Trempealeau Hotel - Trempealeau, WI on August 20, 1999

Our day started with a 4-hour drive to Trempealeau, arriving around 2:30 p.m. in the little river town of 1,000 people. Marty's crew bus was already there and they were setting up and doing sound check as we checked into our room and then ate lunch on the patio. As we were eating our late lunch, Marty's bus pulled in (YEAH)! Mike got off the bus first, followed later by Steve, Gregg, and Gary. As we walked around town, we saw Brad looking for a touch-tone phone. We told him we'd offer him ours if we had one, but our room didn't have one. I think he found one in a bar down the street. Even though we didn't see Marty, it was a good feeling knowing they were here. Margie and Ellie, and Pat Katz and her friend had followed the bus from Lac Du Flambeau, so they all arrived then also. Now we just had to wait a few hours for the music to begin.

This was an outdoor concert. Pretty small stage with a cement dance floor in front. Grass areas to put lawn chairs on. They set up a food stand and a couple beer stands in the back. Since we were early, we got to put our chairs any place we wanted, but were warned not to sit in the front row as people would be dancing and we could see better from farther back. We took the good advice and sat about 7 rows back. We had our chance to sit in the front row, but didn't and I'm so glad. The rowdy crowd invaded the dance floor, and the drinking, yelling, etc. would have been distracting. So for once I can say I'm glad we weren't in the front row.

The opening band was called Rode Hard. They played 2 sets and in between there was a "what would you do to meet Marty" contest from the local radio station. There were 3 acts. Two girls dressed as pilgrims and stomped grapes, a pregnant girl drew a face on her tummy, and a couple who sumo wrestled (the girl was the sumo and the guy was in her lingerie and shoes). I think Reneé said the pregnant girl won, but I think the sumo couple won. They sat in front of us, and the gal put on a (drunk) show of her own. There was also a contest to win The Pilgrim CD. Anyone not wearing underwear could go backstage and prove it, and win a CD. They gave away
about 10 of those. I wanted Kevin to do it, but he said "we already have the CD." He's just to shy to do anything like that.

We decided to visit the merchandise table and Nick eyed Gregg's drumsticks right away. So we bought a pair. Gregg was standing right there so we showed him and he said they were used (they look like it) and that he signed them already. I tell you, that was the best thing. Nick played the "air drums" while he sang to every single Marty song through the whole concert! I had to calm him down a couple times as I thought he'd hit people walking by. He was really getting into it!

Finally about 9:30 it was Marty Party time! Marty had on his black jacket with pink insets, but took it off about 3 songs into it. They opened with "High On A Mountain Top." This is one of my favorites, but I like it better when he plays mandolin on it. Then Marty asked for a "Well........" and guess what? We didn't s*ck! So he sang "Whiskey," then "Blue Train." At this point I took Nick up to the front to get a closer look. We couldn't get very far so after 1 song we went back to our seats. They did "Dark as a Dungeon." Only did 2 songs from The Pilgrim: "Sometimes The Pleasures Worth The Pain" and "Red, Red Wine......" (extended version). He told everyone to say "Pilgrim" all together now. They are both Nick's favorites, so I'm glad he sang them but really wanted to hear more new music. The crowd just wasn't that kind of crowd. They wanted rowdy, so Marty gave them what they wanted. "Now That's Country," "Tempted," "Little Things," and "Hillbilly Rock."

He introduced Pat Katz and told of the fan club starting in Wisconsin. Then he played "Ring of Fire" for her. She stood up by the stage during the whole show ,along with Margie and Ellie. I know they were glad when the show was over as they were getting squashed all night. The guys came back for an encore of 2 or 3 songs, ending with "Western Girls."

For the Meet & Greet, Marty stood by his bus door and we lined up along and behind the bus. I'd say there were maybe 50 people or so. He changed into his long-sleeved white shirt. I said "Hi" and gave him a couple pictures of us with him from Fan Fair to sign. I told him we love The Pilgrim and he really lit up, especially when Kevin told him Nick knows the all the words to it. He talked to Nick a minute while he signed both of the drumsticks. He actually printed his name on them. That's one autograph you can read! Kevin had him sign the close up fan club picture and a Trempealeau poster. We joked about Nick now having Gregg's drumsticks so now he needs a Marty guitar. Marty told Nick "talk your mom and dad into gettin' you one of those new Marty Fenders!" He thanked us for coming. I got my hug and when I walked away, I'm telling you, my legs were weak! I just melted for a minute.

We were ready to go up to the room but Nick just wouldn't leave until the last bus pulled away. So we watched all the activites of packing up the equiptment and the guys chatting, etc. The first bus pulled away, but Pat Katz was on Marty's bus with him so it wasn't until about 12:30 a.m. before they finally rolled away. Nick waved his drumsticks to Marty and the guys as they drove off.

Despite the crazy crowd, it was a great night with Marty. If we got one good picture, we'll be lucky. Of course I forgot about the cologne thing too. Just Eau De Marty is all I smelled. I'm with you Reneé. How does he sweat so much and not smell bad? When we pulled out of town the next morning, the clean up crew was in full swing, cleaning up all the beer cans and litter. I'm sure it took them most of the morning. I really don't like exposing Nick to such rowdiness, but he was so into Marty, (and his drumsticks) I don't think he really noticed what was going on.

Hope you enjoyed my review. The songs might not be in exact order and I'm sure I left out things but hopefully between Reneé and I, you felt like you were almost there with us. Can't wait until the next show.

Review by Lori Shirley, Boone, IA

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