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Atlanta Rhythm Section keyboardist Dean Daughtry is a lot older than he used to be.
That's OK. I am, too.
Times sure have changed – but here I am – as Daughtry and fellow ARS members Andy Anderson, David Anderson, Jim Keeling, Justin Senker and Steve Stone turn back the clock for me and a group of friends.
I'm sitting here in Bundy Auditorium with Jimmy Addison, Ken Henry, Terry Marshall Povey, Tom Moore, Mark "Green Horn" Starnes and Jono Rabley, who attended the University of South Carolina at Lancaster from 1978-80.
This is one Saturday night I won'tt stop grinning.
Atlanta Rhythm Section is right here at USCL and I'm enjoying their music with some of the best friends I will ever know.
You would've thought we just walked out of Starr Hall after a couple of games of ping-pong or a three-hour marathon session of Spades or "knock poker"" for matchsticks.
I just hope ARS plays "The Ballad of Lois Malone" and "Georgia Rhythm."
"Georgia Rhythm" is the greatest song that no one (outside of us) ever heard of. It's the reason why I have this album in my lap. I hope the guys in the band will sign it for me after the show.
Come to think of it, 25 years ago, going somewhere together like this wasn't that big of a deal for us.
We had this reputation for doing everything together from road trips to Fort Lauderdale and the beach, to Carowinds and Darlington Speedway.
We did a lot of things together when we were at the "Stention"(what we called the Extension)and did it when we went to Columbia, too.
You know, I wonder if I still have that "Stention" basketball T-shirt that Cecelia Reddick Gay designed when we used to pull for "Green Horn" and the rest of his Lancers teammates when they were lighting up the scoreboard inside the North Junior High School gym.
Times sure have changed; now it's an elementary school gym.
If you told me back then that I'd be sitting inside a sold-out auditorium at USCL listening to ARS (on anything other than an 8-track tape player), I would've doubted your sanity.
One thing's for sure; this ain't Tex Ritter and Ferlin Husky playing in front of the swimming pool during a 25-year-club outing at Springs Park.
Springs Park is no more.
I'm behaving myself, too. I have to; this crowd could surely share a story or two with my wife that I don't want told.
I see this as an unmentioned "gentleman's agreement" of sorts. I won't tell one on them if they won't tell one on me, or at least, I'll try not to.
Hey, Andy Anderson just mentioned Travis Tritt.
That can only mean one thing; they are fixing to sing "Homesick."
It's about time.
I feel like hollering like "Nature Boy" Rick Flair.
I know there are some older folks here. It's a given that ARS isn't their cup of tea. I can tell by the fingers they have in their ears.
But I hope they don't mind if I stand up.
Here goes: "WHOOO!"
That felt good to get out of my system.
Yes sir, times sure have changed.
–Greg Summers is features editor for The Lancaster News