Back Row Grace

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Biblical parable of the back-row concert goers.

No? Hmmm…I could’ve sworn strongly posited that was in the Bible. Oh, wait. Maybe I’m thinking of this:

Now He began telling a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “Whenever you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and the one who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then in disgrace you will proceed to occupy the last place. But whenever you are invited, go and take the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are dining at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
  — Luke 14:7-11 (NASB)

So, if you substitute “bought tickets to” for “invited by,” and “an Everly Brothers tribute concert” for “wedding feast,” and “assigned seat” for “place,” and “listening” for “dining,” and “in the concert hall” for “at the table,” then you’d have a[n almost] perfect description of what happened to Debbie and me last Sunday night. Here are the deets.

We did indeed attend a show entitled The Everly Brothers Experience, sponsored by the Horseshoe Bay Cultural Enrichment Society. We didn’t have any preconceived notions about the entertainment value of this program, because we didn’t know that much about the Everly Brothers. While their musical career stretched for decades, their prime was in the late 50s/early 60s, and we were more children of the pop/rock era beginning in the mid-60s.

As it turned out, the performance was incredibly entertaining (and even educational, from a musical history perspective). The performers, Zachary and Dylan Zmed, along with their drummer, Burleigh Drummond, are truly gifted musicians whose tribute to Don and Phil Everly is flawless. Their stage act is also hilarious, in a Smothers Brothers (link provided for you whippersnapper who are too young to recall these cultural icons) sort of way, and their knowledge of the musical history of that era provided some fascinating details. If you ever get a chance to see this show, we recommend without hesitation doing so.

This YouTube video will give you a taste of their talents.

I snapped a couple of photos with my phone. The weird lighting was because of the…well…weird lighting. But note the picture on the right. This was my first concert where the drummer mounted a coke* bottle on a cymbal stand and played it with a metal spike. According to Zachary Zmed, this was really the way the record was cut (but forgive me as I can’t remember the song. Let’s just assume it’s called The Coke Bottle Song.).

Photo collage of the Zmed Brothers and the drummer playing a coke bottle

I’m sure that you’re now thinking, that’s all well and good, but what does that have to do with one of Jesus’ parables? OK, let me ‘splain.

Because of this COVID thing — perhaps you’ve heard of it — seating at the show was spaced out and seats were assigned according to some unknowable algorithm. When we arrived, we were directed to seats on the last row of a room that was sort of like a big hallway down from the main concert area. It’s not a huge building, so they weren’t exactly nosebleed seats, and we were sure the sound system would be adequate, but it wasn’t exactly going to be an intimate performance.

But, a few minutes before the performance began, a gentleman approached us and said something to the effect that there are a couple of center stage, front row, and you have been chosen to occupy them if you would like. I considered the implications of this offer for, oh, a nanosecond or two before proffering an enthusiastic acceptance. 

We followed the man — who turned out to be the president of the Cultural Enrichment group — to the front of the room where two chairs were set, each containing a three-inch-thick cushion embroidered with the name of the previous president. Those seats were reserved for him and his wife but they were unable to attend that evening and we were the beneficiaries of their absences.

I’d be lying if I said we didn’t feel a bit self-conscious about this unexpected elevation in seating status. I’d also be lying if I said we didn’t absolutely enjoy the unimpeded view of the program. To quote that eminent philosopher, Mel Brooks, “it’s good to be the king!”

I’m pretty sure that Jesus had something else in mind with His parable, but for a brief moment, we felt like the humble-but-honored guest at the wedding. 

*This is Texas and we don’t employ meaningless, and, frankly, wimpy terms like “soda” or “pop.” They’re all cokes, even if they’re not Cokes.