4th of July Recap Part 1

Happy 4th Everyone!  Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, filled with fun, food, great weather and of course fireworks!  I had an awesome 4th weekend, probably that best I’ve ever had – thanks for everyone who celebrated it with me.  I’ve been making these smaller, half-assed entries for the last few days, and I do want to capture all the thoughts that have gone through my head all weekend, so I may end up making a few entries, but to summarize, here is how my weekend went.

Friday Evening  Dinner with my sister, her friend and Bethany.  Mmmmmm Sushi!  Fun game of Mexican train with the family.  Bethany revealed my birthday surprise…

Saturday   …which was tickets to Red Rocks for the Big Summer Classic!  I got to spend the whole day in arguably the most beautiful concert venue in the country, and got to see some awesome bands: Keller Williams, Spearhead, String Cheese Incident.  Had a blast (pictures below)

Sunday  Turned 24!  Had an awesome birthday!  I started the day with Mass (always a good thing), lunch with my mom and my sister, then met with Emily & Jackie (more to come on this later), they took me to dinner, then had my kick-ass poker party with many of my closest friends, it was a blast!  Stayed up until 6:30am Monday morning!

Monday Slept in until noon, then Joel, Jackie, Michael and I went to go see Batman Begins (and for those keeping score at home, this is the third time I’ve seen it!)  Then home for BBQ, watching fireworks and birthday cake!

Wow, what a great weekend!  Some thoughts about Saturday:

Big Summer Classic – Great show, great venue, great music – WAAAAAY too many hippies!!  Wow…  I guess with the jam bands that played we shouldn’t have been surprised, but at the same time the thought of Eric Cartman saying, "Hippies.They’re everywhere. They wanna save the earth, but all they do is smoke pot and smell bad." (more Cartman hippie quotes).  Okay, so I’m just messing with the hippies, but in all seriousness there was something about the crowd there that really bothered me that I’ll get into later on.

Bethany and I got in time to see Umphrey’s McGee but they really weren’t that memorable.  But when they finished I was really excited to see Keller Williams get onto the stage.  In between the bands and while they were setting up, I was very surprised to see Keller himself going out onto the stage and setting up his gear with the roadies!  I haven’t been to too many festivals, but I’ve seen a lot of bands with opening acts, and I have never seen someone from the next act actually setting up their own stuff.  That was awesome!  Sometimes when I have my fantasies about playing in a band at a venue like Red Rocks, I like to think that I’d be setting up my own stuff, in part due to the fact that I’m uneasy about other people configuring my equipment.  But getting back to Keller Williams…  Dude is amazing!  He’s a one-piece band, going out there with loop tracks.  He has like 5 different instruments laid out and picks on up, plays a groove with it (while recording it), then setting it to a loop track.  While the loop track is playing, he picks up another instrument (a percussion instrument for example) and plays another groove on top of that loop track, then he laid down a bass groove, and so forth, then sang.  It was amazing!! 

Then came Spearhead – I was most excited to see them, and they did not disappoint!  With the festival structure they could only play 8 songs, but 4 of them were new songs.  They definitely had the most energy, and I felt that out of all of the bands there, their songs had the best messages and engaged the crowd in the best fashion.  I loved how they got the crowd going.  My only wish is that they could play a full set at Red Rocks!

String Cheese Incident was really cool as well!  They are such creative and talented musicians, it was fun listening to them.  Then during the first song we started seeing fireworks go off!  It was a very enchanted and awesome moment in the evening.  At that point I really enjoyed being out there in a summer evening, at such a beautiful venue, being blessed with the opportunity to listen to amazing music and spending time with Bethany.  It was a great way to end an awesome day!

There were some interesting things and people that were there, but there are two that really have stuck in my mind.

First off there was this guy there that Bethany and I designated "Hippie Guy" that spent virtually every song doing interpretive dance.  At the beginning of the concert it was just freakin’ hilarious, because this was the weirdest dancing you’ve ever seen, and it was just really random – exactly what you’d picture for a "weird interpretive stoned hippie dance".  He was a big distraction to the concert all night, but then the humor faded and the fear set in.  Dude was really scary..  First off he was gorked out of his mind, on something.  I’m not really sure what chemical he kept saying, but it didn’t sound like it was meant for consumption or inhalation, but chances were it was in dude’s system..  He had a very intent look in his eyes, and was casting them on any random person around him.  Then he started just spatting out the weirdest stuff.  Like I said, a little crazy…  Then the feeling of fear subsided to feelings of pity. It was obvious this guy is struggling with demons in some form, and you can’t help feel for someone going through that.  In the end, however, I had a fear of frustration towards the Red Rocks security.  Dude ended up having this hard-cased box (almost like a first-aid box, that was pretty much filled with narcotics..  He kept going into his box, pulling out a pill or something that’s probably illegal and kept showing it to people, offering it to some.  At that point I was pretty upset with Red Rocks – how could you let a guy with this box right into the concert?  Did you think these were jelly beans or something? Arggh… 

Secondly, I must offer my hippie rant, or should I say "wanna-be hippie" rant.  Let me first say that I have great respect for true hippies, and while I don’t understand or embrace the values and lifestyle of hippies, I can respect the way they do the thing they do.  But these posers that were at the concert – they’re something else…

While Spearhead was on stage, about 5 song in front-man Michael Franti starts talking about the Iraq war, telling a story about a woman that he knew that’s working to provide assistance in Iraq, an advocate for peace, that ended up getting killed in a suicide bombing in April  At that point Michael started playing his guitar and wanted to dedicate the next song to her..  At least I think that’s what he was doing..  I couldn’t hear because ALL THE HIPPIES AROUND US WOULDN’T SHUT UP!

But then it got more frustrating…  Before String Cheese Incident took the stage, some members of the Lakota Nation on the Pine Ridge Reservation (a cause near and dear to my heart) took the stage, thanking people for a food drive that was done for their cause.  Then to thank the people the Medicine Man and his family offered a song, and then an actual prayer..  But again, the FREAKIN’ HIPPIES WOULDN’T CLOSE THEIR MOUTHS DURING THE SONG…  They weren’t even paying attention to what was going on.

This really frustrated me.. In my eyes one of the qualities of a hippie (aside from the dress and life-style) is that they’re passionate about a political or social-justice issue.  It could be anti-war (as many of them are associated with), the environment, poverty, anything along those lines, but hippies have always been PASSIONATE about SOMETHING. But for the people at the concert, they were completely disengaged from the justice opportunities that were presented to them.  Being a hippie is more than not showering, growing out your ‘pits, making your own clothes and burning the lettice – but aside from legalizing the chronic, these people had no issue they were passionate about.  Michael Franti was trying to reach out to them in regards to a very hot-button issue, and these wanna-bes couldn’t care less!  I was really anxious to hear what Franti had to say.  I think Iraq is a very complex issue, and I’d like to hear other people opinions, but when people aren’t even paying attention to the band’s out-reach, what respect do you have for the issue.  The talking during prayer really set me off to!  This might be sterotypical, but I thought Hippies were supposed to be in touch with other avenues of spirituality…  I think that if you’re looking to wear the clothes and talk the talk and love the lifestyle, but not "walk the hippie walk" – you’re just a wanna-be hippie, which is just disappointing.  Sorry for the rant, am I off base here?

But because you stuck with me… PICTURES!!


Haven’t been to Red Rocks yet?  This is what you’re missing!

Bethany and I

"Hippie Guy’s" interperative dance…

Ummmmm..  Lol, wrong decade dude….

‘Freakin Spearhead

Spearhead again (did I mention they rock?)