You may recall that my first Josh Ritter concert last year was a rather eventful one that kicked off all this wedding madness. Well, Josh passed through Atlanta again last night with his band, providing a nice sort of bookend to our engagement. Around 9:20 or so he turned up on stage looking like an ice cream man, complete with white bow tie (and cummerbund... fancy ice cream man).
Given the material on the new album, much of the concert was pretty low-key, but there were a good few rockers in the 2-hour show as well. They didn't play Kathleen but they did play Snow is Gone, which is a close second in the race for favorite. Also, please note the shorts-suit on the bassist at right.
Josh hails from Moscow, Idaho, where Jon spent his late-junior high, high school and college years, and where his folks still live. Josh mentioned Moscow once during the show (and Jon totally missed his one chance to holler out "Go Bears!" for Moscow High School) but demonstrated Idaho pride throughout by displaying the state flag onstage. Jon also displayed some Idaho pride by wearing his (University of Idaho) Vandal Marching Band t-shirt, even though he's giving the state flag the weakest thumbs-up I've ever seen:
After the show, we hung around in the lobby hoping that Josh would come out and say hello. There were probably 20 folks there for 10 minutes or so after the venue cleared out, which soon dwindled to about a dozen, then five or six fans. The merch guy told us that he hadn't seen Josh come out after any shows yet, so it was probably pointless to wait. Some family of the band came out of the hall, and moments later some folks who had gotten a poster signed by Josh and the band. The ticket-scanner/bouncer guy with a big flashlight in his belt disappeared back into the hall, and I told Jon I wanted to wait until we saw him again, just to be certain.
Our persistence paid off, because when bouncer/flashlight man came back, he motioned to the five of us still waiting in the lobby to follow him inside, where the band was breaking down the equipment. He had us stand by the railing at the edge of the floor section and disappeared backstage, emerging shortly thereafter with a jovial Josh at his heels.
Jon and I were first up in the line. Josh extended his hand to Jon as he introduced himself, and when I introduced myself he wrapped me up in a big hug, confirming my suspicions that he is a very friendly and generally wonderful fellow. I told him that we had gotten engaged at his last Atlanta show and would be getting married the weekend after this. His eyes widened and he congratulated us both with more hugs. Hooray! After that we talked about how Jon is from Moscow, where his folks live in town, people they know in common, when the last time we were in Moscow was, where the wedding is, etc. Josh told us he had just celebrated his one-year wedding anniversary four days earlier (to the girl who was the opening act, I later learned -- Dawn Landes) and that it was a great thing, that he thought marriage probably made you smarter. As we prepared to take our leave and let the others have at him, he told us best wishes many times over, and gave me a long, tight hug. (I am a big hugger, so this was extra awesome in my book.) I told Jon later that we should try to hang out with Josh and Dawn next time we're in Moscow over the holidays. (Ha!)
In the midst of all of that, I asked if we could take a picture together, and Josh happily obliged. I handed my camera off to a dude who was waiting behind us and went to stand on the other side of Josh, but Josh told me I should be in the middle because I was the prettiest. Whether or not that is the case, this picture will surely refute his claim, because my eyes are lazily half-closed and I look SO UNFORTUNATE! You can't really tell at this size though, so it's OK. I'm just kicking myself for not asking for a re-do when I just knew I had blinked at a bad time! Boo.
In summary, it was an awesome evening! It was so nice to get out of the house, away from the computer and the thank-you notes waiting to be written and just have a good time seeing an excellent concert together. I can't wait until Josh comes back again!