'Prairie' packs 'em in

2010-08-22T05:30:00Z 'Prairie' packs 'em inBECKY PALLACK For the Arizona Daily Sun Arizona Daily Sun

Garrison Keillor told delighted fans all he knows about the Flagstaff area at a packed show on Saturday evening.

He spoke of how Lowell Observatory namesake Percival Lowell believed in life on Mars, "so he came to Arizona, where they didn't laugh at him."

The story continued with local astronomers spotting asteroids crashing into Earth, monster-aliens coming from the craters, and all the funny sound effects unique to Keillor's radio show.

The Summer Love show from "A Prairie Home Companion" at Pine Mountain Amphitheater was sold out at 2,800 tickets, and the first devoted fans showed up five hours early to get good seats.

Bruce Connolly, of Clarkdale, said he had always wanted to see a show after listening to it on the radio for about 15 years. He was in line with his fiancee, Laura Mineer, watching "Garrison groupies" use binoculars to try to get a look at the sound check.

"There's nothing else like it," he said. "It's definitely a piece of the American fabric."

The show features silly stories and songs.

"In a day and age when TV is all violence and sex, this makes you feel good," Connolly said.

Keillor took the stage wearing a beige suit with a red tie and red shoes. He told some classics during the show, including about how he fell in love with Julie at age 13 when she asked him, "Do you want to wrestle?"

He and guest musician Sara Watkins sang about dreamy summer nights under the pink and gray cloudy sunset.

Keillor also joked about how rodeo must be an intercollegiate sport at Northern Arizona University and how tourists typically film the Grand Canyon from the parking lot instead of from the hiking trails.

Jay Thompson, who was first in line for the show and a listener for about 35 years, said he was excited to hear what Keillor had to say about Flagstaff.

"You cannot come away from his program and not feel good," Thompson said.

Contact Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or (520) 954-2492.

Copyright 2015 Arizona Daily Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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