Saturday, January 7, 2006

Last Concert at the Stone Balloon

The following is an excerpt from an article originally found on www.mpprojects.com/tc.

December 2005

I traveled last weekend from Dallas to Philadelphia to see my favorite band play live for the first time. Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers reunited for the closing of the Stone Balloon, a club in Delaware that has featured great musical acts over the last thirty years like Ray Charles, Cheap Trick, The Ramones, Metallica, and Bruce Springsteen.

Philadelphia Airport

After my arrival, the first order of business was to drive forty minutes south to Delaware . Since I had never traveled to this part of the country, I wanted to do a "dry-run" drive for getting to the concert later. Once I found the club, I decided to walk around the area.

I went around the back and saw some guys standing at the back door. I asked if any of them worked at the club. In the conversation, I mentioned that I had just taken a flight in from Dallas to see the concert, when one of the guys came forward and said, “Well, come on in to the club – you came a long way to see this band!" This guy was Chris Day, guitarist for the Young Rumblers. I didn't realize it was him until he told me his first name. As it turns out, the band was getting ready for their rehearsal -- and as I walked into the venue... there was Tommy -- onstage! Chris said that he didn’t see a problem with me being there to watch them practice since I had come such a long way for the concert.

Soundcheck

I found an inconspicuous corner to watch the guys set up onstage. (I was so excited to be there!) Some of the sound crew started chatting me up about my trip -- when Tommy walked by, one of them said “Hey Tommy! This girl came all the way from Dallas to see you.” And Tommy said “Are you Catherine?” and greeted me with a big hug. Then right before rehearsal, Tommy called me over and told me to take the stairs on the side to get on the stage. He then introduced me to each of the Young Rumblers as the fan/college DJ who came all the way from Dallas to see the Young Rumblers play live for the first time ever. I was so honored! (Chris announced that he was the one who let me into the club in the first place!)


Rehearsal
The band kicked off rehearsal with Here I Come.The band gave me permission to take pictures for the entire rehearsal. It was so great to hear all my favorite Young Rumblers' songs – and I knew the words to every song they rehearsed – even Space Cowboy!


Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers at rehearsal.

Showtime!
The concert later on in the evening was absolutely incredible. It was so great to be there, to share in the history of the event, and to see the last concert at The Stone Balloon with Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers. 


Although the reunion of the Young Rumblers was an event unto itself, Tommy made sure that the emphasis was on everyone realizing that it would be the last night for music at The Stone Balloon. One of the more poignant events of the evening was when he shared his memories of all the people who had played there, including how he had once sat outside on the steps listening to music being played inside and onstage when he was too young to get in. He ended each of his tributes and remembrances with a thoughtful “Cheers, cheers…”

The Stone Balloon ended its last show with a class act, indeed!

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