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Des Moines, Iowa


Top 5 Nights at People's

Geoff Wood

In my “My Farewell To People’s” post I mentioned that Austin and I had each recounted our top five nights at People’s on Monday night. As I was flying back to Indy today I put a little more thought into it and came up with this list (in no particular order)(1):

1. I remember one Wednesday night, most likely in December 2000, when the snow was pretty heavy but I decided to venture down Welch Avenue to People’s for Mug Night. I had Huff and Roti with me and we were one of only two groups of people in the bar. On my way to the bathroom Boner (Tony Bohnenkamp) took the stage and started to play. As I was finishing up at the urinal I heard him say into the microphone “I don’t think I’ve ever been at a show and known every single person in the bar.” He then looked towards our table(2) and said “except you guys”. At that point I walked out and took my seat and he said, “oh, you’re friends of Geoff’s, I guess I do know everyone in the bar.” I was amused – I’m not the type of guy that other people get recognized as being “friends of”.

2. My graduation party has to be in this list. It was December 2000, and I remember that I was supposed to be at the final presentation in Des Moines that night for my Senior CRP Studio. A couple days ahead of time, I brought up the fact my graduation party was that night to my professor and who immediately told me that I should skip the presentation. Excellent. After all, in her opinion, the party can’t start without the guest of honor. I declined to tell her that I was one of dozen folks sponsoring the party. Little know fact, at one point Houston Texans QB Sage Rosenfels had committed to be one of the dozen(3). Fall 2000 was my favorite semester for “going out”. We lived a stone’s throw from the corner of Welch and Chamberlain and we were the outerwear drop off location for most of Greekland. As such we were out a lot with a lot of different groups and I legitimately felt like I could walk into any bar by myself(4) and know enough people to feel welcome and have fun. My graduation party was the culmination of the semester (5). Unfortunately, I had no idea that I would feel the exact opposite on the first day of Spring classes(6).

3. There was one extremely snowy weekend evening when a group of us braved the Winter Storm Warning to catch Hello Dave play. I seem to remember that we got there late and were surprised that Mike, Magoo, Rez, and Al weren’t yet on stage. We grabbed some drinks and then, much to our surprise, in walked The Nadas. Apparently, the weather was so bad that Hello Dave couldn’t make it into town and The Nadas couldn’t make it to their scheduled destination(7). Luckily for us the latter took the former’s spot. I don’t remember much about their show other than The Nadas tried their hand at several of Hello Dave’s tunes. They didn’t do well – but it was a great night nonetheless.

4. On the subject of Hello Dave, one of the shows they actually made it to makes the list, too. They played People’s the last night that I lived in town before moving to Omaha. Jen and Eric had driven up from Omaha to help me move and Hope was also in town to assist. We all went out to see the show and were pleasantly surprised to run into several other Phi Delts and many Gamma Phis. Hope and I had only been dating a couple weeks and not many people knew about us. It was a lot of fun to see the look on the face of different people that knew both of us but had never thought of us as a “couple”. Mike even played “Road Song” for Hope at my request.

5. Last but not least was my very own 21st birthday. I turned on the Monday night of Labor Day weekend and not many folks were in town. It was the legendary “Tea Night” at People’s as Monday nights in the summer traditionally were. I was out with Paisley and Washburn and I have an inkling that Charley may have been there for awhile, too. Hammes met us later on and Marsha, who I don’t think knew anyone but me, was in rare form. Late in the evening I decided I wanted to experience more than one bar on my birthday so we stumbled across the street to Lost and Found(8). For some reason a large ash tray of theirs found its way into my cargo shorts pocket and returned to the house with us. The evening ended with the infamous “bringing home the bush” incident that resulted in a de-leaved stem of a plant sitting in a People’s mug on our coffee table the rest of the semester. Good times.

1. This may or may not be the list I gave to Austin on Monday. 2. I assume anyway, I was still in the bathroom. 3. He later bailed. 4. Of course I never did this. 5. It certainly helped that I handed out my share of the invitations. 6. I, of course, had graduated at this point and apparently in the process of doing that had no idea that an entirely new crop of people had replaced all those that I knew. 7. Austin, this may have been the night you drove in from Ottumwa and they were shutting down I-35 behind you an exit at a time. 8. A favorite of mine that technically still exists though it unrecognizable due to renovation.