Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Thought You Needed a Meter Maid

I truly don't know how to top the last couple of weeks musically, theatrically, historically and gastronomically (and with special Broadway guests). Way back in '11, when I began to plan this year, I failed to think through how close everything would be (I basically forgot there was no June 31).  The title of this post will also be explained - so start your guessing now. 

The start of the adventure that began as the Carlson Bethel to the Beach Tour would become the Bethel to the Beach, to the Stadium, to the theatre to the Five Points Tour. It was an adventure, full of unknowns, excitement and Scottish elves.

It seemed like a really long way up to Bethel NY. Maybe the constant delays in Jersey made matters worse but after hours we started to see the iconic Catskills. Then signs for Bethel - the actual home of the original Woodstock, began to appear. For some reason, up to even beyond this point, my husband hadn't let that fact sink in. We checked into our very Dirty Dancing Catskill resort hotel. The selling point for me was there was a shuttle to and from the venue.

Now, I 've been going to see Dave since the early 90's and when I saw some of the kids in attendance I began to feel a little aged but who cares. Off the bus, through the turn style, huge beers in hand - the lighbulb finally dawned for my other half. I said, let's go see where it happened. He kept asking: It happened here - right here? We walked over to the fence they place to mark off where, in 1969, hundreds of thousands of music fans didn't know they were going to change the world.  I feel like we just landed on the moon. Between the tears and the smiles and the do you remembers?...we were standing at the precipice of rock and roll and music history.

There is still a feeling of love and general "chillness" in Bethel. While watching the ultra talented Delta Spirit, families, high school friends, first dates, you name it filed in to see Dave for their first or 400th time. The set list was incredible -- it was a show for the die hards -  Satellite was a perfect journey back to the beginning of the Dave adventure and who doesn't love a Jimi Thing? The Grey Street encore ending was a surprise and a joyous one a that. I added another feather to the Dave Matthews hat in a gorgeous and historic venue.
  • Grace Is Gone
  • Eh Hee
  • If Only
  • Minarets
  • Seek Up
  • Shake Me Like a Monkey
  • Proudest Monkey
  • Satellite
  • The Riff
  • Seven
  • Funny the Way It Is
  • Mercy
  • Typical Situation
  • Gaucho
  • Jimi Thing
  • Cornbread
  • Pantala Naga Pampa
  • Rapunzel
  • So Much to Say
  • (with Little Thing tease)
  • Grey Street
Back at the hotel - a night for true rock and roll junkies, cheeseburgers, champagne and a bubble bath. I had to prepared for part two of the weekend. OFF TO JERSEY.

The morning began as if it were scripted - Umphrey's appeared on the Satellite radio to usher us onto our journey south. The ride seemed to go incredibly quick as the green, rolling Catskills became the Garden State Parkway. We entered Neptune Township and the smell of salt air welcomed us to the Jersey Shore.

We made out way to the glorious beach before I overheated (as I tend to do like a 1958 Chevy) and soon I had sand in my toes. While sitting on the beach, I thought to myself, how cool, someone is getting psyched for Umphreys. I could hear the progressive sounds wafting through the salty air. Then I realized - it was the actual Umphrey's McGee sound check. Life is pretty freaking awesome at this point.

Next up was getting some delicious food at Porta National Park. Think of a big warehousey garage with picnic tables, a gigantic bar, brick pizza ovens and a bocce ball court! Phenomenal food to have prior to a show at the Stone Pony. I highly recommend the Nutella Dessert Pizza. Now, on to the show.
I had never been to the Stone Pony so the chance to be there was incredible. The Summer Stage is set up in an adjacent parking lot. I wondered how Jefferson would amaze us with his light show in a parking lot in Asbury Park. He didn't disappoint. He actually added to the sunset, the red clouds and the sliver of a moon that lit up the sky. I was able to catch up with fellow UM fan JWelsh at the soundboard just before I heard the familiar sounds of Metallica - Sad But True. Unreal - it was the Gorillaz/Metallica mash up. And if the awesome version of Mantis was not enough, Kris Myer's second time at the mic singing a cover of Danzig's Mother brought this show over the top. 
  •  Tango Mike
  • Spires
  • Weird Dood
  • All In Time
  • Women Wine and Song
    (with G Love on Harmonica)
  • Wizard Burial Ground
  • Dim Sun
  • Deeper
  • Sad But True/Clint Eastwood
    (Gorillaz/Metallica mashup)
  • Mantis
  • Day Nurse
  • All In Time
  • Tribute to the Spinal Shaft
  • Conduit
  • Mother
    Danzig cover
  • 1348

The night ended with coffee ice cream and a walk along the boardwalk and somehow we ended up barefoot. But we passed the now defunct Casino made famous by Bruce Springsteen and paused to reflect on what a wild music ride it had been. But of course it was not over yet. 

What does Alan Cumming and a one man version of Macbeth have ANYTHING to do with music? Cabaret, I tell you. I fell in love with Broadway the day I saw Cabaret. I knew Alan was a gifted actor and stage performer and his performance of Macbeth via a man in a mental institution was haunting and perfectly adapted. At one point, I could see all of the characters in front of me, as opposed to just one man in white hospital attire. I do admit, a part of me wanted him to break into I Don't Care Much at the end - but the three curtain calls were enough.

The extremely hot week was not over though. As Saturday hit 102 degrees, I prepared yet again to conquer a new musical journey: Roger Waters, The Wall at Yankee Stadium. Everyone was beyond excited from the reviews from the night before. We could see some of the props to expect as planes hung over our heads.

9PM. And it began. Even more incredible as I thought it would be, I was immersed in Roger Waters' vision of Pink's tormented world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Niqxy3EG5Eo&feature=plcp

Each song I expected Bob Geldof to come out dressed as Pink but Roger had it covered. It was on the scale of ZooTV as images overloaded our senses and sounds bombarded us from all around. The wall was built the wall was torn down.

 But you know better than to think the story ends here. We met up with our friend and musician (who needs to start playing again!) Andrew at the shows end. As I was agreeing to help him out with a battle of the bands contest, the hubby in the passenger seat began to doze off. As we approached the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toll booth, he snapped awake and stated: I thought you needed a meter maid. A blog post title was born, kuddos to Andrew.

Andrew dropped us off at Kelly's Bar and we played about $20 of songs on the jukebox and, never being one to leave in a buy back situation, we didn't leave until 3am (after I drunk tweeted Nicole Atkins of course). Leaving meant walking towards home and stopping at the diner.

Oh, no, it's not over yet. Wednesday I gladly helped out Andrew at Tammany Hall (the NYC one, not the one in Worcester). I have to admit, every time I go to the Lower East Side, I fall more and more in love with it. I see how Gogol Bordello got their start on Avenue B. It's a convergence of every nationality you could imagine alive with music and food on every corner. You have Mission Chinese and Ward Six and of course, Tammany Hall.

So my job was to basically work the door. Give out a ballot, make sure money gets taken, or if you are a VIP, your name gets crossed off. Simple. Three bands, great music, get to listen to good excuses why you should be on "the list".

So as I said, yummy Mission Chinese is right next door. Unfortunately they are closed on Wednesdays. So we fielded everyone - sorry, they're closed ... closed on Wednesdays ... try again tomorrow. Until, one of those desiring foodies looked so familiar. Dr. Strojan my creative writing prof? No - it, it really is --- Wilkommen! Joel Grey from Cabaret fame (yes, Jennifer Grey's father). After apologizing profusely that the restaurant was not open, I received a hug....from Joel Grey.

This is only round one folks. I know it's been a long post - but damnit I've been busy. What's up next you ask? The Catalpa music festival (more Umphreys), Devotchka, Motley Crue, Kiss, Bruce Springsteen and Adam Ant. I have been blessed - I am thankful for my musical year so far. Let's keep it rolling.

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