But down to business. I want to talk about when I went to see Freedy Johnston last night. I was very excited. I have been wanting to see him in concert since 1990 or so when I first heard a few tracks of his on a BarNone Records compilation album. The first opportunity I had, I was still underage, and he was playing in a bar. The next few chances, including once earlier this year, I missed because I found out about the shows only after he played. Yesterday about four o'clock I found out he was to be playing free at the Taste of Minnesota festival. I called Darcy and she agreed we had to go.
Freedy started the show solo, announcing that he has been on tour for two years solo, and tonight would be the first "band gig' in a very long time. Almost immediately after he began playing, a group of young guys wandered over to the edge of the stage, behaving like total fools. During his between-songs chatter, they pestered him to no end, and they made him nearly break up in the middle of a song by gyrating madly while he played. Darcy and I were at first uncertain as to whether they were drunk, stoned, or just total idiots. Soon they degenerated into outright heckling. The whole mood of the show was pretty laid back. It was a grassy area, people were on blnkets or chairs or just lounging in the grass, and these idiots were standing by the stage, ruining the whole vibe.
After a while, a security guard came through and talked to them for a few moments, but apparently they had done nothing realy wrong so they were allowed to stay, though nothing about them changed. It was pretty clear Freedy himself was tiring rapidly of their antics himself. At one point he even said "You'd best quit that motherfuckers." It was a family venue and he apologized immediately for cussing, but it was clear he was pretty pissed. I was pissed too. I didn't want to cause a commotion, but I was ready to go help them out of the venue, if anyone tried to remove them, and I think any of you who know me well know that I am fairly non-confrontational.
Finally, when he was playing his final song, a pretty one I think was called "Emily," they must have been making some sort of gestures or comments I couldn't hear, because Freedy said "I'm comin'down there for you," and then finished singing the song. Then he put down the guitar, jumped off the stage, and dived at the offending young hooligans. Mass chaos ensued for a moment, and I am not sure whether any actual blows were exchanged.
The consensus around the crowd, as I heard it, was that they were glad something happened, though they never expected it to come from onstage. Many of these people were of course loyal fans. The state police showed up, I believe to keep order and take statements, though we were concerned they might be there to make an arrest.
Then Freedy appeared back on stage, and profusely apologized for the incident. His band came out with him, and they played another song to somewhat make up for it. What song did they play? What else? "Bad Reputation."
I think that I will now always be able to say, when I listen to this talented singer-songwriter with a clear, honest voice, and people say they don't think it sounds "hard" enough for them: "Yeah, but Freedy really can kick some ass, too."