A Night with "The Possum"
Last night I was in "Hog Heaven" or should I say "Possum Heaven". Together with my brother and two other friends, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a concert by the great George Jones, "The Possum". The above picture was taken with my old "no-frills" 2.0 Mega Pixels digital camera without any telephoto enhancement. I was seated in the second row, almost center stage. I was that close to the country music legend.
It was a pleasure to see and hear a legend. I have been a George Jones fan for over half my life. I joined his fan club just for the chance to meet him and shake his hand. At the brief "Meet and Greet" before he took the stage I told Mr. Jones that 35 year ago I had had the privilege of seeing him perform for the first time with the late, great Tammy Wynette (his former wife and duet partner) in Charleston, S.C. His reply, "There's been a lot of water under that bridge". As anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the life and career of George Jones realizes, this comment ranks right up there with the understatements of the ages.
It was amazing to see and hear an entertainer of his age (74), who has been performing for 50 years and has often been ridden hard and put away wet, and who only a week or so ago was hospitalized for pneumonia, give such a memorable performance. While at times appearing somewhat short of breath due to his recent illness, which he acknowledged, stating that he was still on medication, his voice was clearly "George". What a gusty trooper, holding center stage for over an hour and a half, reeling off hit after hit. He is credited with over 160 hit recordings so he could not possibly sing them all. But, he managed to give a good sampling of his entire career from "Why, Baby, Why?" to "Choices". He actually seemed to get stronger as the program progressed. Maybe he fed off the enthusiasm of the audience.
The audience, I might add, was composed of people of all ages. My generation was well represented. But, there were many attendees who appeared of my parents' age. Surprisingly, there were a lot, and I mean a lot, of young folks there who were not even born the last time George fell off the wagon. He will be remembered by many long after he stops performing and recording.
George Jones, the living legend, once known as "No Show Jones" during his days of "wine and roses" was not a "no show". He came, he sang, and he conquered. "Hail to 'The Possum'".