POETRY OF THE CROWD: TALES OF LOST EVENINGS 3 Part Three
For many, each of the previous Lost Evenings has been more about the people we meet and the friends we make, and this year was no different. And for this reason we have decided to write a reflection, not on the gigs, but on the people and their stories that have made the festival so special.
Lost Evenings 3 wasn’t just about meeting people and discovering new friends. It was also about being able to spend quality time with old friends or family and creating new memories. Memories that you will come to cherish, to help you get through the dark times or simply put a smile on your face when you reminise.
Here’s Part 3 of your tales…
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I entered the raffle for Franks guitar which was being held at Bills Bar four times on the first day of the festival and Frankly, (ha!) forgot about it… I had a blast all three of the first nights and met some really awesome people! The fourth day of the festival, I slept in and joined some friends for some more Boston-y things before we planned to go to the fest that evening.
As we were enjoying ourselves at Boston Public Market, I got a call from a Boston, MA phone number. I use google voice for my business and also get a lot of spam calls so most unknown numbers I send to voicemail, but I decided I’d better answer this one!
I’m glad I answered because it was Frank’s tour manager, Tre telling me I won a guitar! I was immediately shocked and then excited! When I entered the raffle I said to myself, “if I win this.. I have to learn how to play,” which is strange because I never think I’ll win anything. My friends and I went immediately back to our hotel to drop off some things and I got another call. This time she asked if I’d be able to meet Frank in between the opening acts so he could sign it and give it to me. Of course, I asked “can I bring my two friends?” and she said “of course!”
Well, now this is another level of excitement! We made a quick stop at the hotel bar to order a shot – and I guess the bartender found our excitement endearing because he gave us another on the house!
We arrived at House of Blues and after feeling a bit flustered at the thought of meeting Frank, we arranged to get backstage. Frank was lovely, of course, and shared his excitement about the raffle money going to WAYout Arts, asked if I played (I don’t and promised to learn) and graciously took pictures with each of us. Of course, he told me next time I’m at a show, I’ll have to come on stage and play. Eep.
Then we came down to stage right and found some of our awesome festival friends in second row! From there we enjoyed the show. Through all this, I had barely seen the guitar – except from afar at the first open mic – and when I got home I learned it was an Epiphone Hummingbird Pro. Here’s the heartwarming part (at least in my eyes): my mum died from cancer in November and the whole time she was sick – she watched hummingbirds at her bird feeders from her living room window. They were a big thing for her and to suddenly have a guitar given to me with a hummingbird right there on it? LE3 was the last thing I had a real conversation with her about and she was excited for me.
This was my first vacation in years after graduating with my Masters and then spending every spare moment visiting and helping my Mum (who lived across the country). In conclusion: mind and heart blown. Thanks to Frank and every fan and friend who made this the experience it was!
When Frank announced Lost Evenings 3 was going to be in Boston, I knew I had to get tickets. As someone living just outside of the city, it seemed like a no-brainer. I bought the tickets even though I was in the middle of a journey with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It was my “I beat cancer” reward even though I had really just gotten started with it. I found Frank’s music resonating with me in new ways, and even managed to get a show in unbeknownst to my oncologist (I wore a mask through the concert which Frank signed, and as per usual made a lot of amazing friends). The idea of having four days listening to some of my favourite music in my favourite city stood as the light at the end of the tunnel for me.
However, the months between buying the tickets and the shows themselves, the tunnel got dark. Everything got kind of dark. I found myself winning at the cancer thing, but losing energy, motivation, losing a lot of what really made me ME. I’ve never been the type of person to tackle things one at a time, so naturally I decided to throw a career change and a move into the mix. The word exhaustion is true for my case, but not a strong enough word to explain what I was going through. My anxiety reached new levels, and for the first time in a long time, I began to doubt myself. I was in remission, I was doing big things. But I was tired and didn’t know who I was anymore.
The week of Lost Evenings came around, and I was balancing the last days of my old job with the first days of my new job, plus my side gig. I had been packing box after box, and dreading the future even though it was full of positive happenings. The idea of trying to get into the city was stressing me out. I was worried my energy levels still weren’t right for this. Mental images of me just zonked out in a corner or being too tired to walk flashed by. Four days of insanity followed by my six-month Lymphoma scan just seemed like too much, and I wasn’t me anymore. I didn’t think ‘New’ Courtney was strong enough.
I thought about selling my tickets. By Thursday I had debated giving them away. But I didn’t. I put on my brave face.
As I walked alone from the parking garage towards the House of Blues, a sense of Boston washed over me. This was my city. This was home. As soon as I saw Fenway, my dread and anxiety melted away. I got giddy like a tourist and took a bunch of stupid pictures. I talked to strangers who were clearly bound for the same place as I was. I met up with my friends and ate spicy wings in the city that would always have my back. We lined up for the show, where we made even more new friends (every day!).
The shows themselves were incredible. Night 3 may have been my favorite show I have ever been to. I was surrounded by people I adore, listening to songs that have seen me through so many different situations (from breakups to job changes to beating cancer). There were tears, laughter, and freaking sore legs. My lack of energy and muscle definitely showed, but mostly I learned how much stronger I can be. Thanks, Frank, for giving me an amazing last weekend in Boston, and thanks to all of you who were a part of it.
I’d say, “if I ever I stray from the path I follow, take me down to the Charles River,” but let’s be real, no one wants to be thrown in there.
(AKA Dr. Dan, Ryan Van Slooten and Adam Schreiner)
Our LE3 story starts in August of last year. Dr. Dan, Ryan and myself all met at Frank’s Campfire Punkrock. Strangers upon arrival but friends when we left we decided to keep in contact. At some point the idea was thrown out that it would be cool if we all got together and made a record. A crazy idea, seeing how Dr. Dan lives in Texas, Ryan in Minnesota and myself in California, but a cool one nonetheless. In April of this year we got together at Ryan’s studio and made a record. ‘Dougie Murphy’s Law‘ was born from the connection that CFPR created and the band Ralph was now a reality.
Fast forward to 16th May, I invited Dr. Dan, Ryan, their wifes and another CFPR couple, The Chaney’s over for a LE3 get together and lunch. As soon as everyone hit the room smiles and laughs were exchanged. Stories were told and music filled the air. At some point the members of Ralph all disappeared into a downstairs room to do something they had never done before….practice. The discussion had come up about playing a few songs at the open mic being held at Bills Bar each day of the festival. Ryan already had his own set on Saturday night over on the Nick Alexander Stage but he was game to give the open mics a go. So here we sat working through songs that we had recorded only a month ago.
As we began working I pulled out my phone to search for lyrics and noticed an email…”Hey guys. I just got an email from Frank. But I didn’t email him”, I said. The email basically said that Derek (from the Homeless Gospel Choir) who was hosting the open mic events had mentioned that there were still some places left. He told us that if we were in the area we should stop by and do what we do. We all looked at each other in shock. I was set against playing that day but Dr. Dan was insistent that we “play anytime, anywhere no matter what”. Hard to argue against that logic. We ran upstairs to see if the rest of the group would be up for an impromptu trip to the open mic. The house was a whirlwind but Ubers were arranged, nerves rattled and the journey began.
We put it out on social media that Ralph would in fact be playing at the open mic and we’d love to see our fellow CFPR crew there. When we walked in it felt like a homecoming. So many faces from CFPR were there to support us. We went to the bar ordered our customary shot of tequila and took the stage. We played two of our songs, “Dougie and the Bear” and “The Man”. There were some hiccups but the crowd responded really well. We had people coming up to us asking to buy a copy of our album and telling us they had enjoyed the tunes. Pretty surreal moment for guys that until 9 months before were complete strangers. We went on to play one more open mic adding the song, “Minnesota Nice’ to go with the other two. That song was never meant to be played acoustic but we said fuck it lets give it a go. The crowd again was great and we took a few group photos to remember the occasion.
The ending of Sunday night was the most emotional moment for us. Now I’m not the most emotional person in the world, but even I was fighting back tears as “Ballad” began to play. I told Ryan and Dr. Dan, “I’ll miss seeing Frank every night, I’ll miss the parties, but not being able to see you two every day is what I’m going to miss the most”. With Frank playing in the background the group had a tear engulfed hug and said goodbye. It was the moment we realised that our time together was closing… for now.
We’ve agreed to get together to record again and play some shows soon but it’ll be hard to not see each other for such a long time. Strangers in the beginning but now we’re brothers until the end.
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