Hammonasset. Where do I begin? I first attended this event 16 years ago. 15 years ago I saw Lost & Found there for the first time. And I became a groupie. It was such an awesome experience for me to be able to see them back at Hammo again. When I was in college they were playing there about every other year. Then after college for one reason or another I have had to miss all of their return visits. But not this year. I was determined to go! I was ready to camp elsewhere in the campground and crash the event.
And then word came about Tropical Storm Hanna. At first we thought the event would be cancelled, but instead it was just held in an abbreviated format. The Friday activities went on like normal, and then the Saturday and Sunday events were held on Saturday at a local church, with the event ending at 6. We left a little after 1 so that we would be sure to avoid the worst weather.
So we get there Friday, arriving before it was completely pitch black, although it was after sunset. We got the tents up and then headed over for the concert, actually scoring some decent seats. After the concert I kind of hung around the merchandise table for a bit. I was off to the side, letting Michael do his thing. He was greeting all of the kids, "woman/man, what can I do for you". (Interestingly there were far more women than men.) The kids all were getting a kick out of it. Then he turned to me and said the same thing. I responded "Don't 'woman' me" (but in a friendly tone. I realize that may read kind of mean.) and then he immediately recognized me. I love that 15 years later they still know who I am. It's not like I haven't seen them in 15 years, but with everyone they meet, it's still nice to know that they remember me.
So we chatted for a bit, but then it was time for me to head back to camp and be a responsible adult. :) Our group sat around for a bit chatting, and I explained how I became one of their groupies. How I met them 15 years ago when I was in a small group that they were leading.
I remember we were playing a game where we had to say our name and something about ourselves, and then other people would ask questions. We knew it was time to move on to the next person when I would ask a really random question. I remember I was wearing my "cow" sweat pants. They were black pants that I had cut various holes in them and my white legs underneath made up the "spots" of the cow.
I told the group about how when I went to the National Youth Gathering (that's a link for the upcoming one) in Atlanta I had questionnaires with me for them, on the off chance that I ran into them. And how people knew I was looking for them, so they brought me over to them. How one of the questions was about what I should do with a yard of cow print fabric and that George had answered make a dress for his daughter, so I did. And then I made one for his second daughter as well.
I told about how I went to concerts every year at Valpo, and how then I've seen them all over NY and New England, and dragged Chris with me, so that even he knows the songs now. And I told about how excited I was to be seeing them at Hammonasset again so that I would get the extended concert experience. They tend to use a lot of the same jokes at concerts, so I was looking forward to new stories and witty repartee.
And then I was touched when Amanda and Brittany led our group in prayer, and they both mentioned their thanks that I was able to see Lost & Found again. I know I sound like a psycho groupie, following a band around 15 years later (I guess this is similar to Mel and her Donnie obsession), but I'm really not normally this bad. I think it was just the extreme joy of being able to see them at Hammonasset again. I don't think I get this way for normal concerts. And they were playing in Rhode Island Sunday night and I didn't feel the need to go to that concert.
So we went to bed Friday night. The air was very warm and humid. Somewhere after midnight the rain started. Then around 4am there was really bad thunder and lightening. I woke up and hear the girls talking. Turns out 2 of them had to get up to go to the bathroom. They got soaked!
Woke up in the morning and the rain had stopped. But of course everything was soaked. I think most people's tents had leaked so everyone was on the wet side. We packed up and headed to Friendly's for breakfast. Surprisingly the place was pretty empty. I've never seen a Friendly's that deserted before. After breakfast we headed off to the church, making sure we would be there in time for the 9:30 Lost & Found performance. We kind of kidded around about how I wasn't going to let the group be late. We got to the church and I grabbed seats for us in the second row, Michael side. (I had told them the night before about how for a while I would show up over an hour early at shows to make sure I had a seat front row, Michael side.)
Another tradition I have when I go to see them (although I haven't always done it in recent years) is that I give them a set list. Sometimes these are rather extensive. I didn't have time to prepare one in advance, so after the concert Friday night I quickly put one together with only 4 or 5 songs on it. I had given it to Michael, and later George asked if I had one yet. "Yup," I told him. "And #1 on the list was Alexander." He responded, "can there be a substitution?" Nope. Unfortunately I knew it wasn't going to be played, but I had to request it anyway. (It's an oldie that I love, and they used to play it all the time, but now they never play it.) But back to my story.... Friday night after turning in my set list I thought of two others I wanted to add, so when we arrived on Saturday I told them of my two new additions.
They played for a bit, and then we had some other programming that was part of the weekend. We had a break at one point and I went out to talk to them. I mentioned that if they were going to play anything from my set list it would have to be before lunch since we would be leaving afterwards. Then George mocked me for leaving at since apparently Hanna wasn't going to hit until 2am. I told him it wasn't my call, that it was our vicar's and he said that I should have her come talk to him so that he could set her straight.
So the next time they got on stage they talked about how an old friend of theirs had requested a really obscure song of theirs, and they played one from my list - The Hi-at Hotel". And then a little later the same thing, really obscure but their friend Chris requested it, and it was "Jesus Loves Me" complete with the hand motions made up by an 8 year old. They had done this song 15 years ago at Hammo, and I've frequently requested it since then, and they had never done it, until now. Yup, warm fuzzies. Here I was thinking they would be doing a different one since they had told me they would do two of my requests.
Shortly after that musical interlude was lunch. We ate, and then I gathered the group together for the annual photo with the band. (Like I was going to not do photos with L&F?!) And then it was time to head home.
We hit a bit of bad weather along the way, but it wasn't too bad. I think I'm glad that we left early though. If we had stuck around, who knows what the rain would have been like, and I don't like driving on the highway in the dark. And everyone was tired and was sleeping in the car, so it all worked out for the best.
It would have been better without the rain, but I think, all in all, it was a fabulous Hammonasset experience.