Thursday, September 22, 2011

In Review

It was okay, but it was not the greatest. Maybe it’s my fault for doing too much research and not having as many new discoveries, but I didn’t enjoy this year’s festival nearly as much as I have in years past. However, one thing that I did enjoy was hanging out with a group of friends for 3 days straight. In the past, I’ve gone with just one other person, and although that makes it a lot easier to squeeze up close to the stage, I always ended up spending a lot of the festival by myself in order to see the acts that I wanted to see. So, this year there were five of us, and together we smushed in with the crowds, relaxed in our chairs, and ate a lot of cheeseburgers. Overall, keeping a schedule jam-packed full of various artists. Here’s who I saw:

2:30pm Delta Spirit
3:30-4:10ish James Blake (overheard from quite a distance)
4:10pm Ray LaMontagne
5:10-5:20pm Beardyman
5:30pm Foster the People
7:30pm Pretty Lights
8:30pm Kanye

1:30pm The Belle Brigade
2:00pm Young the Giant
3:00pm City and Colour
4:00pm Iron and Wine
5:00pm Fitz and the Tantrums
6:30pm Cee Lo
8:00pm Stevie Wonder

1:30pm Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
2:30pm The Walkmen, Airborne Toxic Event, and Suzanna Choffel (about 60 seconds each, as I wandered aimlessly in the humidity)
4:05pm School of Rock Kiddos
4:45pm Pernikoff Brothers
5:15pm Joseph Arthur
5:45pm Elbow
6:30pm Fleet Foxes
7:30pm Empire of the Sun
8:30 Arcade Fire

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Dave at the Gorge

We left our campsite Monday around 7:15am and arrived at SeaTac around 10:30am. Right after we went through security and started walking to the departure gate we saw the news on a nearby TV. Fires across Bastrop. Fires in Steiner Ranch. Fires in Spicewood. Remember the earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding on the east coast last week? All the while, Texas has been in a horrific drought, and now, our homes, forests, and ranches are burning up. Weather is viscous. Please put my friends Debbie and Natalie in your thoughts and prayers; they are directly affected by the Bastrop fires. As of Tuesday afternoon, some 600 homes have been destroyed, and the fires still aren't contained. Needless to say, that was a bit of a reality check for us coming home from a weekend of camping in the middle of Washington. And what a weekend it was. We spent just enough time in sunny Seattle to eat a bowl of chowder with Jackie, get a parking ticket, and see the fish toss in Pike's Place Market.
From there, it was right onto Chris's friend's quaint little house to grab a few camping supplies and then to the grocery store to purchase various provisions. This was the first time the four of us had camped without a fire or a grill, so we feared the lack of hot food (meat) might make us cranky. Fear not, for smoked salmon, cold-cut turkey, and summer sausage did the trick.
We made it to the Gorge by about 7:30pm Thursday evening and thus began an unforgettable weekend. The music was perfect. Dave performed three great sets, John Butler Trio had me smiling for a solid hour, and Brett Dennen, Dispatch, and the Belle Brigade were the icing on the cake. One artist in particular, Josh Ritter, captured my feelings particularly well during his Sunday afternoon set. He mentioned that he grew up in nearby Idaho and that he had been dreaming of performing at the Gorge since he was a little kid. That day was a dream come true for both him, and thousands of fans. He was smiling through his entire set, and I caught him taking pictures of the crowd while Dispatch played after him. I absolutely LOVE it when newer artists are so in awe of how far they've come. Josh reminded me of Regina Spektor during her ACL set a few years back. Does anybody else remember that? She kept saying, "There are so many of you!" It was great.
So, to summarize. The Gorge is worth it. Go there. See it. You will understand why artists love to play there, and why Josh Ritter dreamed about it as a little kid.