Catharsis in the Arboretum with Brave Combo

It has been a long two years. Correction, it has been a long and hard two years. <Clears throat> It has been a very long, hard, challenging, isolating and at times, dark two years. It was a great oppertunity to contemplate many things.

For me, it was a time to contemplate when I was going to be able to see Brave Combo again.

I got that answer on Sunday…and that answer was LOUD AND CLEAR!

Yours truly leading the Congo line. (Photo by Robert Stinson)

Catharsis is defined as “the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.”

I cannot think of a better way to describe the Sunday afternoon with Brave Combo at the Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plain, KS.

Actually, I think I was to label it as CATHARTIC JOY.

The combination of release and joy resulted in one of the best days of my life. I was so happy, that I was moved to tears several times during the show.

Complete and total joy.

My daughter Mariana, her boyfriend Cooper, and my friend of over 40 years and fellow Brave Combo devotee, Robert Stinson, were all there. The only thing that could have improved it was if my entire family was there.

Mariana and Cooper dance many times during the show. They had fun.

One of the more magical moments of the show was when Robert invited Mariana to dance during the song “Tsamikos”, a Greek war song and dance.

This was a happy sight to see – Robert and Mariana dancing together…at Robert’s invitation.

The arboretum was by far the most amazing venue in which I have seen Brave Combo perform. When we walked through the entrance, we could hear the sound check going on. We also were struck by the amazing beauty of the location. Flowers, trees, bridges, ponds, and lovely decorations were in abundance.

This shot of the WIllow over the pond does not even do it justice.

The arboretum is led by Robin Macy, one of the original members of the Dixie Chicks, now called the Chicks. You will see her dancing with us in many of our videos below.

A shot of the band after the show. One of the original Dixie Chicks, Robin Macy, is giving Carl Finch a kiss. From right to left, the band members are Lyle, Jeffrey, Danny, Robert and Alan.
Robin Macy introduces the band before the show.

One thing that is ALWAYS TRUE when you go to a Brave Combo concert is that you know the music is going to be POPPING! This day was no different. The play list was amazing and they had the crowd on their feet many times during the show.

Carl is very animated during the performances.

In fact, here is a quick video I made highlighting his expressions.

One of the main highlights was getting to chat with Carl and the band after the show. I was able to get pix with Mariana and me with both Carl and Jeffrey.

Then a VERY RARE thing happened. Robert was able to wrangle the entire band to pose for some pix. This has only happened one other time that I know of. Carl even said that it was a very rare event.

Of course Robert and I were on Cloud 9 the entire time. Mariana had seen Brave Combo when she was 3, but does not remember. Cooper had never seen them and had only heard some of their music. So I decided to ask them about it as we walked to the car after.

I previously mentioned cathartic joy. Spending the afternoon with Brave Combo, my family and friends and the hundreds of others, is a joy that I wish I could carry with me every minute of every day. I guess that is up to me to get there.

Well, I am going to give myself some help by going to see them again in West, TX at Westfest 0n Sep 4.

I am smilly ear to ear just thinking about it.

Following the videos below are a few fun things from our drive up to the concert.


Below are some videos from several of their songs. IMO, they are all fabulous. Which one is your fave?

This last video is a special treat for Combo fans. After the show was over, Robert spent a good amount of time speak with Jeffrey. They discussed that they did not play the songs where he plays two instruments at once. So…Jeffrey pulled them out and played a special show for us. Unfortunately, the audio is bad because there was still after show music playing in the venue.

The trip

We had a 2.5 hour drive from Tulsa to Belle Plain. Robert kept bringing up the “big dogs” to Mariana and Cooper. After about 2 hours, we found out what he meant. The video shows Mariana and Cooper “running with the big dogs” so we now have official evidence that they can do so.

One big lab!

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