Before The Avett Brothers announced their full tour, they scheduled three consecutive nights at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach on the weekend after my birthday. Kelli and I were intent on seeing them, so we bought tickets the second they went on sale and planned to make the trip. My beach-loving friend Katie decided to tag along on the trip later, even though tickets to the show were sold out.
As we counted down the days to our trip, Kelli and I learned of another tour stopping through Richmond that we needed to see: a co-headlining show with The Civil Wars and Madi Diaz. They were scheduled to play The Canal Room in downtown Richmond on Thursday, the 19th – the night before we were leaving for Myrtle Beach.
Under the banners of “you only go ‘round once” and “I can sleep when I’m dead,” Kelli and I set off for the show in Richmond, two hours away. We figured the show would probably go until about 11pm, putting us back home by 1am, and we were leaving for the beach Friday morning at 8.
Unfortunately for all of us, The Canal Club had booked four opening acts to play before the two headliners, so after suffering through two hours of mediocre (or even downright horrible) music, The Civil Wars (Joy Williams and John Paul White) finally took the stage at 10:30pm.
They were worth the extraordinarily long wait and put on a fantastic show. And thanks to the lateness of the hour and the… sucktastic-ness of some of the other bands, the crowd had thinned out a great deal, making the show a much more intimate affair.
I did manage to snag a few decent pictures and a video clip during their set:
They were followed by Madi Diaz, who took the stage around 11:30 with a great performance and apologies for the lateness of the hour (though that was beyond her control, of course).
After the show, Joy, John Paul, and Madi were all hanging around to chat. When they realized we’d driven from two hours away, they all apologized for how late it was and were concerned about our drive home. We assured them that we didn’t hold them responsible for the club’s obvious disorganization, recommended some other more appropriate venues in neighboring cities, thanked them for the great show, and went on our way. (In a hilarious/tragic twist of fate, Madi Diaz actually played Lynchburg this past weekend, at a show with six opening acts, so she didn’t get onstage until 12:30. It made the nightmare at The Canal Club seem like a positively glorious experience. I suppose that goes to show that it can always get worse!)
Kelli and I made it back to Lynchburg a little after 3am, so by the time I got home, showered, double checked my packing list, and crawled in bed, it was after 4am. So, I slept about 3 hours that night and then got up and drove us down to Myrtle Beach on Friday!
With a quick stop for lunch and the infernal beach traffic, we got to our hotel in the mid-afternoon and went on a search for supplies (see also: Caffeine Free Diet Coke). None of the convenience stores on the strip had any of my beverage of choice, but Katie and Kelli secured some beach chairs to use in the surf on Saturday. I also scoped out our 17th floor balcony:
And took the obligatory group photo:
Every time I came in from the balcony, I locked the door. Katie had been burned a few times by assuming the door was unlocked, pulling on it, and then having to unlock it to go outside. After a while, she said, “Amanda! Why do you keep locking the door? We’re on the 17th floor!” Kelli, without missing a beat, replied, “They’re climbin’ in yo windows, snatchin’ yo people up.” That was an on-going joke all weekend, and a song we were often jamming to as we drove around town.
I locked the door again and we headed out to a place called “Home Plate” (formerly “The Filling Station”) by Katie’s request. It was a pizza buffet (which also had some pasta and a salad bar) and the food was pretty good. One of their trademarks is apparently a busboy who makes weird football noises (and here I thought “Home Plate” was a baseball reference) while cleaning tables. Sometimes, when he finishes cleaning a table, he’ll stand in the middle of the room and sing “Amazing Grace” or “Go Tell it on the Mountain” in an obtrusive and off-key fashion. He passed around a laminated placemat which explained that he did all this for Jesus, who, as you know, always went around screaming at people and emulating a football linebacker all around Joseph’s carpentry shop. (I don’t mean to be cynical, but… some people just do some odd things in God’s name, and I have a lot of trouble seeing what is being accomplished. But that’s another blog for another day.)
After dinner, we stopped at Wal-Mart for my drinks and then went back to the hotel. The sky had been threatening storms that never came, so the result was picturesque. We strolled out onto the beach to take it all in. The mid-day heat had drifted away, leaving us with a warm, salty ocean breeze as the sun slipped away. Kelli and Katie had been teasing me all day about pointing out pretty clouds in the sky (“I’ve seen clouds before,” Kelli said), but I was undeterred and happily wrapped up in the beauty of the moon drifting in and out of view behind the ominous patches of clouds.
I love that you can see the light of the moon reflecting on the water in this one:
I was tinkering with the night settings on my camera to get a few shots of the hotels along the beach:
After we went back inside, I got a call from my good friend Terri who lives in Myrtle Beach, and much to my delight, she made the trek over to our hotel to hang out on the balcony with me for a while. Kelli and Katie were settling in for the night, but Terri and I passed several hours listening to the ocean and yammering on about every topic imaginable. In fact, I think the only time we stopped talking to take a breath was when Terri reached her hand out (as if to pause the conversation) and said, “Look at that cloud!” She pointed to a cloud that was whizzing by overhead. It seemed close enough that if we had stood on our tip-toes and really stretched up high, we may have been able to touch it, and yet it was moving across the sky even faster than a plane moving overhead. The fact that I’d been teased all day long for pointing out clouds and Terri was pointing one out to me was equal parts hilarious and delightful. Terri and I always have operated on a pretty similar wavelength!
We finally brought our chatter to a close just before midnight and bid farewell. I cannot believe I did not remember to take a picture!
After having merely a nap the night before, I was thrilled to get a full night’s sleep at the beach. We rolled out of the bed, threw on our bathing suits, and hit up the hotel café for breakfast. Afterwards, Kelli and Katie headed directly to the beach. I elected to go back up to the room for a little while, as I thought it best to exercise some moderation in the amount of time I left my very pale skin out in the hot sun. I went out about an hour later and laid down on the beach blanket. A while later, Katie wanted to come lay down, so I switched places with her and went down to the edge of the water and sat in her beach chair, where Kelli was parked for the duration.
It was the perfect place to sit. The water was washing up just underneath the chairs to keep us cool in the heat, but we were also able to keep dry except for our feet. (See also: no sand in the bathing suit!)
Katie eventually came back for her chair, and I decided I should go inside again to let my skin cool off, making sure I wasn’t burning, and reapply the sunscreen. (I really hate sunburns.) It turns out I was holding up well in the sun and heat, so I went back out to the beach and kept watch over Katie’s chair again while she was getting some lunch. The tide was coming in a little higher by that time, and I considered moving the chair back. Kelli got up and went out into the water, and I decided I wanted to lean the chair back a little further. As I was turned around looking at the back of the chair, adjusting it, a big wave came in and washed all the way up over my head!
Since the quest to keep sand out of my bathing suit seemed to be at its end, I threw caution to the wind and joined Kelli in the ocean. What I did not consider was that I was wearing a loaner bathing suit that was too big for me. And while a too-big bathing suit is no big deal when you’re sitting in a beach chair, it suddenly carries a great deal more consequence when ocean waves are washing into you. It caught me off guard and I very nearly lost the bathing suit entirely in the ocean. Luckily, I grabbed it and jerked it back into place in the nick of time – and held onto it very tightly from then on. With proper precautions in place, we continued jumping over the waves and splashing around until Katie returned and was shocked to see me actually *in* the ocean. She quickly joined the fun and we had a great time getting clocked by big ocean waves and hedging our bets on who would be the first “wardrobe malfunction.”
I think I won that prize, because as we were walking out of the ocean and back onto the beach, I had to do a quick dive into the waves to recapture my bathing suit and hope that I didn’t give anyone on-shore more than they bargained for in a day at the beach.
Once I was out of the water, I couldn’t stand the dirty feeling (ick!), so I decided to go inside and hit the shower to get ready for the concert Saturday night.
Kelli and I allowed ourselves plenty of time to get to the House of Blues and have dinner before the concert. Doors were to open at 7:00 for the show, which started at 8:00. When we arrived at the House of Blues just after 5:30, we started walking toward the restaurant and both wondered aloud what people were lined up for all the way on the other end of the parking lot. Our question was answered when we walked up the hill and rounded the corner and realized that was actually part of the line for the show that had wound itself around the building and through the parking lot!
We walked past people and more people and more people as we approached the House of Blues. They had clearly been lined up for most of the day. Some had brought instruments and were having an Avett Brothers cover show on the sidewalk to pass the time.
Kelli and I went ahead inside the restaurant for dinner. We had about a half hour wait before we were seated, and we were ravenous by the time our food finally came. I realized while waiting that I had not actually eaten anything since our breakfast that morning! Dinner was delicious, and by the time we finished up, it was about 7:30pm. We figured that, since doors had been open for half an hour, we’d be able to just walk across from the restaurant to the venue and go on in. Much to our surprise, there was still a line of people filing in. We started walking to the back of the line, which we finally found all the way back to the place where we had parked the car. On the upside, I used the opportunity to drop a bunch of my stuff off in the car, so I wouldn’t have a bag to hold onto inside the show.
When we made it inside the venue, we stopped and got our exclusive-for-Myrtle-beach airbrushed t-shirts and walked inside. Despite the thousands of people who got in ahead of us, we actually managed to find a pretty nice place to stand atop the stairs near the bar. We weren’t down on the floor, but we were closer to the stage than a lot of the people who’d stood in line all day to claim a spot.
The opening act was not that thrilling, and while I love concerts, I hate the endless standing in one spot, so I was getting restless. My problem was solved when The Avett Brothers came onstage, providing the best possible distraction. They played for two hours straight and were the epic performers everyone had promised me they would be. The ticket said not to bring cameras in, though people did, but I figured having my camera would just distract me into wanting to take the perfect picture, and I’d rather enjoy the show in all its glory without any other concerns. So, I don’t have any pictures for you, but I do have YouTube videos from the concert that other people posted! So, you can at least get a feel for the high-energy and general awesome-ness of our show!
Here’s “Colorshow,” at the opening of the show:
And a combo video with “Kick Drum Heart” followed by “If It’s the Beaches,” which we were particularly thrilled to hear:
If you’re like me and cannot get enough, then here’s “Pretty Girl from Annapolis” (and they also break out into “Is This Love” at 3:30):
After our late night Saturday, we got in bed and didn’t get up on Sunday until check-out time. Then it was back to the ‘Burg for us!