Tuesday, July 4, 2006

The Phil Lesh Concert

Overgrown Barn, 2006, Oil on Panel, 11x14

Surprisingly, despite being very tired yesterday, I managed to get quite a lot done. I did several monochromatic paintings, three of which will go to the second member show at the Smithy-Pioneer Gallery and the other one will be in an auction for the Farmland Trust in Saratoga Springs in July (pictured above). I also did four underpaintings with the Gamblin paint and it seems like they are already half dry, so I may be able to start the color on those by Thursday or Friday. I also checked my inventory of panels and I have very few left, so I may have to pull some out of the sand down pile and, well, sand them down. Ugh.

Today I plan to get some painting done, I have a few pieces to finish up, frame up a few pieces, and then get a box packed up to ship to the gallery in Atlanta. I may even try to get some paperwork done. Tonight is the Paul Simon concert and naturally it is raining now and since it is an outdoor concert, we are hoping it will stop. Not to mention the ground is still pretty saturated from last week's flooding. Anyway, the concert is rain or shine, so after a get-together at a friend's house, we will head over there.

The Phil Lesh concert was pretty good the other night. The venue was the Saratoga Performing Arts Center which was larger than I expected. It's kind of an open air amphitheater, but with a roof and then there is a lawn area which was packed with concertgoers. Our seats were inside, but just barely, we were in the last row of the balcony. Even with my glasses on I couldn't really see the performers very well and watched most of the concert on the big screens, which, frankly was kind of a drag. I can do that at home. I am not sure how one goes about actually getting good seats, I chose the highest priced tickets hoping for seats on the floor, but that strategy did not work. I am also pretty sure that I hate Ticketmaster and their monopoly on ticket selling and excessive fees. Personally, I think there are probably a few scams going on there.

Anyway, as you enter the area, security goes through your bags and you get a pat down, well, except for me. The guy looked at me, smirked, and said "you're fine-go ahead." I'm still not sure if I should be insulted or flattered. I guess I am leaning towards insulted now. He didn't want to feel me up! Doug got a pretty thorough search though. Watching the crowd on our way in was amazing and I am still cursing myself for leaving my camera at home. Tie-dyed clothing, dreads, old hippies, young hippies, every cliche of the sixties that you can think of, we saw. Except for the cell phones of course, everyone had a cell phone. Anyway, watching people dance is one of my favorite things and there was plenty of that, mostly the deadhead dance, the dance I can't describe, can't do, but I know it when I see it. We made our way to our seats, in the nosebleed section, and our neighbors were a variety of college boys, who were very active doing a lot of dancing and high fives. One of them kept shouting "hey man" and clapping on Doug's shoulders, which totally cracked me up. Clearly, security did not do a very thorough search of the concert goers because almost everyone was smoking pot. The three boys in front of us, two of whom still had acne, were snorting lines of white powder laid out on their college ID's and smoked several bowls after. When we were looking for our seats, I stood by the rail of the balcony for like 30 seconds and there was a security guard right on me, telling me I couldn't stand there, but somehow they missed the guy walking by who was smoking a joint. HELLO?!

Anyway, the music was pretty good, not exactly my favorite but I enjoyed it and Doug really enjoyed it. The opening performance was Trey Anastasio, with Mike Gordon and the Benevento/Russo Duo. Trey Anastasio was formerly in the band Phish (wasn't into them, but love, love, love the ice cream). We enjoyed their performance, as did the guy a few rows in front of us, wearing a tie dyed t-shirt and an orange bucket hat, who literally danced and spun constantly for most of their set. I got dizzy just watching all of those turns. Finally, Phil Lesh and Friends came out and we were pleasantly surprised to see that the lead singer was Joan Osborne, and she was great! Phil was on bass, of course, and every time he sang, rather badly I might add, the crowd went wild. The first set was really energetic and they did some great versions of Grateful Dead songs, like Dire Wolf, Uncle John's Band, Sittin' on Top of the World, and Peggy-O. There was also a lot of jamming in between songs. They took a break and then the second set seemed much more subdued and frankly, the last four songs or so were fairly torturous to me. I have to add here that Doug LOVED the last few songs, so obviously it was just me being tortured. To me the songs just dragged on and on and I was starting to feel really tired. I kept suggesting to Doug that if we left before the encore, we could get out of the parking lot before we got stuck along with everyone else trying to leave. He didn't want to until he heard the beginning of the encore song, which was "Casey Jones", (not one of his favorites) then he grabbed my hand and we lit right out of there.

I like concerts and performances. They always inspire me and make me feel more creative. Maybe that's why I felt good yesterday, rather than dead tired which is how I normally feel after just 4 hours of sleep. The stage was stripped down, no hanging from crosses, dancers, flying guitar players or spinning drum kits and the show was just about the music and jamming with friends and musicians. Phil Lesh was an inspiration as well, despite health issues, including a liver transplant (he even made a pitch about donating your organs to save live, I thought maybe he should have mentioned not doing drugs for years and years, but I digress) and the fact that he probably doesn't really need the money, he is still out there, traipsing around around on tour, doing what he loves.

Pretty cool.


Omega said...

It's great when your senses fill up with the desire to make work. I love your description of the audience - and I suspect the security folks were more concerned with liabilities concerned with sudden death by knife or falling from balcony rather than slow death by drugs.

Good luck with the sanding. I find that drear chores like that go better while listening to music with a strong beat through headphones.

Tracy said...

Hi Omega, Yes, you are right, I am sure that the security people have priorities on what they must deal with first. And frankly, I am not even necessarily opposed to a little recreational drug use, even if I don't indulge anymore. But it all seemed so random at the time.