Hi gang! Well, here we are at the tail end of July, and at this moment… we are sittin’ on the side of the road outside of a gig we did last night in Arnold Park, Iowa… in a customized Prevost tour bus worth almost a quarter of a million bucks… and we are broke down! We’re all just sittin’ here… patiently awaiting roadside assistance and tryin’ to kill time until we can be rescued… so I thought I’d spend a little time with you folks. My good buddy Hal McCormack heard me tell this next little tale before, so on his request and suggestion… I’ll be tell ya’ll about one of his favorite “Rambin’ With Rickie Lee” stories of the old BOA days gone by.
I think we’ll call this critter -
The Arrowhead Stadium Adventure!
Well, this story takes place in the early 1970’s in good ol’ Kansas City. We were at our peak in those days, and selling out big stadiums across the country. On this particular weekend, we were do a giant concert at the home of the Kansas City Chiefs… Arrowhead Stadium! (I just had Hal consult with my good buddy Jim Dandy, and we’ve arrived at the conclusion that the opening acts for this concert were Utopia with Tod Rundgren and The Nitty-Gritty Dirt Band)
Man… what a place! It’s gotta be one of the largest venues I’ve ever had the pleasure to play, and the folks runnin’ the place were incredibly nice the whole time we were there and treated us and our families and crew as VIP’s.
We arrived at Kansas City the day before the show and went down to meet the folks running the place and the folks responsible for us getting to play at this unbelievable location. My first wife, Annie, and my first-born son, Christopher, were able to make this show and spend a couple of precious days with me. This was extremely rare in those days, and we treasured every moment. Christopher was only two or three years old at that time… and I had gotten to spend very little time with him since his birth. When we arrived at the venue, the stage was being built, the sound being set up and lights being unloaded. The stage was to be in the center of the football field… with quite a distance between it and where we would come onto the field. We were offered several choices of vehicles to drive us from the ramp to the stage, but after learning that “War Horse,” the K.C. Chief’s mascot was boarded there also, we decided… to ride out to the stage on horseback!
Of course, everyone… the promoter, the Chief’s people, our management… everyone… thought this was a great idea… as long as we could pull it off!
That afternoon, we all drove out to where the stables were that housed War Horse, his son, War Cloud… and a double handful of other beautiful horses! Boy, oh boy, did we love horses!
Here, I’ve got to say that in those days of being on the road all of the time, a day off for us would often mean looking for a stable where we could rent horses and head for the woods! We were all good horsemen, and loved the freedom that riding gives you after working so hard 24/7. I’ve got several stories to tell you all later about those adventures… but let’s get back to Kansas City!
We all went through the stable… got to know the animals a little… and we each picked out a horse. Getting introduced to your horse in advance is never a bad idea, so we all found mounts that seemed to feel right to us. If you’ve ridden a lot, you’ll know what I mean. Since Jim was wearing so much white clothing in those days… it was decided, (not by Jim, by the way!), that he should ride the only all white stallion available the day of the show.
Well, that afternoon, we all head down to an early sound check, (including wives and children). They have let us have the actual dressing room of the Kansas City Chiefs… with the lockers and whirlpool and the whole shootin’ match… as our dressing room! Annie, my wife, and my infant son Chris are both there with me… and the room is full of drinks and sandwich stuff and chips and cookies and breads and cheese and all kinds of goodies! Chris is goin’ out of his mind to get a taste of everything!
It finally is time for us to do our sound check. We are all walkin’ out of the dressing room, Annie is holding my hand… smilin’ real big… with Chris walkin’ alongside of her… and everyone else in front of us… WHEN THE AUTOMATIC DOOR TO THE DRESSING ROOM SWINGS CLOSED… and locks poor little Chris inside! No one there has a KEY TO OPEN THIS DOOR! The little guy is screaming his heart out, locked in all alone, and we have to wait almost a half hour until a walkie-talkie can be found to contact a maintenance man on the other side of the stadium to come around with a key to release this poor screaming child!
Right then, I KNEW it was gonna be a weird adventure!
The sound check goes O.K., we load up and head back to the hotel.
That night, we have a gigantic crowd… and all of the opening acts are sounding great! We’re all wound up and ready to come galloping out to our big show with a screaming crowd of thousands of folks!
Now comes the funny part!
We all jump bareback on our excited horses with guitars slung over our backs… and go stampeding out of the end zone toward center field where our stage is located! What we DIDN’T know… until we were in full gallop… was that Jim Dandy’s mount was “line shy!” This means that every time his horse would come up to a ten-yard line marked on the field, Jim’s horse would jump over it as if it were a four-foot tall fence! The band was already at the stage while Jim’s horse was still pogoing down the field as if it were a steeplechase with Jim whompin’ on it tryin’ to control the critter!\
The gig was great after that… with three encores and a standing ovation… but we STILL to this day talk about that crazy horse jumping all over that damn football field with Jim holding on bareback for dear life in front of thousands of BOA fans!
Ol’ Jim pulled it off great, though! What a showman!
You just gotta love that guy!
Well, we’ve gotta get back to trying to fix this bus critter. Thanks for listening in here with me… and I hope to see you all soon. Be good to each other.