I’d Do It All Again, Oh If I Could: a night with Shakey Graves (concert recap)

I am as I came, and I'll still be the same.

Written by Atira

September 2, 2018

So… I left my wallet in Omaha.

Yeah, I know, how does somebody do something like that? Especially when **not** intoxicated?

Seriously, this stuff happens so much that it’s one of the reasons I’m not about that life.



Let’s talk about about “gut feelings” for a minute:

If you get them, trust them. It’s as simple as that. Maybe you’ll be wrong sometimes, maybe sometimes you’ll overreact to a situation because of them, but just trust what your body and subconscious are trying to tell you.

I didn’t used to do that.

Last night is one example of that.

Okay, now let’s move on.


Concert #3 with Kelsi was soooo good. This time, it was an artist I’ve appreciated a little longer than her, but we both have reached a point of equal obsession here, too.

Shakey Graves is artist behind, if nothing else, the song “Dearly Departed” with Esme Patterson:


I heard this song a couple years ago from a spotify radio, or possibly the “Discover Weekly” smart playlist. I don’t remember.

What I do remember, however, is that feeling of hearing it come over my cranked-too-loud headphones while I sat alone at one of the bar-height window tables in the Wesleyan dining hall over lunch. I don’t like talking to people over lunch, and I was avoiding a specific person who, inevitably, turned up at my spot to chat with me not long after, so I had my headphones in, just trying to drown out the cafeteria sounds and settle into my own world while I ate my lunch.

I was immediately intrigued by the album imagery. A little ominous, a little…. sterile. I was eerily drawn to it. But the song, with its upbeat, catchy chorus and cheesy ghost theme, are what really got me.

I loved it. I didn’t know what it was… but I loved it.

I restarted the song probably three times, then added it to one of my playlists.

Eventually, this song became my go-to “Fall” song. Starting in September of that year and repeating every year since, I start the season off right by playing this song on repeat too many times, scream-harmonize the ooh’s way too loudly in my car, and just go so hard that surely I’d wear out my love for it.

Spoiler alert: I never do.


Seeing Shakey Graves at the beginning of September was like the realization of a dream. It was so perfect.

Kelsi and I rode up to Omaha together, blasting a steady stream of Shakey Graves and Esme Patterson all the way there. We stopped at Scout because I had some clothes to sell/donate, and then ate at Pitch Pizza before the show. (And made a pit stop at a gas station to fill my tires.)

We got to the show a little early, but after the doors had opened. Kelsi got a drink and then we found our place in the merch line. I had my eye on either his main logo shirt, or the one with the sheep on it, and I was tossing that dilemma back and forth in my head up until the last second when I finally decided on the logo shirt and a package of stickers. Careful to not hold up the line, I stepped to a table off to the side to roll up the shirt and put it inside my cross-body purse.

We got amazing spots against the barrier and slightly to the left (stage: right) side. Met a fellow Lincolnite (Hey Melissa!), made friends, and in time, the show started.

Now, I know a little about working stage crews for various types of events, so when the switch between the opener and the headliner dragged on beyond what I expected, I caught on that there may have been some unforeseen technical difficulties backstage. In setting up the minimal special effects equipment and the basic band setup, something seemed to have derailed and all the crews seemed to be scrambling. 

Suddenly, the outer stage curtains swung closed. Of course, everyone erupted in cheers. I was distracted by the small digital projector sitting on the front of the stage still flashing green onto the center meeting point of the curtains. Then Garcia stepped out holding a mic stand and a guitar, set it up, leaned down and shut the projector off, and then said something along the lines of, “Well, if we have a curtain might as well use it!”

He laughed, the audience screamed, etc. Then he performed a two-song acoustic set for us right there in front of the stage curtains. Only son and Tomorrow. 

After the little teaser, the real set officially started and from there it’s all a dream. Most of my favorite songs were played and the energy emanating from the stage was just too good to not soak up and bask in.


At the end of the night, after the encore had been played, I was immediately jolted into that post-concert haze. Kelsi had a friend who came to meet her part of the way through the concert, and she had previously arranged that she’d stay with that friend instead of riding back with me. Starting to feel dazed and a little tired, we all started walking toward the exit and lightly chatting. Before we reached the doors, I found myself saying,

“I don’t know, guys, do I want to go back for another t-shirt right now?”

It came out with a laugh, like it was a joke, but honestly I was thinking, why am I saying this right now? I don’t want another shirt. (Shit’s expensive, you know.)

The two of them took it as a joke as well and laughed it off. We continued down the stairs and out the doors into the rain. 

We said our goodbyes and the girls stepped out onto the sidewalk, heading in the opposite direction of my car.

I was shaking. Why was I shaking?

I hesitated at the top step as the last few members of the crowd trickled out around me, some nudging me as they walked past. I felt the urge to go back inside. I wasn’t ready to leave yet, but I didn’t know why.

You don’t need another stupid T-shirt, I told myself and then forced my body to take the steps down to the sidewalk and cross the street to my car. 

I felt sweet relief as I felt inside the outer pocket of my bag and grasped my car keys – meaning I hadn’t lost them. I really misplace and drop things A LOT. I sighed as the rain pelted down on my arms and trickled off my hair onto my face. 

I hopped in the car for shelter, then began the frightening and, truthfully, treacherous drive back to Lincoln in what could only be described as Nebraskan Tsunami weather. (Not a thing, I know.)

Last night the Husker game had to be cancelled for rain and lightning. The football fans were surely home and in bed by now, devastated. I was wide-eyed on the open road, struggling to see the lines that marked the lanes and going at least 35 under the speed limit because I couldn’t tell if I was driving or floating. 

When I finally pulled up the hill into my driveway, I finally let out another sweet sigh of relief.


It was short-lived. 


I reached to gather my things from the passenger seat and had a sudden realization that my purse… was really… light. 

I frantically unzipped the main pocket and felt around for my wallet. No luck. 

Panic set in once again. I flipped the car lights on, i dumped my purse, I searched the backseat while standing backside-out in the pouring rain. I didn’t have it.

Then it hit me…  where else could it be, but sitting on the table next to the merch guy? Where I had so carelessly took it out and sat it down as I was trying to make room for my brand new t-shirt. I never picked it back up. 



And now those feelings at the end of the concert have become so incredibly clear. I didn’t want another t-shirt, but my brain was trying to tell me I needed to go back over to the t-shirts for a VERY good reason. I should have listened to my instincts, but here we are.


Calls have been made, messages sent, cards frozen. It’s no big deal… kind of. I’m now missing my driver’s license and it’s, of course, a holiday weekend. So I won’t be able to sort that out until Tuesday. But really, things are fine…


Update: got that new driver’s license photo taken this morning (tuesday!) and immediately after getting to class post-DMV trip, I get a phone call…. 

You guessed it: It’s Sokol, and they have my wallet. But they can’t just send it to me, I have to go get it. In Omaha. Ugh. Whatever. Looks like Nessa and I have a road trip on the agenda tonight. 

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