I went to Gretna Fest and saw two favorite acts on the same day.
by David Rhoden. Day .
I don't think I had even been across the Mississippi when Sara told me we were going to Gretna Fest. We were going to see one of my absolute favorite bands, Blue Öyster Cult. On the way in we stopped in a local bar. It was lit brighter than the sun, for safety, I guess. As we entered , a one-eyed man turned and asked what business we had there. It was one hundred percent like Star Wars and we were C-3P0 and R2. We didn't stay.
Instead we went to a little biergarten and had a couple steins and went to see BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. I think it was the hottest I've ever been. The set was at about noon, on a scorching parking lot. They didn't have all the original members (the drummer was a fat guy that was terrific) but they did have Allen Lanier, which was kinda cool. They played only about two new songs, being merciful. Also their final encore wasn't "Don't Fear The The Reaper" (that was second to last) but "Dominance and Submission", a personal fave. They had the crowd divided in halves chanting "DOMINANCE" and "SUBMISSION".
Noramlly that would be enough for a satisfying day, or year, but Gretna Fest wasn't through with us. We got sausage and pepper sandwiches and a funnel cake and went to see what else the Fest had. And don't you know it--there was another of my idols, Clarence "Dr. C.C." Carter himself. He was playing under a shelter of some kind. (It was cooler.) He's blind, but when he's not singing he walks to the edge of the stage with his toes hanging off. The crowd were all skilled line dancers, except for me.
You have to remember, Clarence Carter has a lot of hits to get through in a show. He doesn't save them for the encore. He would introduce the big ones with a little monologue.
"Now this next song I'm about to do, it was a number one hit! And I made a million dollars! But my wife at the time, she divorced me! And she got all that." Then he'd play "Slip Away".
A couple of songs later: "This next one, it was a number one hit too! And once again, I made a million dollars! But my wife? Well, she got all that." And he played "Patches".
But then a little later on in the set, when the dancers were getting restless, he said: "You know, you may know this next song. I've been all over the world to play this one. And I just got one thing to say about it: I made MORE than a million dollars from this one...AND I GOT ALL THAT!! I BE STROKIN!"
I don't know if I've ever heard a crowd go more crazy.
rock music New Orleans Gretna Louisiana Blue Öyster Cult Clarence Carter Sara sausage and peppers funnel cake Gretna Fest stories