Saturday, December 10, 2016

Who the Hell is Phil Vassar?

I recently purchased a laptop to make it easier for me to get my thoughts down in this blog whenever I feel like writing a little something, but with so much going on still with elections, protests, and everything else that divides us, I’ve had a tough time finding motivation to actually write anything. I’ve definitely had more thoughts on these subjects recently, but as I’ve written on so many controversial topics lately, I just was looking for something positive to write about.

I tend to ‘feel big’ when it comes to issues that we’ve been dealing with lately and it’s pretty easy to get depressed when you see so much negativity slung back and forth amongst your friends and neighbors. I’ve always tried to make a conscious effort to research things I don’t know much about rather than just relying on Facebook, Twitter or any other source of information that can be manipulated by straight opinion over fact and I’m currently reading a few books to help me to better understand a few of these things which I will discuss in a future post, but for this post I wanted to get back to the Banana Daiquiris of this blog. 

After dealing with so many serious issues for a while here, I felt it was time to let loose a bit and talk about a recent positive experience I had with my cousin Scott.

A week ago my cousin Scott had come from Fort Worth, Texas to come and see his mom and his dad (who is currently battling cancer). They were always the closest (geographically) relatives we had and consequently they were more like brothers and sister to us than anything. 

When I first started going to college in Moorhead, Scott was subbing and living in Fargo and eventually took a job with the railroad. In the short time that he was there, we spent a ton of time together and got even closer. We could certainly still find ways to get into plenty of trouble together and one of my funniest memories is of him being the drunkest guy at my 21st birthday and telling my mom how beautiful she was and then kissing her! The night continued down those lines for a while until Scott disappeared only to show up jumping on my bed at 6am telling me to wake up because he just got out of the drunk tank and my neighbor, his girlfriend, was not too impressed with him.

From Fargo, Scott followed the BNSF career to Wichita, Kansas where he continued to move up the ladder for the company, and even found a girl willing to marry him! His brother, my cousin Mike (who I have no doubt would literally kill someone for me) joined Scott in Kansas and found himself an awesome girl as well not too far from where Scott had found his wife Michelle…with Amanda, Michelle’s sister! Both girls are awesome people and holidays are now so much easier for all of them!

Scott eventually got another promotion and is now residing in beautiful Fort Worth, Texas (I actually have no clue how pretty it is as I keep telling him I’m coming to see him but just never do because I’m apparently really busy…). Somewhere along the line my cousin, who grew up 20 miles away from me, has developed a southern drawl and a love for country music (apparently).

When Scott made the trip up to check in with his dad (who seems to be gaining strength every day), he made a special point to come over and see us in Red Lake Falls. With my school bus driving I was only able to make it out to lunch with him but I had suggested that he come back later and we could go see the band that our buddy Jesse had playing at his bar, but Scott had wanted to see a guy who happened to be playing at the Casino in Mahnomen, MN for quite some time and asked if I would be interested in coming with him. The guy’s name was Phil Vassar and I had never heard of him.

After a quick Google search I found out that this Phil Vassar was a country musician and I am not a country music fan by any means (Zach Brown is the only band I like at all). I told my cousin that I wasn’t very interested in a country show, but he guaranteed that I would know some of his music for sure and that I would like it. I hadn’t done anything sporadic for a while, so a random country music concert at a casino with one of my favorite cousins sounded like something that had to be interesting and hopefully memorable.

After my route, I drove the 20 miles to my aunt and uncles place and had a nice visit with them and stole a slice of pizza, then Scott and I were off to my second country music concert ever (the first was to hang out with a girl…the sacrifices we make).

I figured that we were in for a good show when the first people I saw after getting a couple of drinks was one of the craziest guys I knew in college…but that was a long time ago and he happened to be with his pregnant wife. So I guess the jury was still out…what was I in store for?

My go to move when I’m forced to listen to country music at all is to listen to all the words and drink copious amounts of alcohol (I think that’s what all country music is about, right? That and T-Swifts latest breakup.), so I was starting to get a little buzz going when Phil first showed up on stage. I had never seen the guy before in my life, so I wasn’t sure who exactly the lead singer was before he started rocking (or countrying?) out on his piano, and although I wasn’t familiar with the song, he was pretty darn good and not at all the country I was expecting.

As the night went on Scott kept saying, “oh, you’ll know this one.” But I never did. He did play some other popular songs, as well as some Christmas songs which I was familiar with, but even though I didn’t know the music, it wasn’t bad and the guy really put on a good show. If I have a complaint it would be that he never brought his biggest fan (see video below) onto the stage. This guy literally danced the entire show except when security told him he had to sit, at which point we tried to start a, “let him dance!” chant which really fizzled out before it got going. But time heals all wounds, and before long he was back up dancing and doing his thing.

The one person Phil did bring on stage was a birthday girl, probably around his age, who did her best to put the moves on him while he sang her a song. Scott and I ran into her and her husband after the show in the casino and he did not seem too impressed when we asked he if she got a room key from Mr. Vassar.

If I wasn’t having a good time hanging out with my cousin, watching the dancing man, and all the random people dressed up as elves and other Christmas characters, I would have changed that when Phil played his final song of the night…Purple Rain. If there was ever a guy who knew his audience, it was Phil Vassar. The crowd went crazy, I tried to video tape it but eventually the music just took over and I had to be the crazy Prince fan that I am.

After the show Scott and I decided to keep the night going a little bit by stopping in the Casino bar for another couple of beers and to listen to the band that they had playing in there. At this point I’m not sure how good the band was, but they looked like they hadn’t changed their wardrobe or hairstyle since the 70’s and totally rocked it (literally this time). They played a ton of Fleetwood Mac and other 70’s and 80’s rock tunes and said they had just opened for someone like ZZ Top or someone not too long ago. I’ll be honest, the details at this point are starting to get a little fuzzy…I hope there really was a band.

At one point while Scott and I were enjoying what I hope was a band and not a hallucination, a pretty girl came up to chat with us. She apparently either took her mom to the show, or her mom took her, either way she was probably in her early 20’s and still trying to fit into a bar scene…but she was with her mom.

She came up to our table (still with her mom) and was kind of flirting a bit with us and asked us how old we were, at which point I told her 30 for some reason (apparently I thought shaving 3 years off my age would convince her and her mom that it would be cool to have her come 60 miles back with me to good old Red Lake Falls?!). But as she continued to talk with us she lit up a cigarette (you can still smoke in the reservation casinos - which is disgusting) and proceeded to fake smoke (take a quick drag but don’t inhale, then immediately blow the smoke out). When she began to “smoke,” her mom immediately started in on her about how bad it was for her and then went on to kind of rag on her for not doing it right anyway, which really was quite funny! Pretty soon my oldness started creeping in as well, and I was sounding much closer in age to her mom than her (which was probably the case). I began my whole, “smoking is bad and one day you’ll regret it. We all have to go through that rebellion stage but someday soon you’ll realize how dumb it is,” old man thing. 

I’m actually pretty surprised she didn’t take me right there on the casino bar floor.

I wish this story would end with me making some sweet moves on this girl and the night getting really interesting; maybe we meet up with Phil and just continue to tear it up into the next day, gamble all of the shows receipts on black jack, lose it all then just continue to party. Join Phil’s tour, become a full roadie, learn an instrument, join the band and eventually take over for Phil himself…but I had to drive bus the next day again, so we hung out at the casino for a while to sober up, played some black jack (I did win a bit), then headed back to my aunt and uncle’s place, grabbed my car and headed home.

The nights aren’t quite as wild as they once were, but they can still be random and fun. I tend to not go out as much as I used to, and that’s certainly alright with me as I am undoubtedly getting a bit older every day, but whenever my cousin Scott comes to town I am still more than willing to throw caution and common sense to the wind and do whatever comes our way…even if that means attending a country music concert. This night showed me that I’m still young enough to rock and roll, but also old enough to lecture pretty girls at the bar about the poor choices they are making…all but ensuring that one of those poor choices won’t be me.

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