A Prairie Home Companion

Mary, a friend, had VIP tickets to last night’s live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion from the Blossom Music Center. Lucky me, she invited me to go with her.

I’m very familiar with both A Prairie Home Companion (APHC) and the Blossom Music Center. M and I are regular listeners of APHC, and we spend quite a few summer evenings picnicking on the lawn at Blossom before the Cleveland Orchestra plays their concerts.

Blossom is a lovely venue in Cuyahoga Falls, surrounded by woods, and located within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park where there is some lovely hiking year round. Usually when we attend an event at Blossom we have to park quite a distance away from where the concerts take place. That can be attributed to our poor timing (we tend to leave too late and so end up in the outer parking lots). The walk in takes about 15-20 minutes and it’s a good way to add exercise to your day.

Last night, however, Mary had a VIP parking pass and we were treated to parking practically next to the gate.

(VIP Gate at Blossom. June 21, 2008.)

We were able to bypass the walk, the main ticket booths, and the main entrance. Star treatment.

The main feature at Blossom is, of course, the pavilion where the concerts are held. It fits into the landscape quite nicely.

(The pavilion at Blossom. June 21, 2008.)

Mary and I sat on the lawn under a nice, shady tree to have our picnic dinner before the concert. It was hot and a little humid with thunderstorms looming in our future. We were there pretty early and, as you can see from the photo above, not many other people had arrived yet.

Mary brought along some excellent sandwiches and chips for dinner. She’s a vegetarian and knows how to put together a great veggie sandwich.


I brought the wine, along with some strawberries and chocolate for dessert. Mary also brought along some strawberries so we were pretty well set in the dessert department.

(Wine and chips.)

Because the lawn slopes, we’ve found that the best cup holders happen to be our shoes.

The show provided the catchup:

(Catchup, catchup…)

After we finished eating we stashed our stuff outside of the pavilion and went to find our seats which were, as it turned out, most excellent. We were in the 6th row, right smack in the middle.

(Minutes before the show started.)

At 5:45 they began the warm-up for the show. I was surprised that Garrison Keillor himself, along with the band, did the warm-up.

(Garrison Keillor during the warm-up.)

He started on the stage, then walked through the audience and then up onto the lawn where he sang “Up on the lawn” to the tune of “Up On the Roof.” Unfortunately for him and those seated on the lawn, that’s about the time the storms rolled in.

(Garrison Keillor after his walk through the rain.)

Shortly after the show started (at 6:00pm), the storms really got going with some strong winds, flashes of lightning, the booming of thunder, and plenty of rain. I felt sorry for the folks up on the lawn. I don’t think many of them stayed for the entire show.

(A glimpse of the storm from inside the pavilion.)

The power went out at one point, leaving about 2 minutes of empty airtime for those listening on the radio at home. M was home recording it and confirmed it was about 2 minutes, after which the local radio station that was broadcasting it lost their power when the storm moved closer to home.

(Power outage.)

I just happened to be taking a photo at the exact moment the power went out.

The show was really good. Garrison and cast did an excellent job of incorporating the storm into the script, improvising when the thunder boomed loud enough to shake the place.

It was nice to be able to see the faces that go with the voices:

(Fred Newman, the sound-effects guy, and Garrison.)

(Sue Scott.)

(Fred Newman, Tim Russell, and Sue Scott.)

The above photo looks kind of weird because there was a moving person behind Tim Russell. Looks a little as if he’s growing an extra head or something.

To be continued…

4 Comments on “A Prairie Home Companion”

  1. Alto2 says:

    Oh, I am so jealous! I love PHC. In fact, I listened to that broadcast this past weekend. I’m sure I heard you laughing in the audience. 😉

  2. Robin says:

    lol! Yep, that was me. 😉

  3. I read a few of Keillor’s books and really enjoyed them. I saw a show of him on tv once. I’ve never seen a performance of this kind in my life. I would be amazed to watch and hear a master story teller perform live. Wow!!!

    The storm will only make it that much more memorable for you as the years go by.

  4. […] with friends.  We’ll be picnicking and sitting on the lawn this year.  No VIP tickets as we did in 2008.  That’s okay.  I like sitting on the lawn.  It’s live radio.  I don’t need […]

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