Homecoming will never be the same

Trip Start Jan 16, 2013
Trip End Jan 24, 2013

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What I did
40 Watt Club

Flag of United States  , Georgia
Saturday, January 19, 2013

Firstly, apologies for not writing yesterday. I had every intention to but unfortunately the day took a different turn.

Night 1 was most awesome. We had beer in Flicker which is next to The 40 Watt and eventually moved inside. We discovered that PBR (our favourite beer from the previous trip) was sold in 24oz cans. Yes, that's bigger than my head.
Thundercrack had just taken to the stage and were warming up nicely for the Truckers. We were pleasantly surprised as we didn't know what to expect from Craig's OTHER project! Covers of Bruce Springsteen songs were done that would make The Boss himself proud. It was great to see the Truckers crew members on the stage enjoying themselves so much. Matt D who was on vocals introduced the band and huge receptions were had for each and every member while Cooley and Patterson watched on from the sidelines.

Truckers eventually took to the stage, tearing up Putting People On The Moon - It hadn't been the opener anyone was expecting!
We hadn't seen Truckers in over a year so we didn't really know what the show would be like following Neff's quitting just before New Year and Shonna's leaving in 2011 before being replaced with Matt Patton from The Dexateens... It felt weird to start with; incomplete almost, but the band more than made up for it.
The song Heathens was dedicated to the people who had traveled for the shows and it seemed to be the theme of the weekend as even Wes Freed's poster has' HeAthens Homecoming' as the title. The band loves their fans and quite obviously are in awe of those willing to travel for their music.
I personally had a surprise mid-set as they kicked into The Night GG Allin Came To Town and songs like Uncle Frank, Ghost To Most and Let There Be Rock did what they intended - The place was alive with fans and the band was loving every second of it.

After the show we drank once again in Flicker and then headed back to the hotel to bed. It had been more than we expected but we were knackered.

Yesterday morning we awoke around 10:30 and I contacted people to find out the arrangements for the day. We had been invited to a fans house for a gathering but decided to head there after going to Weaver D's with our surrogate DBT parents, John and Lorna and maybe go to the gathering later on.

We ate up and headed outside. We then received some heart breaking news - Craig Lieske had suffered a heart attack and passed away after night 1.

Anyone who has seen Truckers will have met Craig. He was DBT crew, the face of the band and the face of the fans. He simply loved music and people. 

Just like so many others, we met Craig at our first Truckers show. He was a larger than life character we instantly respected and loved... To be honest, it would be a huge challenge to find someone who had met Craig and didn't instantly respect and love him.

My first thoughts were for Melinda, the band, the crew and friends who had known Craig much longer and better than we. Everyone is shattered by the news. Craig was a Trucker, he was a HUGE personality in the local area and worldwide... It just seems so surreal.

Craig's favourite was Maker's Mark whiskey so in memory, many shots we drank in Athens yesterday... Lets be honest, it's Homecoming weekend, he would've been disappointed if they hadn't been drank.

The show went ahead. Truckers are a band not to be defeated, even by events like this one tearing holes into their hearts. The billboard outside simply said "Rock for Craig" and a picture of him was hung above the 40 Watt sign at the back of the stage. The atmosphere was sombre; he knew the 40 Watt and the 40 Watt knew him.

The set was short and emotional. Opening with The Living Bubba set the mood in a good way while World of Hurt reduced people to tears as we collectively remembered those loved and lost.

We were asked to hang around at the end. Like many others, we did so to support our friends Sarah and Lucas who had been extremely close to Craig. The Truckers community is amazing. So many good people who genuinely don't care about show stats or rare records, they just love music and love each other... and Craig was a huge part of that.

So many tears were cried by so many hurting people yesterday. Our thoughts and love go out to every single person who was lucky enough to know the great Craig Lieske.

Ian put it best when he said "It just got a little louder up there"

So remember, it ain't too late to take deep breath and throw yourself into it with everything you got - It's great to be alive.

RIP Craig, thanks for the music... and for the memories.
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