Dumber than the average bear

On tour in the U.S. with David Kilgour in 1997, our crew was traveling by van with the equipment, and Georgia, James and I were following at a safe distance in a car.  It gave us the freedom to take scenic and culinary detours, and on our trip from Athens to Knoxville 17 years ago today we did both.  We lunched at the Dillard House, in Dillard, GA–where if I’m not mistaken, on a previous visit Joe was confused for Kurt Cobain–after which we headed deeper into the Nantahala National Forest, with plenty of time before we were due at Moose’s Music Hall.  Without warning, traffic on the two-lane road slowed to a crawl, and continued crawling–when it was moving at all, that is–for miles.  There were no cars in the oncoming lane, but it seemed a rash combination of dangerous and dickish to pull into it, so we waited.  And waited.  Somehow word reached us that a bear had been spotted near the road.  As interesting a detail as that was, it didn’t entirely explain the tie-up, not until we finally arrived in the greater bear vicinity and saw cars not merely pulled off the road for a sighting, but stopped in the road itself so people could get out to investigate.  We, on the other hand, wouldn’t give the damned bear the satisfaction of actually looking at it, and sped off as fast as we could.  (Had this happened today, when every single person has a camera and an insatiable appetite to share, I think we might have missed the show entirely.)  We finally emerged from the mountains, only to find ourselves once more bumper-to-bumper, this time due to Dollywood and its neighbors.

Adding to the excitement was that this was the only day we were available to play in Knoxville, so the promoter did something he ordinarily avoided, which was book a show on the same day that the University of Tennessee football team had a home game.  Delayed as we were, we arrived in Knoxville just as 106,656 UT fans were hitting downtown to celebrate their victory over Georgia.  It was bedlam.  But a short walk from the club, our car couldn’t have been more stuck if there had been a bear on the streets of Knoxville.  I let Georgia and James out of the car, instructing them to tell Joe I love him, as I couldn’t be sure I’d ever see any of them again.  Of course, none of us thought to warn the David Kilgour group (who loved scenery as much as the next band) about the bear, and they almost did miss their show.

Weddings can be stressful too, I’ve heard, though if there was any on Michelle’s wedding day, she does not mention it in her email:  My husband and I used your song “Our Way to Fall” for our first dance at our wedding.  We got married on October 11, 2003 in Massachusetts.