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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Rain in the Summertime

Well, we've reached the end of Swim for Distance Month and I have a total of 27,400 meters notched onto my goggles.  (Just kidding about notching my goggles. That would hurt the goggles.)  Which comes to a total of just over 17 miles.  That's neither as far as I wanted to come or as not-far as I thought it would probably be.  In short, it is Just Enough.  I have earned &a t-shirt and some bragging rights, and the North Dallas Food Bank has earned $17, though I will probably just send them a full $20 because why the hell not.  I just wish I could get the whole swim team doing this so we could send them lots of money.  I haven't sold them on this concept yet.  Maybe next year.

Meanwhile, The Alarm came to town, and everything else just pretty much ceased to be important.

I should back up a little.  If you've been hanging around these parts long enough, you know that my favorite band is Big Country. That's the Scottish band that had the one big hit in 1983, won the Best New Artist Grammy (or was at least nominated for it; I forget which) and then disappeared like smoke.  Only they didn't disappear, of course; they just fell victim to the vagaries of the Copyright Act of 1985 and some bad management decisions and never really made it back across the ocean again.  But, they continued as a band in Europe and the rest of the world, put out eight brilliant albums over twelve years before their lead singer, Stuart Adamson, died tragically in Hawaii. And yes, there's this whole long story about that, and no, I'm not going to tell you about it, because I'm sure I've told that story here before and a lot of it is rampant speculation on my part anyway.

Back to the important part, though.  Big Country was without a singer.  In 2011, almost ten years after Stuart's death, Big Country's 30th anniversary came up and fans were demanding some kind of gathering to celebrate (this was in the U.K., though people I knew from the U.S. actually did fly over there to attend it).  In order to have an actual band for the occasion, the surviving members of Big Country called up Mike Peters, the lead singer of the band The Alarm (biggest hit: Probably "Rain in the Summertime") and asked him to fill in.  There's this funny story, which is probably totally bogus, that Mike was halfway up a mountain in Wales at the time and accepted the job on his cell phone while hanging from a carabiner.  Anyway, the show went unbelievably well, everybody loved it and Big Country asked Mike to stay on full time.

Which he did, and Big Country ended up recording The Journey, its first studio album since 1994, in 2013.  The band did a tour of Europe and the United States, including three shows in Texas that I, Jen, went on the road to see (taking along a reluctant Joan, who doesn't do concerts).  Yes, I followed a band around Texas.  No, I'm not considering a future career as a Dead Head.  It was actually really hard work.  But the shows were brilliant, Mike Peters is awesome, and no matter what happens in the future or what else he ends up doing, I will always think of him as The Guy Who Brought Big Country Back From The Dead.  Which, you gotta admit, is a pretty nifty epitaph if you need one.

After three years, Mike Peters returned to The Alarm.  That was actually fine, because The Alarm is my second favorite band (though the new-ish band, Fun., is jockeying for position in there somewhere). Now The Alarm is on tour, and darned if they didn't come to Texas for three shows.  Did I drag out the Toyota and follow them from Austin to Houston to Dallas?  Er--no.  It was a lot of work last time.  But I thought about it.  And I saw them last night at the Gas Monkey Bar and Grill on a VIP ticket in the balcony, so there.  They played for almost two hours and every time I thought, "Now, how are they going to top that?" they did.  I got home after midnight.  Which was fine.

Here's a pic from my balcony seat:

And here's a short video clip:

And for those of y'all who still haven't heard "Rain in the Summertime," here it is.


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