Washington County Fair - Wyoming, RI on August 14, 1999

I got there not long after the gates opened in the morning because it was bring-a-chair general admission. It was nice to have only a two-hour drive to get there! This is a little country fair, and it's a pretty place. Everything is tucked in among the trees. Ellie was coming later with her mother and a friend, as was Pat Johnson and her sister, and Lori Goss and her friend and daughter. Another friend, Nancy, came with me this time. There were several other friends of ours there as well. The surprise of the day was when Glenda and Clarence arrived. They drove in from Ohio since there were two shows. It was great to see them again!

There was very little activity for a while, but eventually the bus pulled in. Only the crew was there. They got off, we said "hi" to Les and Randy, and they went to work. I said "hi" to Ken, but he had to take the bus out again to pick up Marty and the band at the airport. The first show was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. 1:00 came and went, 1:30 came and went, no bus, and we were wondering what might have happened. 1:45 came and went, 2:00 came and went, still no bus, and now we were worried that something was wrong. (For those who haven't heard it yet, at the Rising Sun, IN show the guys told us that they had gotten two hours out of Hawaii, returning from that show, when the plane lost an engine. They had to turn around, dump the fuel, and go back for an emergency landing. Much too close a call for Marty and our guys!) Finally, a little after 2:00 they arrived, and we breathed a sigh of relief! In a few minutes Marty and the band were on stage, and almost the first thing Marty said was "We're glad to be here! After being on U.S. Air this morning we're glad to be anywhere. They need 'em some new airplanes, is what they need!"

They played "Rocket Ship," "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," "Buckaroo," "Tempted," "Blue Train," "Burn Me Down," "Oh, What A Silent Night" (with a bass solo!), "Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain," "Hobo's Prayer," "Hillbilly Rock," and the encore was "Now That's Country" and "Western Girls." After "Tempted," Marty commented that he'd just realized they hadn't had breakfast yet, "Y'all got anything to eat?" Which led into corn dogs and the fact that Johnny Cash is cooler than corn dogs! And as he scratched his head after introducing the band before "Burn Me Down," he said "I got a itch, you think I got fleas?" I've asked Steve several times about their not doing the kick on "Burn Me Down" all the time anymore (he said they get tired of it). Well, at the first show in RI they all kicked good and high, and Steve looked straight at me and said "I kicked!" It was so funny!!

Then came his big moment, as he said he wanted to do a song for his wife, Connie, as today is her birthday. "She's 73 years old." Then he laughed and said, "Don't tell her I said that!"

As usual, the Meet & Greet was right after the show, so we hustled through the trees to get in line. I had a poster from the Akron, OH show two years ago that I never had signed, Mike commented on it and he and Marty looked it over, I got my hugs, and all too soon I was back outside the fence again. Some of the group went back and sat down, and some of us went looking around...and we ran into Brad, Gregg, and Steve. We chatted with them a few minutes, until Mike came looking for them and hollered "Rock & Roll Cowboys, come on!" Then we had until 9:30 p.m., so we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening talking with everyone and looking around.

The second show started right on time, and it was great!! They played "Country Girls," "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," "Tempted," "Blue Train," "Are You Ready For The Country," "Dark As A Dungeon," "Burn Me Down," "Red, Red Wine And Cheatin' Songs," "Hobo's Prayer," "Long Black Veil," "Soldier's Joy," "Rocket Ship," "Hillbilly Rock," and the encore was "The Pilgrim" and "Hey Baby." When Marty came back out for the encore, he said he'd been told that he played there as a teenager with Lester Flatt but that he didn't remember ("oh, well"). Then he said "We've got some fans that traveled all the way from Ohio and there's some folks from Massachusetts that are part of our fan club. That's a long way from home. I appreciate all of you coming. This song's for you." And then he played "The Pilgrim." It was an awesome moment, to have him pick me and Ellie out like that with Glenda and Clarence and play a song for us. (And that's not my ego talking, saying he meant us, since of course there were other people there from Massachusetts; but we were sitting with Glenda and Clarence and several others commented on it and said he was talking about us, too.) It's a little ironic, though, that he should mention us when we were only two hours from home when in a few days we'd be driving over 4,000 miles to Missouri and Wisconsin to see him again!

After the show we gathered for the Meet & Greet again, and this time there were so few people that Mike wasn't even looking at cards as we went in, though I don't think there were many of us he didn't know! I saw Marty and got my hug, and talked to Gary for a minute, but then we had to go back outside the fence again. Ken was there. I did get to talk to him for a while and Brad came out and talked for quite a while before they left. And then, for a change, we actually got to go home the same day as the show!

Review by Margie Brodmerkle, Oakham, MA

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