After driving through several states over the prior few days, we were ready to hunker down in Memphis for a day or two. Our first stop, of course, was Beale Street.
I can’t say I recommend going to Beale Street during the 4th of July (Holy Sardine Packing Batman!), but I am glad that I had the experience. I have endless fond memories of the New Orleans equivalent, Bourbon Street, and Beale was deeply reminiscent of that: endless partying, street drinking, music emanating out of every other doorway, and a striking, unique visual fingerprint at every turn that endlessly entertains and entrances the budding photographer.
Our musician friends back in Detroit had spoken highly of the music scene, and there absolutely was music, in every corner. Admittedly, I prefer the horns, strings, soulful harmonies, and beats of Bourbon to the rock, metal, and R&B of Beale, but people-watching opportunities were rampant, and I was still inspired by how much song is at the heart of this place.
As with most of my travels, if you bring the right fellow wanderer (and a camera), you easily have a glorious time, even though you may have to work a little harder to actually hear one another amidst the loudspeakers.
My strongest sense memory from our first evening on Beale was when we escaped from all the booming concerts, and made our way to an empty amphitheater. I found a seat in the audience, he found his mark on center stage, and I was treated to monologues from Shakespeare that he somehow still carried in his brain after more than a few years away from his former life as an actor. Photos not included of his performance out of respect for privacy, but wow — that was, without question, a Super Summer Southern Sizzler Tour highlight.
Of course it wouldn’t be a trip to Beale Street if we didn’t pair our conversation and photography with truly grotesque sizes and types of alcohol. (Thank you Lyft, we appreciate you.)
I’d like to plan another trip to Memphis when everyone and their brother aren’t also descending on the town, and when the music is a little more Americana and blues, but this was a fun taste, and a much-needed break in our flurrying around.
Overall, yet another excellent stop on our most excellent southern tour.
Other stops on our Super Summer Southern Sizzler Tour:
2 thoughts on “Braving Beale Street (Memphis, TN)”
A fantastic time! Phenomenal memories – Tho admittedly some of them are a bit fuzzy. I feel like I could write an entire entry on just Earnestine & Hazel’s. I remember being the only patrons hanging out in that bar, which was a complete ghost town, because everyone else was out watching the fireworks. I distinctly remember you using your super-powers, to convince them to give us a private tour of the haunted building. So much fun!
I find it interesting that, while Memphis was our “destination” for the Tour, there were so many other incredible highlights along the journey, that it is now sort of out shined in my memories, by some of those other incredible stops. When that amazing tour was over, Memphis was just one of many highlights of the trip. I believe some wise folks have made some comments about journeys, and destinations. I deeply appreciate (and admire) your ability to find the absolute best in every step of the way.
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Agreed – every step of the trip was great, not in the least because we both have that sense that traveling is about the wandering, and the serendipity, and letting each place give us what it will.
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