Miss Wanda's swan song

There were gourmet picnics from gourmet baskets, wine drunk from real wine glasses and vodka cocktails parked in the drink holders of gourmet lawn chairs. People get serious about their picnics for the free shows in Minden Park during the summer-long concert series.

Territory was staked out by noon for the 6:30 p.m. performance - ice chests claiming dibs on the park tables and crime scene-type tape circling empty chairs in the most prime viewing areas.

A lot of chickens were sacrificed to the barbecue gods in honor of Miss Wanda's last night in the Deja Blues band. The smell of charcoal fires and cooking meat could be detected from blocks away.

The concert, part of the 2006 Summer Family Concert Series, was sponsored by Brooke, Shaw & Zumpft, Attorneys at Law, co-sponsored by Stor-All and Valley Door Works.

Wanda Cobb gave it her best as she belted out "I'm a Woman" at Minden Park - but her best had to be done without a drummer.

Cobb announced that July 14's performance would be the last she gave before she moved to California.

"I'm going to Long Beach to be with my family," said Cobb. "I have high blood pressure. I like things to be together but the drummer got lost. We're hoping to have a drummer after the break."

Cobb said she gets nervous and excited before a show but not having a drummer for a blues band could understandably contribute to a rise in blood pressure.

"Once I get to singing, all the nerves go away," she said. "I love to perform. I'll be back."

Miss Wanda returned for the second half of the show after being fortified by a barbecue sandwich and a volunteer drummer who sat in to make Deja Blues complete.

The drummer who saved the day introduced himself as Mick Jagger but was actually Mick Fecteau who works at Lost Art Painting in Gardnerville. A spectator at the concert, he responded to Cobb's request for a stand-in drummer to join the band for the second half of the show.

"Y'all come up and shake your booties," Cobb said as she broke into "Proud Mary" and "Kansas City."

Carson Valley residents took to the impromptu grass dance floor in front of the bandstand and shook their booties to dances last danced by girls in white go-go boots.

There didn't appear to be many hardcore blues fans in the audience - just a lot of people glad to be eating outdoors and sharing the company of friends as they listened to music.

The next concert in the summer series is Stork Raving Mad 6:30-8:30 p.m. July 28 sponsored by Century 21-Clark Properties and co-sponsored by Greater Nevada Credit Union and GE Energy. This band from the Bay area that specializes in the music of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, puts their own spin on the classics. One of the defining characteristics of this group is the attention given to the vocal harmonies.

Food and refreshments will be available, sold by the 20/30 club. All food and beverage proceeds go back into community youth programs.

For more information, call Douglas County Parks & Recreation, 782-9828. All 2006 Summer Family Concert Series events are free to the public.

n Sharlene Irete is a staff writer at The Record-Courier. Reach her at sirete@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 217.


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