In the words of Skip James, I’m so glad(!)…just to be home and back in my own bed.
Doheny was a lot of fun.
Friday, we check into the hotel and within a couple minutes there came a knock upon our door. Birthday treats! Yummy chocolate and ice cream and a brownie. The three of us (my friend M and my new friend J and I) got changed and headed out to the Renaissance in Dana Point. There, we got our drink on (I had two Beam & Cokes and a couple sips of wine, which was probably the best red wine I’ve ever tasted), had some dinner, and we even managed to find a way to dance (if you want to call it that) on the very crowded dance floor. Steve Copeland & Raging Sun are a band you gotta see if you’re in SoCal. Just sayin’. There was more birthday dessert goodness at some point, but one of the true highlights for me was meeting the owners of the place. Y’see, I walked over to their table, which was right in front of ours, and had to comment on the Blue Star Flag laminate the one gentleman had in his shirt pocket. One man has a son in Iraq, the other (who is also a vet…they both may be, but I distinctly recall the one in particular) has a son in Afghanistan. They were quite glad that I noticed the Blue Star and were happy to talk about their amazing kids. That really was a “moment” for me. Yes, everything else was fun and delicious and delightful, but that…it was special, y’know? My evening ended on a high note.
The next day — the first day of the festival — was spent running from one stage to the next. It was too much. I didn’t get to see a single artist perform their entire show. Not that it was necessarily a bad thing. I got to see all but one act and I got photos of all but two (I think). I missed James Intveld completely as I stood mesmerized by Taj Mahal. I only caught a minute or so of Big Sam’s Funky Nation, but man oh man, they were good! They had people stacking and moving chairs so they could all dance! Let’s see, what else? I had a very nice lunch of some good Cajun catfish and fries, chased with an ice cold lemonade. I got to see a lot of San Diego friends, catching up with them, and mostly just enjoying the music together. It was a long day, but the best kind of long day you can have.
The bands were all fantastic, but the headliner? The Black Crowes…hmmm…the crowd…I had a select group of five people around me who were cool. Otherwise the crowd sucked. Aggressive, rude, pushy, and generally not feeling the whole “peace, love” vibe the Crowes are supposed to be about. Chris Robinson is still rockin’ his Jesus look. I got a few good photos and then walked away without regret by the third song. The beer shower was NOT appreciated. Never heard a single song I recognized anyway. Instead of the Crowes, I got 2000 LBS of Blues on the Backporch Stage and loved it.
One of my roommates for the weekend and I walked back to the hotel, threw on our suits, and hit the hot tub. Later, we caught up with another friend or two, grabbed some Jack in the Box (hey, we were totally burned out at that point), and headed back to the room. Along the way, we ran into one of the gals who was running sound on the Backporch and invited her to the room for a drink and maybe some JITB tacos. She was a delight and we all had a good time sharing stories.
Day two of the festival was a lot more relaxed. I’d decided to hang out at the Backporch Stage as much as possible. Taj Mahal, Jackie Greene, and Duke Robillard were all back there and I could always go wander about between acts, which is exactly what I did. Mostly. I missed the first couple songs Jackie did because I really wanted to see a little Bettye Lavette. Ha! A little is right. She’s a tiny thang. Anyway, I caught three songs, enjoyed it, and then went over to see Jackie. I had to pry my way through the crowd to get to the stage. It’s not usually that crowded over there, but Jackie Greene has a very devoted following and it was packed tight. Got to the front of the stage and sat on the ground, crawled back and forth when necessary, and managed to (mostly) avoid the overzealous security guy (he took his job way too seriously and was strung tighter than a tennis racquet). I think he was still pissed because earlier, when Taj was on stage, Taj had encouraged everyone to stand up and join in the fun. Mr. Security couldn’t fight The Man, could he? No way.
Finally got some BBQ in me. Lunch was a calm affair. I got my food, sat down and relaxed. My pace was definitely slower and more deliberate. I never got to the front of the stage for Booker T or John Nemeth or even for Otis Taylor and I really didn’t care. If I managed to get a photo from back further, I was glad, but I didn’t feel like trying to push through any more crowds. Instead, I ambled about. I went back to the kids’ stage and talked with a couple guys from 2000 LBS of Blues (they were hosting the stage), visited with people along the way, took in all the sights and sounds, and generally found myself to be much happier. I caught up with my weekend roomies, enjoyed a beer with them, and it was off to camp out in front of the main stage for Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Backstage, David Crosby took a tumble and the paramedics were brought over to tend to him. He wasn’t terribly injured so the show went on as scheduled. I got about two and a half songs in when Security came over and said, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but no professional photography allowed.” I tried to give the lame, “oh, but my camera isn’t ‘professional’, it’s only an XTi,” but that didn’t work. So I took no more photos and decided to exit the crowd, allowing the kind people around me to squish together and get closer to the action. It took me a full song to extract myself from the throng of fans. It took another few minutes to get to the front gate and start off toward the hotel. I stopped to call Pam and try to get her a quick listen of CSN. Of course, she can’t really hear anything, but at least I tried.
As soon as we hung up, I started my walk to the hotel again and I hear the strains of “Ruby Tuesday” coming from CSN. WTF? Turns out it wasn’t the only odd choice of the evening. They included a Who tune, too. I didn’t hear it, but I heard about it, if that makes sense. All I knew is that I was on a mission to get back to the hotel and get into the hot tub. And I made it!
By Monday morning, I was suitably worn out and ready to head home. A trip down to San Diego with a stop at the Fish Market in Del Mar for lunch made me happy, as did the birthday strawberries dipped in three kinds of chocolate and dusted with cinnamon. Then there was an impromptu photo session with some lovely flowers. We stopped at my friend M’s house since we had time before my flight. She showed me a few of her prized souvenirs from her travels and we talked websites and charities and about how much fun the weekend was.
I managed to secure a ride home from the airport from one of my photography buddies (thanks, B!) and got home just after 9pm. Yesterday was spent recuperating from the comfort of my bed. And there was good news from my attorney — we’re filing a motion to force the insurance company into approving my doctor (as they were ordered to do two months ago), so I should be in to see a doctor sometime before Halloween.
Now it’s back to the editing booth as it were. I have photos and stories and all sorts of things to get done. Hopefully I’ll still be singing the songs I heard this weekend while I edit.