Imagine you’re a kale-munching, pot-smoking, peace-loving Blue State commie nudist, and a good friend invites you to join him at a country music extravaganza down at the hockey arena in Nashville, Tennessee, where every local luminary and legend from Luke Bryan to Larry the Cable Guy will be taking the stage in celebration of Charlie Daniels’s 80 years of unprecedented perseverance in the face of prostate cancer, high blood pressure, stroke and clinical obesity. What do you do?!
Say yes and eat some mushrooms — that’s what!
Sulking in a teepee in a snowstorm is not an option — in this day and age of unprecedented political divisiveness, it’s more important than ever to cross the streams and brave the Heartland in search of good times and common ground. Though I’m as liberal as they come and twice as godless, I don’t want to exist in a vacuum; I like to cross the Rockies every now and then just to keep a finger or two in the ‘Murican pie (spoiler alert: it’s still as sweet, warm and tight as ever….except for loose old Florida, flapping off the mainland down there like a piece of leathery roast beef hanging out of a stale Wonder Bread sammich).
So I took my friend up on his generous offer, packed my bag and headed for Nashville. Despite being afflicted with an untimely flu, a tequila or three at some of the Honky-Tonks™ on Broadway and a plate of Jimmy Buffett’s finest Cheez-Whiz-covered corn chips had me back on top in no time. My friend still had a See’s Candies box of magic mushroom truffles I’d given him for Christmas one year, so just before showtime we popped one apiece and headed into the fray.
The drugs kicked in as I entered the arena, and in my fevered state it was like walking into a Cracker Barrel franchise operated by Hieronymous Bosch: a seething, cavernous expanse packed to the rafters with 20,000 fat-assed god-fearing blondes in plaid shirts and puffer vests hooting and hollering and double fisting Coors Light tallboys to the timeless comedy of Larry the Cable Guy. Though we had, alas, arrived too fashionably late to catch the ghost of JonBenet Ramsey belting the Star Spangled Banner…we did arrive in time for the real National Anthem: “Git ‘er doooooone!” Hell, yeah!
Now, my friend doesn’t fuck around — he’s a huge country music fan, and nothing less than second row would do. We loaded up at the bar and headed down front to our floor seats, which were fabulous and allowed for an unobstructed view of every bead of sweat and spray of spittle, every Swarovski sparkle and Skoal stain. After hee-hawing to a few rounds of Larry the Cable Guy, we were treated to a set from new-outlaw-on-the-block Chris Stapleton, followed by the mellifluous musings of Kid Rock. A show with everything but Yul Brynner!
Next on the bill was ex-outlaw Travis Tritt, now 15 years sober, who trotted out a very special guest: his teenage daughter, all growed up and tricked out in a black leather sausage casing like a Dixie dominatrix. “This is why I keep a shotgun at home,” her daddy drawled, turning her loose with an almost perceptible smack on the ass to bray soulfully into the mic along with him in a heartsick duet about love, loss and Loritabs. Far out!
By now the shrooms were in full swing — but they weren’t the only thing swinging! Next up was bro-country superstar Luke Bryan, latest in a long line of hunky corn-fed John-Deere-come-latelies, known as much for his instant classic “Country Gal Shake It For Me” as for his impossibly tight jeans. I mean, I’m from Vegas — I’ve seen some tight-ass jeans in my day, but these were astonishing!!! I will say, though, that he fills them out well — I’m not generally a fan of beefcake, but his quads and hamstrings were out of control. In my drug-addled state, all I could do was stare open-mouthed while holding my cellphone aloft, trying to get a good shot of dat ever-shakin’-ass.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to notice them jeans — next thing you know, some hillbilly heckler had sneaked down onto the floor next to me, waving a huge day-glo sign reading “I CAN SEE YOUR CAMEL TOE.” I guess it’s considered gay and/or unamurican to wear jeans that tight…or maybe he was just jealous that Luke Bryan gets all the girls with all the teeth. Who knows; who cares? Haters gonna hate!
Alas, however, come to find out Luke Bryan isn’t exactly what you’d call laissez-faire when it comes to haters; no sooner had security ushered out the sign-waving heckler than there came a new commotion directly in front of me: this time Luke Bryan jumped off the stage to punch another audience member in the face — a middle-aged weaselly-looking Florida Man-type who had apparently flipped him the bird! Jeez, whatever happened to Christian values, Luke? Turn the other cheek, already!! (And then the other….and then the other again…basically just keep shaking dat ass in my face, boy!)
Unfortunately, Florida Man and his wife were quickly ushered out by security, and the skirmish did not escalate into a full-blown brawl….which is a real shame, as I understand there is a great deal of bad blood between Luke Bryan fans and Charlie Daniels fans over some perceived slight on the part of Luke Bryan, who made some comment in an interview about not being a Country Outlaw; “I don’t do cocaine and run around,” which was enough to start World War III among butt-hurt Outlaw Country fans.
Boy, they talk about liberals being too politically correct — if you ask me, country folk get their bloomers in a bunch like no other! In fact, Luke Bryan’s people had to issue a statement the following day after this whole face-punching incident, lamenting the fact that a fan would have the poor manners to make an obscene gesture at a noble event benefiting Our Heroes™ (I guess it was a veterans’ benefit as well as being Charlie Daniels’s birthday party and a windfall for the shareholders of Coors Light, Jack Daniels and Jimmy Buffett). Holy pandering, Batman! Talk about a camel toe; them country panties get more twisted than a trailer park in a tornado!
Anyway, also talk about the best shroom trip ever — I’ve never seen anything like it! For a peace-loving hippie I sure do love a good old fashioned ruckus 😀 And the best part was, I was able to puff away the whole time, watching the melee through a sweet cloud of vaporized marijuana thanks to the discreet little vape pen I had hidden in my bra. I’m here to tell you: it really doesn’t get any better!
And indeed, all that fussin’ and feudin’ would have been hard to top — if it hadn’t been immediately followed by an 80-year-old Charlie Daniels waddling out onstage with a fiddle and a Jesus belt buckle the size of a pancake nestled under a pannus of astonishing proportions, launching into a rousing all-star rendition of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” along with Kid Rock, Chris Stapleton, Travis Tritt, Travis Tritt’s Dixieland Dominatrix daughter, and some poor off-key anorexic big-haired blonde up-and-comer in a Swarovski microdress. They even let Luke Bryan come back from timeout; it was the Hoedown at Appomattox!
The rest of the show was a whirlwind blur of Charlie Daniels’s arch observations on the subjects of guns, God and the Greatest Military on the Face of This Earth, plus a few feisty admonitions regarding the consequences of taking said guns, which got a good rise out of the crowd. Veterans were praised, the flag was fetishized, beer was swilled…but above all, the band killed it!
I’m not kidding — Charlie Daniels has an amazing backup band. It may have just been the shrooms, but one of my favorite parts of the show was this long, drawn out jam session they did where every band member got a chance to solo, from the keyboard guy to the drummer to the bass player. It was incredible! I don’t know when I’ve danced so much — it was just a great groove. Not everyone felt the same, though — at one point during the jam sesh I turned around to look at the crowd, and what I saw was the opposite of Hieronymous Bosch: 20,000 bored, befuddled boozers sitting there twiddling their thumbs, probably praying for another brawl to liven things up, or at least for Charlie Daniels to resume making incendiary statements. Shoulda had a shroom, folks!
Anyway, the band finally shut up and the 5-hour marathon concert concluded with a very special appearance by poor old creaky stroke-ridden Randy Travis, who mumbled a few words before everything melted down into a giant bubbling fondue gangbang of pickin’, grinnin’, strummin’, wailin’ and fiddlin’ to that classic staple of folksy faith, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Yeeeeeeeeeeee HAW!
Phew!!!! By the time it was over, I was exhausted — and not just from all the dancing. The shrooms had finally worn off (did I mention it was a five hour show?) and so had the tequila and nachos, so my flu symptoms were once again conspiring against my continued enjoyment of the spectacle of life. Thankfully, my friend was just as worn out as I was, so he called his Ethiopian taxi driver to come pick us up and take us back to the house, where we passed out cold and dreamed of tight jeans and fistfights (well, I did, anyway).
The next morning I awoke, wondering if it was all a dream — but then my throbbing headache kicked in, assuring me that Yes Virginia, There Is a ‘Murica…and I’d been elbow-deep in its pie. I laid there in my friend’s guest bedroom reliving the memories of the previous evening, watching cellphone video of Luke Bryan going rogue on TMZ.com, honking bucketloads of mucus into wads of Kleenex, wishing I could hook up to an IV bag of tequila and that magic Margaritaville cheez whiz — it seemed to be the only thing that had gotten me through the night. Hell, it was cheaper than Obamacare; maybe the new President will appoint Jimmy Buffett as his Secretary of Health, and there will be cheez whiz for all.
On second thought…maybe it was the shrooms. TERENCE McKENNA 2020!!!