We flew out to Austin, Texas, Friday night and visited our friends, Dianna and Johan, and their daughter, Ella, and newborn, Amelia. Ashlee and Dianna grew up together in southern Georgia and have kept in close touch over the years. We had an ulterior motive to visit as well because our favorite band of all time, Train, was also in concert Saturday night in downtown Austin at a small musical venue called La Zona Rosa. The weekend was laid-back as we all slept in both Saturday and Sunday mornings (well, as late as Amelia would let us, but she's a dandy little sleeper). Before we headed downtown for dinner and the concert, we visited another great organic supermarket (we were introduced to Whole Foods on our last visit to Austin several years ago before it went nationwide). This one is called Central Market. What an amazing store. Incredibly fresh food at very reasonable prices. These Austinites are always ahead of the curve in terms of supermarkets. Next we stopped by a liquor and beer superstore called Spec's which was giving out free samples of their wares (Ashlee sampling tequila in photo above)...only in Texas I guess.
Johan's brother and his family were nice enough to watch the little ones and let him and Dianna join us at the concert. Uncle Kracker opened and put on a rowdy little set that was a lot of fun to see. We've seen Train live a half-dozen times, but this was actually the closest to the stage we've ever been thanks to the general admission set-up of La Zona Roza. We were about ten rows back when Pat and the boys took the stage and gave a helluva show enjoyed by us all. Besides a few choice cuts from their new album,, Save Me San Francisco, including their great new hit "Hey, Soul Sister" - the band cranked out hit after hit for close to two hours as well as their usual incredible covers of Led Zepplin as well as "Dream On" from Aerosmith. Lead singer, Pat Monahan (photo above), is still at the top of his game in terms of an amazing vocal range.
This was our first concert in Austin and it was everything we thought it would be. Like Nashville, Austin is a live music mecca and performers seem to bring their best game to these towns. The venue was great as well with good acoustics and great sight lines. We will definitely hop aboard the "Guitar Express" (six guitars brought on the Southwest plane going back to Nashville) if we get another good opportunity including one of our goals to attend the town's famous annual music festival, Austin City Limits, sometime soon. We won't have to wait too long to see Train again since we just bought tickets to see them again in a show they added on this same tour in Birmingham a week from Friday. See you fellas in Alabama next week!
Thanks so much to Johan and Dianna for the wonderful hospitality and generosity.