Artist: Indigo Girls with opener Dom Kelly
Venue: Old National Centre (Egyptian Room), Indianapolis IN
Mileage: 112

Well, what can I say – I’ve seen Indigo Girls approximately one billion times, going back to 1994 or so (I’ve lost count of the actual number). I haven’t traveled too much for them, as they usually make it to Bloomington or Indy at least every couple of years, which is just about right for me. I was able to get excellent seats for this show with some minor wheeling & dealing. I had a venue presale password and so hit the LiveNation website at the appointed time – and was a bit disappointed that the best I could do for myself, a friend, and another friend of hers was about halfway back on the floor. For myself I probably would have bailed, but I didn’t want to let my friend down, so I bought those. Then an hour or so later a tweet pops up with the Indigo Girls fan club presale password. I took a look just to see what I could get, thinking I might be able to sell the others, and BAM, second row more or less center. Well, okay then! I grabbed those, which were not only better tickets but also, Tickets Today tacked on about half the fees that LiveNation did – which saved us like ten bucks per ticket. And THEN, to my delight, I figured out that this was one of the shows & venues for which LiveNation allows you to get a refund within something like 48 hours of your purchase. I figured out how to do it, and just like that, the mediocre tickets with the high fees were gone and the great seats with low fees were in my (virtual) pocket. Thank you, Indigo Girls, for working with a decent ticketing service! (And yes, thank you LiveNation for letting people return their tickets sometimes.)

Amy Ray playing guitar and singing
Amy Ray

I’ve been to tons of shows at the Old National Centre, formerly known as the Murat Shrine. There are a bunch of individual venues inside, and I’ve been to three: the Murat Theatre, which is a super ornate room that seats around 2500; the Egyptian Room with its faux-Ancient-Egypt murals and high ceiling, which can be configured with chairs or as standing room, and apparently can hold up to 2000 people although I’ve never seen a show with that large a crowd there; and the Deluxe, which is a smaller room with a club-style feel and holds a couple hundred. IG were in the Egyptian Room (I’ve also seen them in the fancier theatre part), which was configured with seats this time around although I’ve seen them in that same room with GA standing only. A little of this, a little of that.

The opener, Dom Kelly (of the band A Fragile Tomorrow, now striking out solo) performed a set of heartfelt pop-folk songs that reminded me a bit, here and there, of the band fun. (who I like well enough). He had one song about his mother’s experience with cancer that was pretty heart-wrenching. Indigo Girls nearly always hand-pick their opening acts, who are often Atlanta locals, and I really appreciate that about them – it’s nice to discover new music!

Emily Saliers playing electric guitar
Emily Saliers

Much as I miss the good old days of Indigo Girls playing with a full band, they’re sounding fine these days as a duo with the addition of violinist Lyris Hung. There was nothing terribly unexpected on the setlist, just a nice mix of acoustic & electric and one song from Emily’s upcoming solo album. “Let It Be Me,” which I hadn’t heard for a while, sounded especially great and especially timely and got a strong crowd reaction; other highlights were “Woodsong,” “Chickenman,” and a great “Kid Fears” with Dom Kelly joining in on the Michael Stipe part.

For me it was pretty much a standard Indigo Girls show – not that radically different from others I’ve seen. (Which is not a terrible thing.) But for my friend Ali, who has always LOVED music and who recently got a cochlear implant, it was a pretty special experience. Read Ali’s take on the show!

Leaving the theatre after the show, I pulled out my phone to take a quick look at the radar as the forecast had mentioned strong storms. And… sure enough, there was a nasty-looking line of storms lined up to impact my entire 50-mile drive home. I made some calculations and figured that if I wasted no time leaving, I could get south of Indianapolis and pull off the road to wait out the storm after exiting the freeway. That turned out to be exactly the right plan; it was starting to rain a bit as I pulled into a gas station parking lot (well-lit, etc.) and then the storm WHOMPED on through. At one point I literally turned around to see who’d just rear-ended me, but it was just the wind. I was glad I wasn’t driving at that moment, for sure! When I finally got home, all of downtown Bloomington was dark due to a power outage. Kind of spooky really. When I got home, I had power and all was well, but it was a bit of an adventurous drive home and I saw some truly spectacular lightning along the way.

Venue Tips: 

  • You can usually buy parking in advance, in the lot right in front of the venue, for $15 or so. There are other lots in the immediate vicinity that are usually cheaper but not quite as convenient. I’ve lost this bet almost every time; for the IG show I paid in advance and then when I got there it was only $10 to pay on the spot. I’ve figured out that it just depends on what the crowd is like that night. You should check the venue’s website to see what’s happening overall; if there’s a big show in the Murat Theatre and a show in the Egyptian Room too, chances are parking will be tight and you might want to reserve a spot, especially if you might be running late-ish. But if the only show that night is in the Egyptian Room, probably don’t bother with the advance purchase. Lesson learned!

Next up: bluesman Buddy Guy!

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