Wow! I'm still trying to form the words for what just happened. What a perfect day!
Left Pittsburgh late Thursday evening with two of my close friends and drove until about Toledo. Woke up this morning and made our way to Wisconsin, checked in to our hotel at Lake Geneva, had a nice dinner and headed to Alpine. Alpine gets a lot of hype around here, so I did have some high expectations both for the venue and the show. Every single one of them was exceeded.
We got into the lots around 6ish, so not a ton of time to tailgate. It was very nice meeting Steve (Wampa) and Nick (Uro55). Thanks for the Glarus, Steve. It was excellent. I was told that once I walked over the hill into the venue, I would be awed. And I was. Looking down into the valley for the first time dropped my jaw a bit. After taking a few pictures, we went to buy t-shirts and use the facilities. I was worried about the oppressive heat, but the temperature did not feel as bad as I had feared once in the venue. Alas, my friends and I had to sit on the lawn because we could only request/buy two tickets at a time in the pavilion. It really wasn't that bad, though. Sound was great. (I discovered a new pet peeve about Warehouse. You can request lawn tickets and NOT get preferred lawn! I thought it was automatic if you bought lawn through Warehouse. It's not like the area was full Oh well, it did not matter. Onto the good stuff).
The show. Number 34 for me. Quite possibly the best. It's hard to compete with the couple 98-2000 shows I saw, for those lacked a soft spot like OOMH. Regardless, this show is a shining example of how to blend old songs with new and have a hell of an evening.
Seven - Kind of saw this coming. I call this the warm-up song. Crowd was into it. In fact, I really didn't mind it opening being on the lawn, because everyone was still situating themselves. Good stuff.
You Never Know - Yes! I was hoping for this one. I call this the true opener. The band sounded so crisp. The dancing notes of Jeff Coffin's sax solo got me dancing. It only got better from here.
Sweet - Nice to hear this live for the first time. A little forgettable amidst the greatness surrounding it, but it is a pretty song.
(Blue Water) - Ohhh, Dave, you are such a tease. You know there is more to this song! Stefan was playing the bass line underlying the solo for you. Still though, very cool to hear!
BOWA - Yes yes yes! Always love hearing this song. Never ceases to put a smile on my face. Crowd singing along with "Oh oh hey la." This song is joy and summer to me. So perfect on a beautiful day in a beautiful place.
STJL - "I gotta little sister named Jane." This one sounded more polished, at least from my vantage point. Highly enjoyable.
Seek Up - Holy shit outta nowhere! Very very very solid version. The interplay between Rashawn and Jeff started softly and built up very nicely. And Boyd Tinsley on the violin! He had a great duel with Dave that just kept going. A couple skrees, but that's to be expected. Nothing bad. Great solo overall. They came to play tonight. No mailing it in here.
Shake Me - This was fun to hear in this spot. Needed a breather. Crowd sang along. Very enjoyable.
Crush - Stefan opened with "Sending out an SOS" for his solo. A standard version of Crush is still a great version of Crush. And this was a little above standard. Again, Boyd sounded lovely.
The Riff - I avoided listening to this because I wanted my first listen to be in concert. I was a little unsure of it in the beginning, and the slow start to the song seemed to lose the crowd, but as it picked up, the crowd around me seemed to pay more attention. Very funky song. I definitely like it. Don't know if I love it quite yet, but it's very interesting.
Pig - Yesss! Pick it right back up boys. This song is always welcome at a show. Again, a standard version of Pig is a great version of Pig.
Mercy - Wow. I was a lot more impressed by this live than I thought I would be. This is a very pretty song with a nice build. I thought the end jam with Dave on the piano dragged a liiiiitle too long, but I enjoyed it.
OOMH - The lights went off after Mercy and I thought that might be it, but no. Dave stayed at the piano. As much as I think this is a crowd killer, the crowd around me cheered when this started and actually sang along. And as I actually do like this song, and those around me seemed to enjoy it, I give this a pass.
Star Spangled Banner --> Watchtower - As the crowd chanted "USA! USA" on this 4th of July weekend, Stefan responded with his patented version of Star Spangled Banner. This is where the show turned into the "Return of the King" of DMB shows for me. I honestly thought this would close. Nope! I was at first not enthused about hearing Watchtower, but, as always, I got sucked in. This was as tight and well-done as ever.
Grey Street - Again, always a welcome song! The images on the screen of that little girl who seemed a little despondent actually added some poignancy to the song. Also, surely THIS would close. Nope.
Monkeylite - Dave welcomed Stanley Jordan to the stage. I thought maybe Jimi or #41 (and was hoping against Can't Stop). Then Proudest Monkey started. Well, that means at least three more songs! This song seems to get mellower all the time. I enjoyed watching Stanley pick away at his guitar. Quite a unique style. But at this late in the show, this song was kind of like a lullaby. As for Satellite, I still love that song. A big summer song for me.
LIOG - Oh, Lie in Our Graves. You always hide from me. Only three (THREE!) times in 33 shows did I catch you. But I knew I'd find you at Alpine. Never leave me again. Boyd Tinsley on the violin! Carter Beauford on the drums!
DDTW - The lights stayed on after LIOG. They're STILL not done?! Niiice! Tim's Flying V came out again, signaling DDTW. Solid way to end the show.
Whiter Shade of Pale - Thought Baby Blue might be coming with the Veillette. But I will take this. A great song, and different to hear.
So Damn Lucky - I thought this would be the closer so I was a bit disappointed at first. But I do love this song, and the end jam, as drawn out as it may be. It had me dancing. As they were winding down, the people next to us left, and I contemplated doing the same to beat traffic. But part of me felt that there was yet more to come.
Tripping Billies - Boom! Fantastic! Yes! Wheeeee!
Wow. Sorry for being so long winded. But this show melted my face and every cliche you can think of. I don't know how tomorrow will top it, but with Minarets, Typical, WWYS, Nancies-->Warehouse and whatever else they cook up still on the table, I imagine it will be great. Thanks Alpine, for exceeding every one of my expectations.