Easter

After a very busy week (tough to fit 40 hours in between 1:30PM Monday and 3PM Friday, but I managed), I dropped Illa off at the kennel, and got to Dulles by 5. Since there was weirdness with the departure list (the board was only showing about a third of the departures), I talked to traveler’s aid around the corner and figured out I needed to go to the C gates, and got there a little after 6. With a flight that didn’t board ’til 6:45, I went to the mini Old Dominion brewpub and had an ale (they were out of the lager). I called Jill to verify they’d wait to pick me up to have dinner, then read the paper. It was a good thing I did not eat, as the flight up to Hartford was the roughest I’ve had – it ranged from mildly bumpy to severely bumpy.

Jill and Robin were waiting for me, and we hopped on the highway. We stopped in Piccadilly Pub for dinner. I had a Sam Adams white, and Jill had some other beer I can’t recall. I had the lobster bisque and a Caesar salad, while Jill had a house salad, both pretty good. I really enjoyed my jumbo shrimp baked with bread crumbs, and Jill liked her chicken and baked potato. We went to Jill’s mom’s house in Holyoke, and I said hi to Jill’s mom, but she was going to bed. We went out with Jill’s other sister Melissa to Elizur’s pub (named after Holyoke’s founder) and had a drink – Jill had a vodka martini and I had a Jameson’s and Diet Coke. We chatted for a while, then called it a night.

Saturday I got up right before 10, which was a problem as we were supposed to leave at 10:30. We hustled and got out around 11, and went with Robin over the hills and through the woods to Jill’s grandparents. Their dad and stepmom were already there, and we caught up for a while (I hadn’t seen them since our wedding). We had a light lunch and talked some more, leaving around 3. Jill and Melissa went out shopping while Jill’s mom and I watched Jill’s niece and nephews. When they got back, we piled into two cars to go to
Joe’s Cafe in Northampton and pick up some pizzas that Melissa had sworn by. We had to stop by the store on the way back for some beer and mixers for later that night, then headed back and had the pizza, which was pretty good.

That night was games night, and we pulled out the Cranium. We had appetizers and Jill made Cosmopolitans. A couple of Jill’s mom’s friends showed up, and we had two teams of four. Unfortunately, my team did not win. Between the socializing and eating, we only got in one game, but that was ok, we were pretty tired. We did get in a long conversation about dog training, brought on by Daisy, the new household weiner dog. She was very cute, going to sleep curled up against me.

Today we again got up late – by the time I finished showering and got downstairs around 10, everyone else was eating breakfast – Jill’s mom had a big spread of eggs, sausage, french toast, bread, and bacon. Once done, we cleaned up for the guests, then I went outside and entertained Jill’s niece and nephews, mostly playing goalie while they kicked balls at me. They left to visit some of Melissa’s relatives, and some of the guests started arriving, so we went in and ate. Easter is Jill’s mom’s favorite holiday, and as with every holiday, she prepared a big spread of delicious food. In addition to the traditional ham, she had cooked a full turkey, with all the trimmings.

After lunch, I went outside and watched the kids blow soap bubbles. Then everyone came outside and hustled the kids off to the front of the house – here’s Jill and Robin on the deck. The big show of the day was about to start – the Easter Egg hunt. I helped hide eggs, then the kids came back and went crazy. Here’s Jake and Madeleine, one of Jill’s nephews and her niece, in the hunt. After the egg and chocolate was tallied, we went inside for dessert. Too soon, I had to leave. Jill and her mom drove me back to Hartford, where I read Artists on Comic Art in the airport and on the plane, where I did not have a bumpy ride this time. Came home to a stuffy house, now catching up on web surfing ‘fore bedtime.

Ok, that’s interesting

Latest rumor at melodicrock.com:

If you were to believe the rumor mill, plans for a Guns N Roses re-union have firmed, with the upcoming tour dates expected to feature the original line-up (with drummer Matt Sorum from the Use Your Illusion line-up). Apparently the guys have already started rehearsals and plans for extending the current tour dates are being examined.
Also coming to light this week – The Cult are apparently being looked at as a possible support band for the Guns N Roses tour.
Additionally – from another source just today – a Velvet Revolver split could be announced very shortly…

G n’ R would be fun to see again (I was willing to go to their last ill fated tour, which never made it to DC).

David Gilmour experience

Pink Floyd, Queen, and Rush were my high school “Holy Trinity”. When the Pink Floyd “divorce” happened (Roger Waters left the band), I sided with David Gilmour, because even though Roger wrote some great songs, David has the best melodies, in addition to singing most of the leads. And I gravitate more to the post-Roger Floyd albums – the only Roger solo album I really enjoy is Radio KAOS (and don’t get me started on the horrible mess that is The Final Cut, supposedly Roger’s final Floyd album but really a messy try at a sequel to The Wall).

Anyway, whatever David Gilmour is doing I will check out. I was extremely tempted to go and see him with the classic Floyd lineup at Live 8 last summer, but it was pretty short (only 20 minutes). When I heard he was coming out with a new solo album, On An Island, and a short tour, I knew I was going if he was in North America. Toronto was a surprise, but it was on a weekend (always important – the New York shows were during the week) and we had a good time prior to the show.

We got to Massey Hall about ten minutes before showtime, with lots of signs letting us know he’d be going on at 8PM sharp. I had to use the restroom and was shocked at the length of the line, until I remembered the audience was mostly guys. I made it to my seat (right side, about 15 rows back) with seconds to spare and the lights going out. David’s new album is from a 60 year old man who’s not trying to make Floyd music – if you go in expecting a typical big, bold Floyd album, you’ll be disappointed. He’s getting older, and that’s a theme throughout the album. It’s a sparse, gentle album for the most part, which is why it was a bit a shock that he’d play the whole thing start to finish (with one track out of order) as the first set.

Castellorizon started with a taped intro, then David walked on stage to thunderous applause, slung his guitar on, and tore into the opening solo. Even though the album is quiet, the songs took on added dimension live. On An Island, the first single, brought the rest of the band out, and the beginning of the light show, which was excellent throughout. The Blue and Red Sky At Night had the appropriate color scheme, while the latter song featured David playing saxophone (he learned it for the album). This Heaven was followed by the instrumental Then I Close My Eyes, which featured the legendary Dick Parry on saxophone. Dick is the original saxophone player who was featured on Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. At this point David introduced the band, which included members who’d played on several Floyd tours, like Jon Carin on keyboards and guitar and Guy Pratt on bass. The audience’s love went largely to Richard Wright, the keyboard player from Floyd. Next up was Take A Breath, the most rocking song on the new album, which sounded like it would have fit comfortably on side two of Momentary Lapse Of Reason. The lights and smoke were very intense during this song, setting off a smoke alarm, with the funniest exchange of the night:

David : “What’s that sound?”
Fan: “Roger’s trying to get in!”

Smile (also performed on the Meltdown Concert DVD from 2001) took the energy down a notch, then he wrapped up the set with A Pocketful Of Stones and Where We Start, telling us he’d be back in a bit. I took of advantage of knowing the order to get close to the aisle and hurrying back to beat the bathroom lines after the set. I thought about getting a shirt then, but the lines were long for the merch too. We returned to our seats, and it wasn’t long before the lights went out again.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) started off the set. In the Meltdown Concert, he’d done the song solo, and here he melded the two approaches, starting off solo and slowly bringing the band in. I won’t lie, Wish You Were Here is my favorite Floyd album, and this is the musical high point of that album. David’s playing was perfect, and the band was in total synch with him. Dick Parry’s solo was amazing, my favorite part when he flipped the two saxes he was carrying to switch them. Wot’s… Uh The Deal is an obscurity from Obscured By Clouds (bad pun, I know). I bought the album when I saw he was featuring the song on this tour. I knew that Floyd had done a couple of soundtracks (this was for a film called “The Valley”), and was surprised it was from 1972, right after Meddle and before Dark Side Of The Moon. The song is outstanding, a folky Waters/Gilmour rumination on life that wouldn’t have been out of place in the first set.

Next was Wearing The Inside Out from The Division Bell, sung by Richard Wright. Interesting fact – that song did not back the tour for that album, so it was revealing as a live tune. The Division Bell is one of those albums I know every inch of, and it was a great joy to finally see that song live, and hear that great solo. Fat Old Sun, from Atom Heart Mother followed, and that was the only slight disappoinment, as one of the songs he’d been rotating in was Coming Back To Life from The Division Bell, which is my favorite song on that album, and that would have been its spot. Can’t complain too much, as next they went into the Dark Side Of The Moon medley of Breathe -> Time -> Breathe (Reprise). Time is my favorite song off that, my favorite lyrics and music from that album:

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

And it was again crucial to have Richard Wright present, as Time is a duet between him and David. The end of Breathe segued into the beginning bell of High Hopes, another good one from The Division Bell (I think the only songs I’m not fond of from that album are What Do You Want From Me and Keep Talking). To close the set, they brought out the epic Echoes from Meddle, for its first live appearance in over 30 years. Now Meddle is an interesting album to me – it’s when they start disassociating with their psychedelic past and start on the progressive course that they essentially founded. My favorite Floyd song, One Of These Days (used to nice effect on last week’s Sopranos), leads off the album, and I like Fearless, but I’ve always been torn on Echoes, mainly because the starting and ending third are classic rocking Floyd, but the middle third is very experimental and the song comes to a screeching halt. But live it was incredible. They started with diffused spotlights on Richard and David, than the rest of the band crept in, then the lasers and smoke started. The middle third finally made sense to me, and I was blown away. I think my mouth was just hanging open for several minutes afterwards.

I’d played Echoes for Jill, and she didn’t like it at all, so she took advantage of those 20 minutes to go downstairs and get a drink and get me a shirt. She returned for the encore, which had the two songs David will be forever identified with. First was Wish You Were Here, the emotional high point of Wish You Were Here to which the audience (which had been loud and enthusiastic between every song, but mostly quiet during) finally gave up and lustily sang along. The perfect finale was Comfortably Numb off The Wall, with Richard sing-songing Roger’s part. David’s rendition of the epic solo was spot on, and a great high to leave on.

A great show that anyone who considers themself a Floyd fan would not regret attending.

Toronto:YYZ and LOTR

YYZ is the airport code for Toronto’s Pearson Airport. The members of Rush were so happy to see YYZ on their luggage tags they named one of their most famous instrumentals after it. It wasn’t a Rush weekend, but there were a couple times they came up. Of course I picked this weekend to read Contents Under Pressure (an oral history of Rush).

We had originally planned on going up Saturday, but due to the expensive tickets opted for redeeming frequent flier miles instead. That meant leaving on Friday. That was ok, I still had one vacation day after the big Europe trip in February and our Boston trip last month. We took Illa to the kennel, and parked at Dulles (even found parking in the Green Lot). Of course our plane was delayed, and we took off and landed 30 minutes late. Thankfully it’s only a little over an hour flight. We landed in Toronto, then took a while to get through immigration and customs.

The Toronto book I brought was pretty good, but it let us down in one major respect. It said that to get from the airport to downtown, you could take any of three bus routes (192 “Airport Rocket”, 58, or 307), but that they all took about the same amount of time, and the latter two got you to subway stops closer to downtown. Wrong! We took the 58 because it was the first one that stopped (and the driver was nice – I didn’t have tickets or tokens, only had 20s, and he let us ride for free), but it was a slow hour long slog through rush hour traffic. Not only that, but Jill compared it unfavorably to some of her rides through wretched stretches of Boston (and she used to take the bus through DC as well). The only redeeming part was the arrival of the white, blonde, pregnant weed pusher, chatting on her cell phone. “I want my money, eh?” And then she mentioned to her callee “I hate riding the [bus] – everyone always looks at me”. Wonder why?

We got on the subway, and it was almost 7PM. We had planned to see Hair that night, but due to a scheduling snafu, Jill had purchased tix for the previous week’s show. In retrospect, not a bad thing, as we wouldn’t have gotten dinner and probably would have fallen asleep. I had made reservations at my third choice restaurant for dinner at 7 when were at Dulles, and called them before getting on a train to bump it back to 8. We got to the Metropolitan Hotel and were checked in by 7:30, quickly changing and getting on the subway at the nearby St. Patrick station. We made it to the nearest subway to the restaurant, but there wasn’t enough time to wait for a street car to take us west, so we hailed a cab. The driver was chatty, and when he learned I had enough for exact change ($4.50) or a lotta change ($20), opted for exact change. That’s never happened to me before.

So we were feeling good as we arrived at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel, sister hotel to the one we were staying at, and the Senses restaurant on the ground floor. The look was contemporary but comfortable. I’ll say right off that this may have not have been my first choice, but it was our favorite restaurant in Toronto. We were seated immediately and presented menus. We decided not to do the tasting menu, which I regretted somewhat after seeing the inventiveness of the chef. I had a King dark lager and Jill had a glass of cava. The taste from the kitchen was refreshing mix of cucumber foam and sorbert, followed by some scrumptious little rolls. For starters, Jill had a white bean bacon soup with duck confit, and I had a mixture of duck and calamari on watermelon with fresh thai herbs and watercress. Both were very good. For follow up drinks, I had a Unibroue Blanche de Chambly (excellent wheat beer) and Jill had a glass of savuignon blanc. I had a triple seared tenderloin for my entree, which came with a marinated carrot (utterly unidentifiable without help) and a small helping of elegant scalloped potato. Jill enjoyed her chicken breast with smoked bacon sauce and brussel sprouts. For dessert Jill had coffee and a banana pie (with sliced bananas on top) served with a dollop of caramelized mango sauce and a scoop of rich chocolate sorbet. I tried the chef’s “pre dessert” – a fork with a piece of granny smith apple, ginger crisp, and bee pollen on it, with sea salt to dip it in. The waiter described it as nothing he’d ever tasted before, and he was right – a perfect match of sweet and salt in a single bite.

Afterwards, we caught a cab to the Orbit Room, our first Rush moment. The club is co-owned by Alex Lifeson, the guitar player from the band. I knew it was a slim chance to see him, but I was curious to see what kind of a place it was. It was a tiny little place, upstairs in a very hip part of town – things were busy when we left after 11. There was a ska band playing there, The Arsenals, and we enjoyed our drinks (a Steam Whistle beer for me, vodka twist for Jill) for some of the show. I saw absinthe on the shelf and thought it was a good time to give it a try. Strong licorice flavor, but no visions for me, there or in my dreams that night. We caught a cab back to the hotel and went to bed.

Saturday was our big touring day. Jill wanted breakfast, and she decided crepes would be fun, so we headed to the subway (where we got a day pass, good for two people on the weekend) and south to Union. We made one stop first, at Europe Bound, a sporting goods store, as I’d forgotten to bring a swimsuit and wanted to enjoy the hotel jacuzzi. The only one I could find that fit me and wasn’t bright orange was $40, but I didn’t want to go looking at other stores, so I bought it.

It was only a short stroll from there to Le Papillion. The skylights (especially on that sunny day) and cunning decorating made it feel like you were outside at a French cafe. Since we were only planning on two meals and this was Jill’s day off from counting points, we lived it up. We started with Paradise for me (gin, apricot brandy, orange juice, and lemon juice) and Morning Glory for Jill (a mimosa plus triple sec), then Crepes Parisienne for me (ham, swiss, and asparagus smothered in hollaindaise sauce), and Crepes Jean Denis for Jill (ham, garlic, mushroom in beshamel sauce, plus she added spinach). We finished by sharing Crepe aux Pommes (hot apples), covered in powdered sugar (yum) and ice cream on the side. Jill had her usual coffee, and I decided to have a Cafe Italien (coffee with amaretto and coffee liqueur).

We were well fortified for our day and took a circuitous route back to the subway. We found the Beer Bistro we knew we’d return to, and a Shoppers drugstore for Jill, who needed contact lens solution. Good choice, as they had both a selection of Coffee Crisps (candy Jill’s coworkers have a jones for) and a post office upstairs (where I cashed some Canadian money orders that my banks won’t cash). We opted to go back to the hotel to drop off our loot, then headed back out again.

First stop was Kinko’s – Norah Jones was coming to the Birchmere as part of the Little Willies band in May, and tickets were just going on sale. I enjoyed seeing her at Wolf Trap, but I think I’d prefer to see her in a club. I just hopped on a PC, ordered tix, and hopped off again (only $2). We headed west to McCaul Street, and I dropped Jill off Mocho Choco for coffee while I went down to Penguin Music (reminds me of long lost local Penguin Feather, where I use to buy Rush tapes), where I found a copy of the banned Dream Theater CD. I snapped a picture of the very funky Sharpe Centre for Design (looks like it’s supported by colored pencils) before grabbing Jill and heading north on McCaul to Recycled Books. Nothing we wanted there (except a cute puppy), so we headed back over University Avenue and down Edward Street to BMV Books. Jill picked up a couple books, and I scored a copy of a Peter David Babylon 5 book I’ve been looking for. Jill didn’t want to watch me wade through the comics and went back to the hotel. After I finished checking out the comics (didn’t find anything), I went next door to the World’s Biggest Bookstore, which was nice, but really just a homegrown Border’s – I prefer used places.

By the time I got back to the hotel, it was after 4, and we hustled downstairs for a brief soak in the jacuzzi. We got changed and were out the door before 5, this time with time to catch a streetcar, and were still two minutes early for our 5:30 reservation at Brassaii. The room was mostly gray with some blue, kind of subdued industrial look. I had a Millstone beer while Jill had a chardonnay spumante, which we enjoyed with a soup pistou for me and a romaine and bacon salad for her. I switched to a Steam Whistle and Jill switched to a cabernet franc for the entrees, and there was another big switch coming. Jill ordered the duck confit with herbed potato and wild mushrooms, which sounded good to me except for the mushrooms. I had elected to try the Capon a la Provencal (castrated chicken) with fennel and potatoes (Jill’s not a fennel fan). Funny thing was, as soon as the entrees arrived, one taste and we each said “I wished I’d ordered yours”. The capon was very strong in saffron flavor and very mild in fennel flavor, which Jill enjoyed, and I didn’t. Meanwhile, I ignored the mushrooms and enjoyed duck which was falling off the bone. We skipped any dessert (though Jill had coffee) as we had to get to the theatre quickly, and knew we’d found a place for later.

We got to the Princess of Wales theatre for Lord Of The Rings about 20 minutes early, which was good. We found a nice gift for a friend (which I left in the cab later, oh well), and got to our seats in time to see the opening entertainment (hobbits running around the theatre celebrating Bilbo’s birthday). The star of the show is undoubtedly the stage. It rises and falls and bends and breaks to make you believe it’s the Mines of Moria, or Helm’s Deep, or Mount Doom. The actors were good as well, though the guys playing Gandalf, Aragorn, and Gollum were obviously compared to their movie counterparts. The fellow playing Gollum, Michael Therriault, is an entertainingly physical actor, slithering and stalking his way through the role, easily the audience’s favorite. My favorite bits were the Ents, the Nine Riders, Gandalf’s telling of how Gollum got the ring, and Aragorn’s summoning of the dead. Even at more than three hours (and two intermissions), significant plots were jettisoned (no Gondor), but the show ably catches the spirit of the books. Jill said she found the second act a little slow – I said “Honey, that’s the source material – the second book drags in places”.

Afterwards, we walked east on King to the Beer Bistro. We decided just to have dessert, and went very decadent. Jill had a Chambly like I’d had at Senses, while I had a 3 beer sampler (on a stick) of Denison’s Weissbier, De Konick, and Ephemere Framboise (all excellent, particularly the framboise). We had to wait for our dessert, as Jill had ordered the drink paired with the Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble, the Quelque Chose. It was a spiced cherry ale, meant to be served hot, so we had to wait for the kitchen to heat it up. It was very tasty, like a mixture of a mulled wine and a beer. I had Dayna’s (the brewmistress) special – the King’s Brewery Pils Bock, which did tast like a mashup of a pilsner and a bock. And with it, I had some of the finest ice cream ever – Maker’s Mark Caramel Ripple. I just wished I’d had room to try some of the others. Our waiter, Brian, was also very entertaining and made sure we enjoyed ourselves. We caught a cab back as we were both feeling it, but that was when I left behind my package.

Sunday, we slept in, then Jill was interested in hitting a greasy spoon for brunch. I thought I found one up on Yonge Street, but it turned out to be just a deli, so we strolled down Yonge until we found Brownstone, a hip little place. I had a Smoothmoove (orange juice, strawberrry juice, and banana) while Jill had a Sunshine (pineapple juice, orange juice, mango juice), then both of us had eggs benedict, Jill with coffee and me with milk. After brunch, we stopped at ABC books where Jill made some finds, then we went back to the hotel by way of the police station to check the lost and found for my package (no luck). We changed and went to the Jacuzzi for a good long while, chatting with a couple who’d won a trip to the David Gilmour show that night. We relaxed and read for a bit (I’d finished my Rush book and started on Writers on Comic Scriptwriting), then changed for dinner.

Not much effort to make it to dinner, as Lai Wah Heen was on the second floor of the hotel. We didn’t make the lunch and missed their dim sum, but the Cantonese menu at dinner was tasty. Jill had a Ketel One martini , and I had a Malibu Monsoon (rum and fruit juices). We both had the prix fixe menu, which started with a chicken cake (the chef’s version of a McNugget, complete with a mustard sauce, but with an exotic flavor). Next was soup, shrimp wonton soup and hot and sour soup for me, we agreed some of the most flavorful asian soup we’ve had. My entree was chicken in a schezuan sauce, and Jill’s was prawns and scallops in a black bean sauce. I’d asked for some spice, and they brought a very smooth chili garlic sauce that was hot, but not too hot (and didn’t strain my system like chili garlic sauce sometimes does). Along the way I got oolong tea with ginseng (so I wouldn’t forget anything more, especially that night) and Jill had a glass of riesling. Dessert was a treat, as it was from Senses Bakery, featuring strawberry ice cream in a crunchy shell, a pecan caramel toffee tart, chocolate sticks, and an apple almond tart. We went up to the room and got our coats, then headed over to Massey Hall for our second Rush moment – it’s the same theatre where they recorded their first live album, All The World’s A Stage. I’m going to do another entry tomorrow about the show, but suffice it to say it was totally worth going up there for.

Afterwards, Jill was peckish, and thought about Subway, but we went to Hemispheres, the other restaurant in the hotel, where she picked the cashews out of the nut bowl, and had a pint of London’s Best while I had a pint of Canada Red. The bar was closing, so we went upstairs and packed, then read for a bit. Morning came early – I got up at 6:15 to shower, and we were out the door at 7. We took the subway as far as we could, then the 192 “Airport Rocket” bus, which was much better than the other one, being a nonstop to the airport. There was a very long line for customs and immigration, but we were through a little after 9, and had time for breakfast (a full breakfast for $5 – in an airport?) before taking the long walk to our gate. The flight was fine and on time, and we snagged our luggage before getting the car and then the dog. Jill slept some as she’s working tonight, and I went in very very late to work, but I worked very very late, so that’s ok.

Summer concerts

The big shows to look forward to this summer:

5/28/06 HFStival @ Merriweather Post Pavilion with H.I.M., The Fixx, Joan Jett, Yellowcard, Coheed and Cambria, Dashboard Confessional, Counting Crows
5/28/06 Hometown Holidays @ Rockville with Blues Traveler
No matter what happens to WHFS (currently on broadcasting in Baltimore, but slated for a new channel on HD Radio), the HFStival continues to thrive, this year with its first (2 day) stop at Merriweather Post. Busy weekend for it (Memorial Day), as not only is there a free Blues Traveler show in Rockville, but we’ll be in Baltimore for Balticon the night before and probably part of Sunday. Plans may change when I see schedules for all three events, though.

6/2-4/06 Herndon Festival @ Herndon Town Green with Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers, Girlyman, Ben Arthur, Michael Clem, Robbie Schaefer, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Ok, I admit it – this is the one I had a hand in booking, but the artists are great. Sunday is the big day, with solo sets from eddie from ohio’s Michael Clem and Robbie Schaefer with a big set of swing from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (who were great in Crystal City last summer).

6/6/06 Blondie, New Cars @ Wolf Trap
Why is it that I’m psyched for this show? No original singers (Ben Orr is dead, and Ric Ocasek won’t tour as the Cars), but I love these songs, and Todd Rundgren does the same thing Paul Rodgers did for Queen (established and respected singer who predates the band he’s joining). They’ve also got a new live CD coming out with three new songs that sound like classic Cars songs (ok, at least the one I heard does). I’ve seen Blondie before, they don’t do much for me, this show’s all about the tunes from the Cars (I hope they do “Hello Again”).

6/9-11/06 Celebrate Fairfax @ Fairfax County Government Center with Getaway Car, Collective Soul, Sister Hazel, .38 Special
Great lineup for Fairfax this year – I’m tempted to go all three nights. Collective Soul on Friday is a must, though (I have a CD alarm clock next to my bed, and their latest CD has been in it now for 6 months – the first song’s really good to wake up to).

6/17-18/06 Potomac Celtic Festival @ Morven Park Equestrian Center with The Prodigals, IONA
6/17-18/06 Alexandria Red Cross Waterfront Festival @ Alexandria Waterfront with ?
Will we make it to either of these this year? Unknown – we didn’t last year.

6/23-25/06 Old Dominion Beerfest @ Old Dominion Brewery with emmet swimming, Last Train Home
Hopefully we can show up before the Magic Hat runs out this year. I’d really like to go when emmet plays – unless that conflicts with the next show on tap.

6/24/06 Dave Matthews Band @ Nissan Pavilion
Dave and the guys put on an amazing performance last summer here – see if they can top that with another year of playing the new songs.

7/1-2/06 Aimee Mann @ Birchmere
Believe it or not, I still haven’t seen her, and this is an acoustic tour. Would normally go to the Saturday show, but that’s you-know-who’s birthday, so maybe Sunday instead.

7/3/06 Keb’ Mo’, Bonnie Raitt @ Wolf Trap
Speaking of you-know-who, she wanted to see Bonnie Raitt last fall but we had a conflict – nicer to see her at Wolf Trap (even though I’d prefer Marc Broussard as an opener to Keb’ Mo’). And it may be a weeknight, but it’s the night before a holiday.

7/7/06 Journey, Def Leppard @ Nissan Pavilion
Not sure about this one – Jill sounded interested, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Leps again (not as pumped about Journey, who hired just a soundalike to replace Steve Perry).

7/11/06 Ringo Starr @ Lyric Opera House
After we saw Paul McCartney last time, I decided I would like to see the remaining Beatle. He usually does the classics he sang lead on in concert. Can’t say I’m enthusiastic about his All Starr band this time out though: Richard Marx, Billy Squier (ok, I do like him), the Zombies’ Rod Argent, Edgar Winter and Sheila E. And the show’s in Baltimore on a weeknight. Still, who knows how much longer he’ll continue to tour.

7/20-23/06 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival @ Dodds Farm with Shawn Colvin, Crooked Still, Christine Lavin, eddie from ohio, Dan Bern
The music’s great, but after several visits (this will be our fourth), it’s also about the people we camp with. The only reason to actually drive someplace longer than 3 hours away (to bring the camping gear). A new location this year promises to be interesting.

7/26/06 Jethro Tull @ Wolf Trap
Ok, actually Ian Anderson playing Jethro Tull music with a symphony, but he basically is Tull, right? And I think their music is nicely suited to being played with an orchestra.

8/17/06 eddie from ohio @ Wolf Trap
What’s a summer without a hometown show from these guys? I’m bummed it’s not on a weekend, but hey – maybe I’ll just be a little late to work the next day.

Buried Treasure

We went over to my Mom’s tonight for my Dad’s birthday. She invited Illa as well, and he enjoyed himself. He especially enjoyed finding the dog biscuits my Mom’s dog had buried in the backyard. He also marked nearly every square inch (only outside, thank goodness).

We had steak and salad for dinner, and chocolate cake for dessert. We stayed chatting for a good long while. It was too bad my sister couldn’t join us, maybe next month.