After a few drafts of this blog post, and seeing it grow longer with each revision, I came to the decision to keep with The Gorge tradition and break it up into 3 separate posts over 3 separate nights. I promise, it all makes sense in the end. Or the beginning… Or maybe it won’t. Who knows…
Pt. 1: Prologue
It was the summer of 2004. I was freshly 21, single, and more than ready to mingle.
Dating was something that never came easy for me; despite my best efforts with women I usually found myself in that awkward space between romance and the friend zone that I often referred to as ‘dating purgatory’. Living in a small New England town of about 6,000, dating was already a difficult endeavor, as everyone already knew each other’s history, to the Norman Rockwell detail.
At that time in my life I discovered two things: 1) it was extremely easy to cross this magical, undefined, and ever changing line of what was considered appropriate conduct as regards to where these ‘relationships’ stood at any given moment, and 2) when said line was crossed, women got extremely pissed off.
One such confusing incident happened that summer at the fabled Green River in my Western Massachusetts hometown. This girl that I had been spending a considerable amount of time with, we’ll call her Jane, and I took a picnic down to the river. It was a perfect Berkshire day; we ate, drank, swam, and took a nap in the sunshine. I awoke to Jane using my chest as a pillow. All seemed good in the world.
At that moment a group of our friends showed up, which woke Jane from her slumber. They obviously assumed that things had progressed beyond where they actually had, which for some reason greatly angered Jane (I later found out that it was because she had a big unrequited thing for one of our friends that had shown up).
After that day Jane refused to even talk to me. Not knowing what was going on in her head at the time left me at quite a loss. I absolutely hate having unfinished business in my life, but I could see no rhyme or reason as to why she was acting the way she was. So, I did what every rational guy in 2004 would do: I went to our local record store and bought her a cd.
One of the things that had originally connected Jane and I was my newly found love of the Dave Matthews Band, so I picked up their freshly released live album that had been recorded at The Gorge, wrote a little note blanketly apologizing for whatever it was that may have upset her, and delivered it to her at work. This apparently helped, because while nothing ever happened between us, we are still good friends to this day.
The one thing that I got out of it all, and the reason for that story, was that buying that album introduced me to Heaven’s Amphitheater, The Gorge, and set me on a mission to someday make the trek to Washington state for what had been dubbed ‘LaborDave Weekend’ by the fans; a 4 day event of camping and concerts that ended the Dave Matthews Band Summer Tour every year.
As it does, life got in the way. Every year it seemed there was some new excuse as to why I couldn’t make the pilgrimage to the west coast.
Fast forward 12 years. Dave Matthews Band announces that they are taking the year after their 25th anniversary tour off from the road, and I’m in Denver, which is literally 8 hours to the closest venue of the tour. My summer schedule was so jam packed between work and a travel wedding, that I wasn’t going to be able to take time off to make the trip to any of the midsummer shows that I wanted to. If there was ever a year that I wanted a trip to The Gorge to work out, this was it! I set myself to work on every angle I could think of. I was set to try my damnedest to make this trip work out!