We took an overnight road trip this week to Portsmouth, VA.
YES, another one.
That’s because Grenville learned that one of the summer tour stops for our favorite NPR radio program, A Prairie Home Companion® (APHC) would be at the outdoor Ntelos Wireless Pavilion there on August 17. He suggested we plan an early anniversary celebration. As readers of this blog may know, we need no excuse for a road trip, even if only anovernight one.
Getting there was an adventure driving on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-tunnel, which connects the VA Eastern Shore with the Virginia mainland at Virginia Beach near Norfolk.
Anyone who visits The Frog & PenguINN on a Saturday evening, will find us listening to APHC featuring Garrison Keillor with music from The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band, sound-effects by Fred Newman, the exploits of private eye Guy Noir, trail stories of cowboys Dusty and Lefty, and guest performances. And, of course, the latest news from Lake Wobegon where “all the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are above average.”
Accustomed to not being able to bring a camera into a concert venue, I left mine behind, only to find out that Keillor apparently doesn’t mind fans taking photos. Several times, he went off stage and performed walking through the audience oblivious to photo-takers using cell phones and digital cameras.
All the radio show characters were not included in this performances, which featured several funny monologues by Keillor accompanied by Newman’s sound effects. We heard some wonderful duets between Keillor and talented vocalist Heather Masse. Updates from the tour, including a video from the Portsmouth show can be viewed online at APHC’s Summer Love Tour Notes.
Intermission was an audience stretch and sing-along, something we’ve never seen at other performances where everyone dashes to the concession stands. Sure, some did that, but most stood and joined Keillor and Ms. Masse to sing along to selections that included, “Dream, Dream, Dream, She Was Just 17, Home, Home on the Range, America the Beautiful.
Since the 68-year old Keillor plans to retire from APHC (eventually), we’re hoping to get in another show, possibly at the 101-year old Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, home base for the show. Of course, we might have more time since Keillor left the show once before in 1987, only to return to the airwaves two years later.