On Friday night, I watched Field of Dreams in the actual Field of Dreams. This is Part II of the story, which begins here.
Keanu Reeves. Bruce Willis. Jared Leto. The roster of actors who have decided their “next career move” ought to be out of Hollywood and into the hot lights of rock and roll stardom is peppered with disaster. Do they not realize that people come to see them play not for their elevated level of musicianship but just because it’s more fulfilling than driving by an accident on the highway?
We walked across a rickety bridge onto the field and into the Concert Zone. Thousands of people—at least five thousand, according to organizers—sat in haphazard rows of camp chairs and blankets, spread from the rope that divided the field in half all the way to the left field corn where the Ghost Players in the movie appear from and into which they disappear.
Some of the Ghost Players themselves were on hand to mug for the camera with members of the crowd. Most of them are local guys, as were a lot of the people in the movie. One thing I’ll say for Hollywood—they came to Dyersville and put people to work. The Ghost Players still put on a campy show each month at Left and Center field and have taken that show on the road around the country and even internationally.
But most people’s attention focused on the half-shaven man of the hour. Kevin, a guitar around his neck but not really put to much use, had surrounded himself with a decent five-piece band: lead and rhythm guitar, bass, fiddle and drums. Apparently, the lead guitar player, who Kevin described as “my spiritual leader, my good friend, the guy who wrote most of these songs,” is the driving force behind such intense lyrics as “And a tall girl talking/in a long blue dress/on her cellphone.”
“This next song could be about me,” said the disingenuous Kevin before “Love Among The Ruins (When Good Times Go Bad).” “White trash, living in a trailer park.”
Kevin. My God. First of all, you’re worth millions of dollars. Second of all, some of the people in the audience most likely did live in trailer parks and probably didn’t appreciate being referred to, even obliquely, as “white trash.”
Or maybe they didn’t mind. I don’t know. No matter how outrageous the lyrics and how off-key the singing, the audience kept giving Kevin ovation after ovation. Lighters appeared during slower numbers.
“It’s like a buffet,” I said to Kelly, as I scribbled notes onto index cards. “I can’t even get it all down.”
At one point, Kevin invited a “very special young lady” to the stage. Until then, I had forgotten that Netflix’s promotional material indicated that Lisa Loeb, the hipster-glasses-wearing darling of the indie pop scene in the mid-1990s, was mistress of ceremonies for the event. We’d arrived too late to catch her introduction, but no worries—here she was, pigtailed and smiling, swinging her hips back and forth in a gingham skirt atop a crinoline petticoat.
“This next song is called ‘Fabulous,’” Kevin said as Lisa joined him. “It’s about women who are fabulous.”
I would make this up if I could.
“Fabulous” included a chorus featuring “Suh-weet” sung at a high decibel level, as well as “Fabulous” sung over and over again. Lisa and Kevin shared a mic, their heads tilted toward each other, best friends sharing a moment of utter career freefall.
“That was pretty brave of her,” Kevin said as Lisa left the stage.
Stay tuned for Part III…