Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dave Matthews Band at Blossom Music Center on June 25th, 2010

This was my second time seeing Dave at Blossom and while I really enjoyed myself, I don't feel like it was a totally amazing show.

Traffic on the way to Blossom was much better than I expected. We took 77 down and really didn't encounter any trouble until we were about a mile and half away. Usual human stupidity aside, it was a perfect drive in. The SOLD OUT signs at the entrance signaled we might be in for quite a ride.

Our walk to the gates were pretty uneventful. We did cross paths with a 9 year old. My only real issue with that was the four 18 year old girls escorting him in. Big sister or cousin looked like she was prime for a good time. Think of the emotional scarring.

That's a Child

With a little bit of a slow down at the gates, we were through security and inside in a flash. It was a short walk to the bathrooms which both had long lines. I said goodbye to Morgan, fully expecting to not see here for another half hour.

The mens line went pretty quick and was uneventful with the major exception of the shit monster creeping out of one of the stalls. I'm serious. This was something straight out of Dogma. I then headed outside to park myself as I waited for M.

However, the womens line seemed to be moving abnormally fast. M appeared before my direct message even went through. I don't know what they've done differently, but we both made it through a bathroom line in less than 6 minutes. AMAZING pee experiences at Blossom were had by all.

Our Seats

Finding our seats was cake and our row was nearly empty. At 8:15p I was surprised, but also concerned. We were two rows behind a taper. They looked pretty young, but their gear seemed okay. Sadly, they never put the mics too high up in the air. I hope their recording came out, but I don't have much hope.

Dave and crew took the stage about 8:30, opening with "Big Eyed Fish", something I thought was a bit random. As they jammed out of the song, Boyd started doing his long bow draws signaling the start of "Bartender", but instead we got "Grace is Gone". The segue seemed a bit disjointed.

Next they played "Seven" from Big Whiskey, which reminded me that I need to go back and relisten to that album again. "Stay or Leave" was nice and they ripped it up on "Don't Drink the Water".

M was excited to hear "#41", but I have to admit that I was underwhelmed. They jammed it out nicely, but it sounded like a dozen or more recordings I already have. Given it's staple status, I expected something new this leg.

Grace Is Gone

The show really face planted when they started "Stand Up (For It)". Thankfully it ended up being only a tease, but it was just all wrong. It's bad when you can feel the music fighting itself. They segued into "Recently" after a very, very brief (almost too brief to mention) "Cornbread" tease. Even a decent "Recently" couldn't recover from this mess.

"Squirm" is becoming a new fav of mine; I think it's the harder edge and the sound of Timmy's Flying V shredding that gets me excited. "Eh Hee" and "Shake Me Like A Monkey" followed, with both songs feeling particularly rocked out.

"You and Me" was nice, but it seemed a little misplaced coming after a three pack of hard stuff. Okay, I know hard for Dave is like a Van Halen ballad, but it's all relative.

As "You and Me" wrapped up, I was expecting one, maybe two more songs before the encore break. When they launched into "Dancing Nancies", I was certain of it. As they rolled out of the "Nancies" jam, Carter started to segue into "Warehouse" and I literally had my mine blow.

It was like a total flash back and for a moment it was all chills and body high. The "Warehouse" jam was excellent, with Boyd dropping an amazing violin solo. I was certain this was the break.

Until they shocked me with the unreleased "Can't Stop", which felt poorly executed. M's night was made complete by a full "Cornbread" which they segued into "Ants Marching". Again, they really brought out all the stops. Carter was all over the place and Boyd was once again just lighting the stage on fire.

Dave came back after the break with a solo, acoustic "Little Red Bird" which I wish I could have enjoyed more, but it was just really, really loud. The rest of the band joined him for "So Right" and "So Damn Lucky" which seem to be staple closers this tour. The encore was good, but it just didn't seem very tight.

I noticed throughout the show that Boyd pretty continually seemed to be standing on the sidelines. His solos in "Warehouse" and "Ants" were enlightening, but otherwise, he seemed detached. Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross, who also had their moments of solitude, seemed much more engaged.

High Contrast

Stefan seemed to be rocking it hardcore, but we'd never know. Carters low end was just totally obliterating everything else in the lower frequencies.

Dave's voice seemed to be a little weak, but the real issue was the guy sleeping at the soundboard. There were huge sections where his vocal channel was just off completely.

Speaking of the sound team: they were horrible. Okay, maybe it was my location, but my ears were assaulted in an unfriendly fashion. The low end was horribly loud, mids where decent and there was next to no high end. The sound pressure levels of Carter's kick drum was so high that you can see it impacting the focus on the video.

Ultimately the worse aspect of the show was the crowd. There was the couple tweaked out on ecstasy, weed and beer who kept pushing around in our room. I can't say where their assigned seater were, but they clearly didn't seem to care. If they weren't making out or grinding on each other, they were knocking into anything and everyone.

For those of you new to a concert, please walk IN FRONT of people. It was an epidemic of people pushing behind us. The usual alcohol and weed fuel party crew seemed to take root one row up and just left of us. They weren't horrible, but it wasn't a relaxing walk in the park either.

All in all, I'm glad we went to see Dave. Maybe I'm getting too old for all the concert bullshit or maybe the concert bullshit is just getting old.

I counted at least 5 taping rigs, so someone should have something available soon.

Traffic Leaving Blossom

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's almost time for Thanksgiving in June

I'm betting every single person reading this just went WTF. Okay, that might be a stretch... I think there might only be one person reading this and I'm pretty sure I married her last month, so not sure how that counts.

But, in the event that you're reading this... Thanksgiving in June is like Christmas in July, only way cooler with turkey.

Again, many of you might be thinking: WHY? If your Thanksgiving Turkey tastes as good as ours does, you understand. Turkey is good. Mash potatoes are good. Stuff - I mean dressing - is good. (Stuffing, as we all know, if evil).

Saturday we'll be enjoying a small feast of Thanksgiving proportions. But in order to make a meal of that flavor magnitude, you need to prep. And prep I did.

The turkey is currently taking a bath in tub. It was rock hard when we picked it up at the Eagle - yes, I dare say we got our bird at the Eagle - and it needs a slow thermal trip back to reality. A little bit of cold convection does the trick nicely.

While the bird is in the bath, I cleaned out the fridge and then did a major overhaul on the kitchen. Half a roll of bleach wipes and two dish-pan hands later and the kitchen is nearly spotless.

Now what? Well, it's time for a nice cold Monk's Blood before the zzzzz's come.