Earlier this year, I heard that Yuengling brewery’s 190th anniversary was fast approaching..and that the celebration would feature none other than Better Than Ezra! I later learnt they were looking for volunteers, so Mom and I signed up almost immediately. We’ve had such a great time volunteering with IM ABLE and we’ve both grown up in Pottsville, home to America’s Oldest Brewery, so it was a perfect combination.
“The story of America’s Oldest Brewery began when David G. Yuengling arrived from Wuerttemberg Germany to settle in the sleepy, coal-mining town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.”
If you’re not familiar with Yuengling brewery, it’s got some fantastic history. From 1829, through Prohibition, to the modern day, the company’s legacy is one of the most fascinating bits of the past here in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and of America overall.
I’m not a big beer drinker myself, but it’s impossible to have grown up in the area without an affinity for the brand. Throughout Pennsylvania (and beyond!), beer lover hear you’re from Pottsville and reply with an enthusiastic, “Yuengling!” I’ve even got a friend in Missouri who’s a Yuengling fan!
With all that in mind, it’s easy to see why such an iconic local brand would have a huge influence on Pottsville and the surrounding area. The 190th celebration drew in thousands of people from across Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and beyond!
Mom and I helped run the stand selling souvenir mugs and beer tickets. It’s only a small role in the overall festivities, but I’m so grateful to have even a miniscule part in such an exciting event. Plus, t-shirts!
The celebration itself hosted two beer gardens, local vendors and musicians throughout the day. And, of course, none other than Better Than Ezra!
Better Than Ezra Concert
The concert was the aspect of this celebration that really had me determined to attend. When I saw the initial announcement, I sent it to my mom. We’ve loved their song “A Lifetime” for, well, most of my life(time). Hearing it live would be a dream come true! We were thrilled to see Guns N’ Roses back in 2017 (another band with a lot of personal significance for us) and this would be an amazing addition.
Going in, I had two fears. First, I always scare myself before a concert wondering, “What if [insert band here] isn’t as good live?” Second, I wasn’t sure of any other BTE songs I would know. Who goes to a concert without knowing at least a few more hits?
As usual, neither was warranted. I can assure you that Better Than Ezra is fantastic live–and you can check out a few clips on Instagram if you don’t believe me. I even did some research before the show (once a historian….) and listened to an assortment of their most well-known songs. As you might be able to guess, there was a lot of, “Oh, that song!”
Between that and several covers thrown in, I knew most of the songs they played! I especially enjoyed “Tiny Dancer”– and I’m not much of an Elton fan–and “500 Miles” will forever be met with a chorus of “Better Than Ezra!”
The dgree of personalisation thrown in really solidified my love for them. I don’t know if Kevin and the others are this personable at every concert (though I suspect they are!) or if it was special due to the venue and celebration. But they mentioned Pottsville, Yuengling, and even “the Skook” several times! I always love when a performer gives a quick shoutout to the city they’re in, so this was fantastic.
And, of course, they played our song! I think I might have liked the live version of “A Lifetime” even more than the recorded version! My only complaint was that it started so abruptly that I missed the first few seconds in recording. But, with this song, I’m not sure it would have worked as well any other way!
My favourite part, though, was that they sang “three and a half minutes” at three and a half minutes. Mom and I tend to get that part stuck in our head especially. We haven’t stopped singing it at each other since the concert!
With the exception of a few particulary drunk, especially irritating members of the crowd, we had an amazing time! I’ll be recuperating for a few more days (my chronic pain doesn’t like this much activity in a day, especially with rain coming through later this week!). But this event was so worth it!
Happy 190th anniversary to Yuengling and thank you for an amazing show, Better Than Ezra!