06 July 2010

The Curse of Live Music

Yes, I know Summerfest ended 3 days ago. Better late than ever - you know that's the unofficial theme of this blog, right? Anyway...

I love Summerfest. A lot. I love seeing great shows from great bands and being outside at night with strings of lights floating above me. The best Summerfest show I've ever seen to date remains my first ever show: Blues Traveler in 2003. They played three encores. THREE! It was amazing. What's better is that I mention this to folks and they say, "Oh yeah, I heard about that show!" Makes me feel happy.

At any rate. This is what I really wanted to get at. Take the following two scenarios:

You camp out on bleachers for 3 hours and suffer for two not-so-high-caliber bands to see the one band that is worth camping out 3 hours for. The guy the next bleacher over provides a small amount of entertainment as you and your friends try in vain to figure out what combination of acid/speed/heroin/cough syrup/booze he has chosen as his potion for the evening. A pack of teenagers laments their lame parents and the challenges of keeping their shoes clean while they speak of their one friend who isn't there, sometimes happily and sometimes cattily. The show finally does start (even though you missed the opening song because you tried to grab another beer but were thwarted in your efforts to get back to the stage quickly by the afore-mentioned teenagers). You rock out to the second and third song and then settle down a bit as the band plays "one or two things off their new album" - which lasts for 45 minutes. As they start to ramp up again with their more well-known songs, your drug-induced neighbor falls into you, spilling what's left of beer all over your shirt, possibly even stepping on your foot. The pack of teenagers find six more people to stand on the bleachers with them, pushing you awkwardly into the guy next to you who may or may not be named Jethro. The band's most famous song is played and the whole crowd sings, but really, you just can't wait to leave. And you really have to pee.

You camp out on the bleachers for three hours and see two bands who you really enjoy. The first was a great cover band, who doesn't love them? The second was a local band that you'd heard was good but had never witnessed - until now. They were great! You make friends with the folks around you - not just strategically so they don't get mad when you run to the bathroom, but they actually are legitimately cool people. You add one or two of them on Facebook while you wait and vow to run into each other at next week's something-or-other. One of your new friends even grabs you a beer on their run right before the show starts - and they didn't even roofie it! The band you came to see opens with a killer track, and then jumps right in to an amazing set - you know all the words to everything and so does the entire crowd. They don't have a new album out this year but instead play a deep cut off of their first album from 10 years ago - and it's amazing. You rock out to two encores and hug your new friends on the way out of the gate.

You obviously went into both shows expecting the same amazing experience. Unfortunately it doesn't always turn out that way. I have this same thought every year as I'm planning my Summerfest experience. I usually hope to be pleasantly surprised when I do decide to go - and I hope for this more often than not - but sometimes it does happen. Oh well I suppose. (The real reason I wrote this is because I wanted to describe the guy standing next to you and the game about deciding what drugs he's on.)

In other news, did anyone see QEII's sweet hat today?!?!?!? Someone else please tell me that you think this is amazing:

That's all I've got for now. I hope I can get some good sleep tonight. I put the AC in my window, but my silly studio is kind of a big place to cool. Tomorrow I will buy Tylenol PM - hopefully this will cure my insomnia (well it wouldn't technically be a cure... more of a fix I guess).

I changed the blog background - hoping it encourages me to read more... I'll let you know how that goes.

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