An Evening of Southern Hospitality Never To Be Forgotten

An evening of “Southern Hospitality”- it would’ve been rude to refuse.

“Rock Mum” was out to play this week at Glasgow’s legendary Barrowlands in the company of one other “responsible” adult ( I use the term loosely)and four rock music mad teenagers (one of whom is currently slightly broken after a recent skiing incident).

Our evening’s “Southern Hospitality” was provided by Kentucky based hard rock band, Black Stone Cherry. I’d seen them play a few years ago as the support act for Nickelback so, when I saw this short speciality tour advertised, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

As we queued outside in the freezing cold and in full view of the band’s tour bus, the excitement began to build. Climbing the stairs up to the “ballroom” only heightened the anticipation. I have to say it is the first time I’ve watched a rock band play a venue with glitter balls on the ceiling, a reminder of the venue’s past history as one of Scotland’s leading dance halls of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The set list had been chosen by the fans via the band’s Facebook page and was interspersed with several short Q&A sessions. Broad Glasgow accents versus Kentucky Southern drawl proved to be a challenge as the band confessed they weren’t quite tuned in to “Scottish” as they put it but the questions proved to be entertaining and the band demonstrated what a decent bunch of guys they are. One girl asked if they would autograph a t-shirt she had worn to their last Scottish show when she had been pregnant with her first child. The shirt was duly tossed on stage, autographed then personally delivered back to its owner by lead singer, Chris Robertson, who came off stage and into the crowd. A custom made bass drum skin was autographed and raffled off during the evening. The fans did learn one “personal” fact about guitarist, Ben Wells – the name of the shampoo he uses on his long blonde flowing locks. Street cred severely dented there, young man!

It almost goes without saying that the music was brilliant – all the fans’ favourites were played plus two new songs from their forthcoming album, Magic Mountain. From the “dance floor” it was obvious that the band were having a much fun as their adoring fans. Chris Robertson’s face as the whole crowd sang “Peace Is Free” to him was a vision of pride and emotion.

After a full two hour set Black Stone Cherry bade us all a warm goodnight and left the stage to a thunderous cheer. The house lights went up and the PA system began to play Garth Brooks “Friends In Low Places”. Apt.

The highlight of the evening was yet to come.

As we headed towards the exit, I spotted the band’s drummer, John Fred Young, standing at the side talking to someone. With that huge mop of curls you couldn’t mistake him! Distinctly out of character for a normally shy me, I went over to speak to him. I thanked him for a fantastic show and was rewarded with a very sweaty hug and a kiss. Happy Rock Mum!

The kids had followed me over somewhat shyly. I stood back and watched them chat politely with the tired musician, get their tickets autographed, when someone eventually tracked down a pen, and their photos taken.

Sharing in their excitement and enthusiasm for having met one of the band and listening to their “star struck” conversation, as we headed wearily home, made me a very proud “Rock Mum” to all four of them.

Definitely a night where we all enjoyed Black Stone Cherry’s personal Southern Hospitality. Thank you, gentlemen.

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