said 'Marny,' Lester always called me Marny, 'you can't wear that.' I said 'Why not' and he said 'I don't know why not so I guess you can.' " Mike had walked up and said, "Yeah you were the hippie of the group.....'Marty Van Zant'!" We all laughed.
Marty looked at another one and said, "Wow look at my mandolin....how pretty and shiny it was. Not a scratch on it." I said "Is it the same one?" He grinned that Marty grin and said, "Yeah, the same one. One time I came in and saw Johnny Cash scratchin 'JRC' across it and he had put a big cross on it. I said, 'What are you doing to my mandolin?!!' And Johnny said, 'I put that on there so you won't ever forget the Lord.' I told him, 'Well I can remember him without you scratchin' up my mandolin!!' " He signed all three of them and asked us how long we were staying and we said we were leaving the next morning. He said, "Then the rest of the shows are canceled!" He gave us a hug and thanked us for coming and hoped we had a good time. We told him we did and we would see him at Fan Fair. He left and we just sat a few minutes to absorb it all. What a fantastic time we had.
We went out to the bar, got a drink and talked a while. I was still bummed about the interview and the gang was trying to cheer me up when I heard this little squeaky voice (from the Christmas special) in my ear....."Don't be sad Sheila. It will be okay!" And there is Steve with a big ole grin. I busted out laughing and felt a lot better. He is a sweetie. I said I was gonna take my records up to the room, and I would meet them back at the bar.
Now I had every intention of doing just that but... as I passed this slot machine, I swore it was callin' my name. I sat down for just a minute. I don't know how long I was there but Jamie came up and said "What are you doing? We've been worried and Pam Tillis is over here talkin' to us!" I said, "Well help me cash in my winnings!" I had $400 and had cashed in $300 before she got there and had played back $200 so I really was in the chips! We went back and Pam was just leaving. The rest of the gang got to meet her but I, as usual, was at the "airport"! We talked a while and made plans to meet for breakfast to say goodbye. We could hardly believe it was almost over..... or was it?
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