Mud Booger Plague

This guy walks into a bar, sits down next to a girl and introduces himself as a professional serial lady-killer. “I’m already dead,” the girl responds.

That scene, from the Old 97’s tune “Barrier Reef,” helped kick off Day 2 of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. After wandering a bit through the morning, our strategy was to stake a claim at the AMD stage and stay there. The line-up: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Robert Earl Keen, John Fogerty and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

I had high hopes for the Dap-Kings and was not disappointed. Suits and horn sections are rare at ACL. A vocal flamethrower like Sharon Jones is rarer still. The songs were new but they sounded like long lost classics, unearthed in Memphis and Muscle Shoals. Some actual long lost classics were not far ahead. Song for song, John Fogerty’s performance was probably the best of the whole weekend. No one else could have tapped into the collective cultural consciousness with almost every tune. The set list included Traveling Band, Bad Moon Rising, Green River, Lookin’ Out My Back Door, Born on the Bayou, Midnight Special, Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Down on the Corner, Fortunate Son and Proud Mary. This was no veteran trapped into pleasing the crowd with tired retreads of old hits. For a long time, due to ongoing copyright litigation, John didn’t perform the catalog of songs he wrote for Creedence Clearwater Revival. After many years of waiting, he embraces it now like he’s finally allowed to see an old lover. The joy, the freedom, the rightness of it.
The Robert Plant / Alison Krauss show was no reunion, but it sure felt like they’ve known each other for a long time. Their Austin set was basically the same and just as good as their Canandaigua show earlier this summer. I read somewhere they’re going to make another record. Hopefully it will include the highlight of the live set – a version of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.”
Black snot is another matter. Traipsing around Zilker Park had produced an unusual side effect. Fatigue and sunburn were fine, but what the hell is that in my Kleenex? My learned friend clued me in. It’s what the body does when you breathe in too much dust. The masks I had seen suddenly made sense.