The Tuscaloosa Get Up! has come and gone. The show and benefit, held on March 23rd, raised over $20,000 for Habitat for Humanity in Tuscaloosa to help the Nero family rebuild the home they lost during the tornado of April 27th, 2011. My previous blog posting about the event covered just the musical performances from Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, The Dexateens, and The Alabama Shakes. For those who have not seen it yet, you can check it out at http://wellthatscool.com/photos-from-the-bands-at-the-tuscaloosa-get-up/. Today’s post will look at the event from a different perspective… a behind the scenes perspective.
Even though doors opened to VIP’s at 6:00 P.M. that night, most of the Wellthatscool.com group was on site at the Bama Theatre around 11:00 A.M. that day. The show prep couldn’t really begin until a theater production for children ended, but once it did, things got into full swing. The merchandise tables were stocked, the sign went up on the marquee, and Bo Hicks, organizer extraordinaire, was taking calls and putting out fires left and right. One of the biggest fires of the day came when Matt Patton, bassist for The Dexateens, called and said his flight out of Vancouver was delayed. Matt has been touring with The Drive-By Truckers recently, but he was absolutely committed to playing this show. After an emergency call to the airline, Bo was able to get Matt a flight to Dallas and then to Memphis… where he proceeded to drive to Tuscaloosa and make it on stage early into The Dexateens’ set. Even though it had potential for disaster, it made for one of the more memorable moments of the night.
As the show was drawing near, I headed over to Oz Music just down the road to get a look at the meet and greet with The Alabama Shakes. We arrived at the store just as the band arrived, and we all entered the building to see the large number of fans already assembled. Oz Music hosted a great event, and it’s quite refreshing to have a locally owned music store that puts on events like these meet and greets. I couldn’t stay long at the store, though, as showtime was rapidly approaching…
Shortly after I arrived back at the Bama, the bands were loading in gear and sound checking, while the final prep for the VIP hour was finished. The VIP hour featured a catered meal by Jim ‘N Nicks, who will soon be opening a restaurant in downtown Tuscaloosa, and beer from one of Wellthatscool.com’s great sponsors, Good People Brewing. It also featured the acoustic set that was highlighted in the earlier post. Once the VIP hour finished and doors were opened to the general public, it was showtime…
The show opened with words from a very special guest as Tuscaloosa’s Mayor Walt Maddox took the stage. He provided some great words of support and thanks for all of those in attendance and continued to show the great resolve he displayed immediately after the tornado hit on April 27th. Needless to say, he got a great reaction from the crowd for his comments. When Mayor Maddox left the stage, the two special guest hosts for the evening, Jim Dunaway of CBS 42 and WJOX FM, and Tuscaloosa’s own “The Bronze Bomber”, Deontay Wilder, took the stage to introduce the bands. It was real great to have Jim and Deontay on board for the show, and they brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the evening. A final moment that needs to be brought up is when Bo Hicks introduced the Nero family to the crowd. You could see the appreciation and happiness on their faces as the crowd gave them as great reaction as well.
Again, I am proud to have been part of The Tuscaloosa Get Up! from the planning phase to the execution. It was a fantastic event that brought out the best in Tuscaloosa, and it’s something I’ll cherish for a long time. If you’d like to view the rest of the behind the scenes photos, please check out http://www.dsmithimages.com/