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Blackbirdfest 2004 Featuring Webb Wilder
October 2, 2004
Smyrna, Delaware

It was an overcast fall day that threatened thunderstorms. It was to be the first time since the very early 90s that I'd seen the Idol of Idle Youth; the Last of the Full Grown Men: Webb Wilder. We're coming into a good time for Webb, he's got a steady gig on XM radio, his first album It Came From Nashville has been remastered and reissued with new live bonus tracks, and 2005 will see the first new Webb studio album since 1996.

We made the trip down from Jersey on Friday morning, staying in Dover; about a half hour south of Smyrna. Friday was spent checking out Dover and relaxing. Saturday morning brought a forcast of 80% chance of thunderstorms, so we did a 'no-rain' dance and headed for breakfast.

The directions to Blackbirdfest were perfect, and the little signs with arrows and "WW" confirmed we were on the right track. Upon arrival we were shown a parking spot, and had our tickets/hands stamped by the young'ins working the show (who did a great job btw!).  We found the place to be exactly as described.  Ashtray Heart played first and they had quite a varied setlist; I can say with certainty that I've never heard Harper Valley PTA segue into Smells Like Teen Spirit! Tydewater, the next band, was a very solid country cover act. They were out of Delaware, but it was obvious the singer wasn't - and sure enough he soon said he was from Oklahoma.

After Tydewater we decided to sample the burgers and pork; both were excellent. We also saw suspiciously new-looking Webb shirts floating around, and decided to scope out the scene. I was wearing my ICFN shirt that I'd won on eBay some time back, but it'd been through the ringer a few times and needed an upgrade. In the only thing resembling a downer, they didn't have the white shirts in extra large, so I went with a black one - duplicating my old one. They also had the rereleased ICFN CD, so we picked that up too.

Then, as darkness was beginning to fall, it was Webb's time to Rock. His vocals were a bit low at first, but that was soon rectified and he sounded great. It was cool hearing some of the songs I'd been listening to for years live for the first time. The band (Webb vets Les James Lester and George (The Tone Chaperone) Bradfute on drums and guitar respectively and Tom Comet on bass) was very tight and seemed to be having as much fun as the crowd.  The setlist was heavy on the 'Nashville' record, including the newly uncovered stuff that make up the extra tracks on the new release. Tough it out and Human Cannoball were also represented. Truthfully I've never been good at keeping setlists, as I'm too busy soaking in the show. As the set was winding down, we noticed that the fog was really rolling in, and since we were in unfamiliar territory we decided to get a head start and leave during the encore. 
Our 'no rain' dance seemed to have worked; the rain being replaced by the fog. Even so, the show was great, and it was a wonderful weekend. I sure hope it's not another decade-plus before my next Webb show :)

Following are some pics from the show. They're not all that wonderful, but hey, the camera was free :) The camera seemed to be fooled by the lights in front of the stage. Ah well; you'll get the idea!

pavilion pavilion2     
These two are from the back of the seating pavilion, the second one shows the sound board area.
 The stage is in the backround. Quite a nice setup


Here's a view of the seating pavilion from the outside.

Below are some select shots of the show.

webb3 webb4
The last of the full grown men himself - Webb Wilder
Tone Chaperone
George "The Tone Chaperone" Bradfute
Les James Lester
Les James Lester
Tom Comet
Tom Comet
Yours Truly
Thanks to Earl for the closeups!
Back to the Webb page!
Last updated 10/18/04

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