Monday, August 5, 2013

Past My Bedtime

The other day, my husband broke all the long-established patterns of our social life and booked a reservation, ON HIS OWN, without asking me...that is, independently, without consultation with the CEO of our little outfit...that is to say, moi.

The Great Deferrer displaced the Great Decider.

It seems he had an overwhelming urge to set foot out of the house, after dark, to attend a lively evening at the good ol' Horseshoe Tavern in beautiful downtown Toronto...well, at Queen and Spadina.  The 'Shoe', as it is affectionately known to its many fans (among which I am not regularly numbered) is a rundown, albeit 'legendary' venue which features touring live entertainment on a tiny stage at the end of a large open room, half of which has scattered tables and stools, the other half, ample standing room in which to sway to the music while clinging to your beverage of choice. The room is painted black, and it's just as well.  You wouldn't want to see anything stuck to the floor, walls or tables, believe me.  The ductwork on the ceiling emits gusts of freezing air over the crowd, in an effort, I suppose, to moderate the 'hot time' enjoyed by all as the evening progresses.

What lured my sweetie out past our usual hunkering-down time, was the rare appearance in these-here parts of one Pokey LeFarge and his band.  He'd seen him on Letterman a few days previous, and was enchanted, so it just seemed like fate that he was passing through our little town so soon after.

I agreed to gussy-up and accompany him, even though, with a little research, I discovered, to my chagrin, that good ol' Pokey was preceded by no less than two warmup acts, which put his appearance somewhere around 11:30 PM.....way past the time I usually 'hit the hay'.  Had I researched a little more, I would have also discovered that 'gussying-up' was not a requirement.... unless you consider plaid shirts and jeans that can stand by themselves, 'party-wear'!

Wending and cursing our way downtown, through the road closures and detours customary in Toronto in the summer, we arrived early, at 9:30 pm.  We flourished our print-at-home tickets and got our hands stamped (in case we wanted to go out for a smoke, I guess).  We were just in time to enjoy the opening act, Miss Kayla Howran, a lovely young cowgirl from Peterborough.  She seemed to me to be as good, if not a lot better than most vocalists of this genre, capably strumming her "gee-tar" and wailing her broken heart out for a very entertaining hour.  (In Country and Western, the heart is always breaking or broken, it seems).  She was followed by a group called, "The Millwinders", who had lots of fans and family present to cheer on their enthusiastic and energetic set.  Their musicianship was terrific and they took turns singing wonderful songs that set our toes a-tappin'.

We were 'warmed up'.

While all this was going on, we found ourselves shifting our seats periodically.  Just like in a Jackie Mason routine, the first spot we chose was way too drafty.  The freezing air blew down from the overhead exposed ductwork like the tornado in "The Wizard of Oz", so we moved back a bit and perched on a couple of tiny stools which offered an excellent view of the stage.  Not for long, however.  Three of the biggest fellas you ever did see soon took seats at the table in front of us, obliterating any view of the goings-on, so we shuffled back and over a bit and joined a table of other fogies who were happy for the age-appropriate company.

"Do you come here often?" I actually asked the woman, who didn't get it, but replied that this was their first time at The Horseshoe.  They, too, were groupies of the previously mentioned Pokey-man.

"Last time he was in town," she offered, "there were only 32 people in the audience.  Now there's a big crowd."

(Chalk it up to YouTube)

By the time the headliners came out, the place was jammed with young'uns, all standing up around the stage, so we had to perch on the tables in order to catch a glimpse of the action.  My back and backside were, by this time, begging for upholstery. The crowd 'went wild', as they say on such occasions, and Pokey and the band were still regaling them with their original renditions when my husband turned to me, at 1 AM, and re-establishing the order of the universe, said, deferentially,

"If you want to go, it's ok by me."
We went.

"Boy, that took me back twenty years!" he said, as we shuffled our paralyzed tushes out past all the guys and gals playing pool and hugging the bar at the front of the place, through the crowd huddling over their smokes outside the entrance, towards our handicapped parking spot just down the street.

"Twenty?" I replied.
"More like FIFTY!"

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