Tag Archives: Seattle

Weekend at the Gorge 2016 pt.1

   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!


Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

Days 35 & 36: El Corazon
Seattle, WA

Seattle was only three shows ago (well TECHNICALLY four), but it feels like it very well could have been a month ago. The last few days it has been a little difficult to garnish enough fuel and ambition to light any sort of creative fire. But, things are better now an we’re moving forward again. I digress.

The trip to Seattle took me through two states that I’ve never been in, and by some of the most beautiful vistas that the United States has to offer. The trip leaves four states on my ‘yet to visit’ list, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and South Dakota. Most of the rest I’ve visited in the last few years that we’ve been on the road. Driving through the mountain passes of Oregon was one of the best rides we’ve done so far. The vast rolling mountains and wide open sky made a perfect backdrop as we made our way north. We drove all through the day, opting to marathon drive to Seattle instead of having to wake up and still have a few hours ahead of us.

We spent the night in a sketchy Walmart parking lot, but there was security guards roaming around so it wasn’t that bad. The next morning, after our Planet Fitness stop, we headed to downtown Seattle.

We parked by the club and walked the eight blocks to check out the city’s famous Pike Place Market. The market is one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers markets. It opened in 1907 and still is going strong today.

We were in Seattle on a Saturday, and the indoor market and the street that it is located on was a complete mad house. Inside the building, people milled about shoulder to shoulder, no room to really function, following the flow of the crowd like cattle being driven down the staging alley. Vendors lined the walls, hawking various wares from tee shirts, to fish, to tulips. Outside was no better, so after checking it out, we moved on.

We passed by the original Starbucks coffee shop on our way to find some food. There was a line clear out the door, which is kinda funny, considering the one two blocks away that serves the exact same coffee was empty. With the amount of Starbucks that Nate drinks (he’s a proud Gold Card member!) I kind of think that the first Starbucks has got to be like his Graceland. Nate and I split off and grabbed some Thai food and then reconvened with everyone back at the club. After soundcheck, Root and I set out exploring.

We walked in the opposite direction of downtown, heading up what seemed to be an endless hill. We stopped in a pub for a while to relax, but the peacefulness of it was cut short by a large group of pub crawlers playing something they called ‘Bar Golf’. On top of being loud and rowdy, they harassed us to buy them drinks so that their team could win. Over it, we headed across the street, gabbed a slice of pizza, and then headed back to the club.

There are two rooms at El Corazon, a large main room and a lounge. Our tour was booked in the lounge, which was set up to be all ages. In order to accomplish that, the bar fenced off an area that you had to be 21 to enter. While better for the club’s security and the cutting down on the possibility of underage drinking, it made for a crowded 21+ area. Most of the people at the show were of legal drinking age, and the drinking crowd stayed in the gated off area for pretty much the whole show, which made the front and center of the dance floor feel a little sparse, when, in actuality there was a solid crowd (John from Miggs hails from Seattle).

Set times were pushed back a little bit because one of the local bands on the bill refused to play because they didn’t want to set up their drums in front of the ones that our tour package shared. It’s very common practice for the opener to have to set up in front, or even off to one side. This is because once you go through the process of setting up your kit and sound checking it, there’s a greater chance of messing things up if you move it. On huge stages, the drums are set up backstage and wheeled in on a separate riser. It was honestly their loss because the crowd was amazing.

The night seemed to wrap up quickly. I think everyone was tired after the two marathon drives that we had just done. Even though Portland was relatively close, as per our custom we headed on on the road right after the show to knock out a bit of the trip. Shortly after 1am we found a Walmart, and stopped for the evening, a little earlier than normal for us.