A “Weird” Little Road Trip

Three years ago today I went on a road trip to go see a concert. This was not a new or rare thing for me. I had been on concert road trips before. When it comes to concerts, St. Louis is mostly considered a “B” market. In other words, we get most of the big tours and cool artists, but not all. If a touring band is plotting a short U.S. tour, they will hit mostly high profile cities like New York, L.A., Chicago, Atlanta, etc. St. Louis is one of those cities that’s too big to be considered a secondary market, but not quite big enough to be a priority market. I have also heard that we are a little bit difficult from a routing perspective, in that we are not really on the way to or from any other major city (at least not according to the guys who book the tours). So sometimes we get skipped and if you want to see a tour badly enough you have to travel.

Not a problem for me. As stated, I have traveled for shows before, with friends and/or family in tow. Van Halen, The Who, Cheap Trick, and Iron Maiden are all among artists I have made road trips for. But this one was a little different.

This trip was with my friend and Pastor Jimmy Cooper. Now, normally if someone tells you they went on a road trip with their pastor you would think that the destination would be for something church related. Like perhaps a church men’s retreat weekend where the men from the church go fishing or hiking maybe, camp out and barbecue, getting in some male bonding while reading scripture and having bible study. Or, sometimes pastors take church members with them to conferences and seminars about church related topics or faith based living.

Nope.

We didn’t do that. We went to a concert. Not a contemporary Christian band (which I probably wouldn’t go to anyway) or a gathering of old-timey gospel performers (which I probably would) or anything of the like.

No sir. We took a road trip to see “Weird” Al Yankovic.

And-get this-it was Jimmy’s idea. I feel like I need to clarify this as there were several people at the church asking me why in the world I talked Jimmy into going with me to this. I don’t think they believed me when I told them it was just the opposite. They probably still don’t, but it’s here in writing for the record to show. Now, let the record also show that I was immediately in when he made the suggestion.

At this point any normal person should be thinking that this is an incredibly silly, nay, ridiculous thing for two grown men to do. I mean, we’re talking “Weird” Al here. Plus, it wasn’t even a normal Al tour. This was the one where he largely did his original songs, with the parody hits relegated to the very end of the show. Isn’t that just a remarkably immature waste of time and money?

Yes. Yes it was…and that was the point. As Al himself would say, “Dare To Be Stupid”, right?

It was a fun trip. Jimmy brought along his laptop and some books, so I knew he’d be doing work in his room during the down time, working on sermons, answering e-mails, setting up meetings, etc. That told me everything I needed to know about my role during this excursion. I made sure that we kept the conversation light during the drives-or families, movies we liked, some funny, yet not too embarrassing stories, that kind of thing. We discussed a little bit of church stuff too, but very little. This was a chance to unwind, release, and have a little fun and silliness for a day or so. I know how seriously Jimmy takes his job and how much his heart is truly in what he does, but sometimes the guy needs a break. We all do. I was more than happy to help him get that small break we all need.

As far as the show itself goes, the legendary Emo Phillips opened the show (a genius, and a hero of mine from my own stand up days), and Al and his band were quite entertaining. Musically, they really are quite under rated. Anyway, the show was fun, and we got the obligatory post show meal at Waffle House. This was Jimmy’s first trip to the WH if I remember properly. He wisely stuck to a burger and fries, while I took the late night breakfast gamble, as is my go to.

I’m bringing this up today, because a post popped up in Jimmy’s Facebook memories about this trip and he texted it to me. We still make Waffle House jokes and “Weird Al” references sometimes, and always share a smile. Normally, a blog post of mine like this one would end up with some line about how only music can make memories such as this. While that is absolutely true, in this case the music was the instigator, it was not the reason. Not really.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is this. When life gets intense, work gets crazy and adulting feels like running on a hamster wheel , it’s okay to take a break. Let that kid inside out, even if it’s just for a short while. Do something silly and goofy just for the sake of the silliness and goofiness it offers. That’s why Al has a career, and that’s why road trips exist. It’s also why God gave people friends like me. When the COVID restrictions lift and normalcy resumes, I’m ready for a new, silly adventure. Gas up the car, y’all, Waffle House is on me.

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