Guest Author - Kathy Lyngholm
The official start date of ďThe American Farewell TourĒ was in April, although I was able to see them at the unofficial kick off at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March. To say that it was an emotional journey is an understatement.
I first saw Alabama entertain in 1985 after a Houston Astros baseball game, I was hooked. To be honest, I was hooked before the concert, but after the concert I was and still am a diehard Alabama fan. The energy that Randy Owen and the rest of the group put into a show just made it worthwhile. I have seen them perform countless times at the Livestock Show and Rodeo while living in Houston (they have performed at 10 shows during the annual rodeo in Houston.) After I got married and moved to Florida, it seemed like every year on our anniversary, Alabama was coming to town and I drug my husband along for my anniversary gift to see them perform. I have a collection of t-shirts and hats from the various tours, but my most prized possession is a black satin jacket that has ďEntertainer of the DecadeĒ printed on the back my husband bought for me.
Itís amazing to think that Alabama has been on the road for over 25 years and is now retiring from touring. From the ballads to the toe tapping songs, there was always something for everyone at one of their shows. You couldnít possibly leave the show in a bad mood, the boys wouldnít let you. Ok, so Iím from Texas and a bit biased, but my favorite song was and still is ďIf Youíre Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band).Ē
Watching Randy, Jeff, Teddy and Mark perform at the rodeo for the last time brought tears to my eyes. They had the same energy, just a few more wrinkles than the first time I had seen them perform. This group didnít make the news much for flamboyant behavior, marriage infidelity, divorces or just plain dumb stuff like some groups. They make the news for their charity works, including St. Judeís and The Oak Ranch. Their June Jam has raised over $4 million dollars to help out charities so far.
Being ranked the 9th best selling band ever canít hurt, letís just hope that they keep recording, even if we canít watch them on tour any longer. The final concert of the Farewell tour is in Rosemont, IL on November 22, 2003. If they are coming to your town, donít miss this final opportunity to see them in action.