Appearing For One Night Only….the Big Green Gummi Bear’s night out

It’s been forty five days since my last fix.

Withdrawal symptoms had long since set in and the depressing January weather among other things wasn’t helping. However Friday dawned bright and sunny, if a tad on the chilly side, and my fix was almost in sight.

This time there was to be a break in my usual routine. A different persona was about to emerge. One that I don’t think has ever been seen in public before – Rock Wife.

As I took my seat on the train to Glasgow to meet the Big Green Gummi Bear, I wracked my brain in an effort to remember the last rock/pop gig we’d been to together. There were a few memorable shows in the dim and distant past- Iron Maiden circa 1991, Def Leppard circa 1993 and a dodgy Bjorn Again gig circa 1994 (not my choice!) among others. I honestly couldn’t recall one that we had been to since we got married in 1995!

The Big Green Gummi Bear has a strict set criteria for going out to play that he rarely deviates from so I suspect I caught him in a weak moment when he agreed to attend this show. It did tick most of his boxes though –

It wasn’t on a school night.

It was part of Celtic Connections, the annual music festival held in Glasgow in January/February

It wasn’t “yicket” music as he phrases it (Hard rock/metal to the rest of us.)

The tickets were bought and paid for before he had time to have second thoughts!

My usual pre-gig routine slipped back into its normal pattern as, accompanied by the Big Green Gummi Bear, I headed for my favourite coffee shop for a much needed caffeine fix.

So where were we going?

The venue for the evening was Glasgow’s O2 ABC. (I love that venue!)

The band that were going to have the honour of being the first headliners the Big Green Gummi Bear had seen this millennium were Hayseed Dixie.

We were both about to be initiated in the delights of “rockgrass”!

Suitably caffeine fuelled, we joined the queue outside the venue shortly before the doors were due to open. (Cue much muttering about the cold and queuing)

Once inside the hall, the Big Green Gummi Bear insisted on putting his jacket in the cloakroom then, after a quick trip the merchandising stall (“Why do you need another black t-shirt with writing on it?”), we took our places right down on the barrier.

The Big Green Gummi Bear is a self-confessed snob. The look on his face as he glanced around was telling me that he was less than impressed so far. Hmm this could be a long night….

The support act were a band from Dublin called The Riptide Movement and they entertained the growing crowd admirably for around forty five minutes. A mental note was duly taken to add then to my ever increasing list of bands to check out further.

Up on stage everything bar four mic stands was cleared away. No drum kit?!

I nipped to the little girl’s room to powder my nose. By the time I returned another couple had come to stand beside us and the Big Green Gummi Bear was talking beards with the guy. No idea how that conversation started! Up on stage there was little activity. The girl enquired if we’d seen Hayseed Dixie before. Both of us confessed we hadn’t. She promised that we’d love them. The Big Green Gummi Bear had his cynical face on. Sensing his scepticism, the girl declared that if he didn’t enjoy the show she would buy him a drink at the bar at the end. Deal!

Hayseed Dixie duly came out on stage to rapturous cheers from the capacity crowd. Their show is very tongue in cheek. The name’s a play on ACDC and front man , John Wheeler, was sporting cut off denim dungarees and a tie-dye t-shirt (A kindergarten version of Angus Young?)

Within minutes of the start of their set the Big Green Gummi Bear was seen smiling.

Over the next two hours many rock classics were given the Hayseed Dixie treatment. Hearing songs like Highway to Hell, Ace of Spade and Bohemian Rhapsody played on acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo with the occasional fiddle thrown in was a thoroughly enjoyable if bizarre experience. John Wheeler’s rapport with the audience was fabulous and filled with amens and Hallelujahs. A man that‘s not taking himself too seriously. Amid the rock classics they played a few of their own tunes, most notably I’m Keeping Your Poop. Mandolin player Hippy Joe Hymas’s actions and antics throughout the entire set added to the humour. A hillbilly Gene Simmons!

Behind me a strange transformation was taking place. The Big Green Gummi Bear has graduated from smiling to laughing and was even heard singing along (never a good thing as he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket!) However, he was having fun!

The show ended with a fifteen minute encore of Hotel California – another classic that will never be the same again!

When the lights went up the girl beside us asked if she needed to buy that drink. The answer was a resounding no.

Hayseed Dixie collage

Mental note to Rock Wife self- add another box to that tick list. Any future gigs with the Big Green Gummi Bear must be on warm dry days.

I almost froze to death outside on the pavement waiting on him collecting his jacket from the cloakroom!

Only nine days until my next fix!

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