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Finding the Blues in Jacksonville (photos still to come)

Updated: Apr 17, 2022

I have been a lifelong fan of live music and prefer the Blues over all. Last year we were waiting for somebody, I simply can't remember who right now, to come on stage and on a whim I checked the lineup at the Florida Theater in Jacksonville, FL and saw that Keb Mo was coming to town in early March. I bought us tickets sitting there waiting. Many years ago I saw the Tedeschi Trucks Band perform there and truly loved the place. I was excited to be returning and a chance to see Keb Mo was just icing on the cake.

As luck would have it we ended up building a pretty diverse and fun weekend. Thursday night we saw Bert Kreischer at the Saenger Theater in Pensacola, Friday night was Keb Mo in Jacksonville, and Saturday night was The Russian Spectacular back at the Saenger in Pensacola.

A lifetime ago it seems I lived in the region around Jacksonville as a teenager and had been back through a few times so didn't put much thought into finding something else to do. Moments before leaving the house I realized that there was a problem with the digital tickets so I jumped on the Mac to print hard copies. I almost always try and buy tickets from the venue itself to avoid the big faceless corporations and help keep a human component to things. I quickly logged into my account for the Florida Theater and saw that Christone "Kingfish" Ingram was playing the following night. Without any hesitation I bought two tickets and decided I would figure out the symphony later as they are in residence and Kingfish was not playing anywhere else close until next year. Well, truth be told he was in New Orleans later in March but given the idiots at the helm in one of my favorite cities and their demand for "ihre Papiere bitte" I simply refuse to visit.

Off we went for Jacksonville early Friday morning. I managed to get ahold of my favorite uncle and transferred the symphony tickets to him with ease. Normally I hide things from Terri in a continuous effort to surprise her but had accidentally let it slip that we were headed to Jax a few days before. I have made countless drives on I10 eastbound and whenever possible I try and take smaller side roads for a change in scenery. Luckily I had arranged a boat tour at Wakulla Springs State Park later that morning so I took the chance to turn south out of Marianna and cut down to Blountstown to then run east on Hwy 20 to take the back way to the park. I spent years diving in Wakulla as part of the Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP) and was happy too return for a visit. This was Terri's first visit so we explored the Lodge and the grounds and just happened to find ourselves on the boat dock at the right time 😉 to hop on board. That boat trip was an absolute blast! The captain was quite entertaining and very knowledgeable of the local flora and fauna. Numerous alligators, a couple of manatees, along with all the other critters of the region were out and about. Since the area is protected it has remained beautiful and most of the animals have become accustomed to the park boats so they stay put. Wonderful side trip. Pictures to come.

Off to Jacksonville without any other issue until arrival. I typically stay in Red Roof Inns on the road with the pups and often without them in an effort to build up reward points. With this in mind I had booked a hotel to avoid the hassle of trying to find lodging once we get there. Little did I know I booked the last room in crack house central. One of the nastiest hotels I've ever stepped foot into. The parking level window didn't lock 😳, there where little black spots all over the thread bare sheets, and I was offered both ass and crack in the hallway 😂. Needless to say we cancelled that reservation and found something much, much nicer.

We had pushed it to get into town and with the added hassle of changing hotels we were running short on time so we skipped dinner and headed straight to the theater. We were just right of center stage in the balcony and had the perfect view. So perfect in fact that the usher who helped us looked at our tickets and said we had his favorite seats. Turns out we were sat one row below our actual seats which led to our talking to the older couple who actually had the usher's favorite seats when they showed up. Still no issues at all with our seats and that random mistake gave us an opportunity to strike up a slightly more than casual conversation with them. They were also music fans who travel a good bit and it wasn't hard for me to mentally fast forward in life and see us in their shoes in twenty years. Somewhat scary to realize the incessant march of time. They mentioned they were coming back in a few weeks to see Lyle Lovett so I jumped on to his website to look at tickets and saw he was playing in Mobile, AL the night after he plays in Jacksonville. I quickly grabbed tickets for Lyle as he is quite the musician too.

Keb Mo didn't disappoint. The man is truly a musician and it is easy to see how he was won so many accolades over the years. A master of his craft and I am very happy we got to see him. Terri and I first dated some thirty years ago in our very early twenties and saw BB King perform at the Saenger Theater in Pensacola, we also saw Pink Floyd in New Orleans but that's another story 😎, and it was kind of right for those thoughts to creep into my mind decades later still enjoying the Blues.

Saturday we hit the road to explore the area and stumbled upon the Aloha Bagel Shop for a quick bite on our way to the Amelia Island Lighthouse. Unfortunately we didn't get to climb this one as they were closed, but the still enjoyed the visit. We then roamed around Ft. Clinch State Park and took some great black and white photos. Lifelong history buff and will almost always chose the historical entertainment of a region when the opportunity strikes. The weather was amazing and the views were very nice, but I must admit I prefer the clearer waters of the Gulf of Mexico over the Atlantic.

I first heard "Kingfish" on Sirius XM and was an instant fan. To those who are unfamiliar with the prodigy I will say that if the Universe could somehow create a love child between BB King, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix it would be "Kingfish"! That man can seriously play. An absolute blast to watch and listen to. During the show he even came off the stage and walked thought the theater while playing which you hardly ever see anymore. "Kingfish" is now a Grammy Award winner and if you ever get the chance to see him I hop you take it.

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