Sunday, June 26, 2011

The End of Leg 1 - 2011

2012 Charger
Setting out without our son this time, we decided to do the last three shows of the Southern Run as our shows this year. Unless there's some kind of miracle, these would be the only shows we would catch until next year. After securing another Undercover-Look-Alike rental, our group of three set out Friday morning for Charlotte. It was nice, again, watching folks change lanes when we were in the left lane...just in case. We headed for our friends' house, then the lot. Like 2010, there was little hassle, and a great mellow attitude in the lot. We were in lot B near the VIP lot and were able to hear the Dog Log soundcheck fairly clearly. I'm hoping that's not as close as I will get to hearing one. We had a lot of fun with our friends, new and old, and a few I was getting to meet for the first time.

Vending on Friday
We planned on driving right through after the shows, and though we missed some after show shenanigans, this proved to be a good strategy for us. I had been listening to the streams and had caught what I was able to of the Alpharetta simulcast, but I was still really happy with the sound and with the energy on Friday night. And a rare Mike's Song opener doesn't hurt either. The first set highlight was definitely the Forbin's / Mockingbird, though like many others, I kinda miss the stories full on stories.

That being said, every time I catch a show in Charlotte I am usually ( as I said to a friend later that weekend ) put back in my place as a Phish fan.

Second set would have been enough to talk about with the Rock and Roll > Ghost > Free that featured some fantastic jamming. But, after a solid Reba, I was treated to my first Icculus, and a fun one at that featuring some great banter about a local musician ( David Mayfield) being Icculus and how we needed to read... well, you know. The tight YEM was another highlight for me.



After the show, we headed for the car for a beverage or two, and I donned a bathrobe for laughs. As I stood in front of some friends, a firework shell went sideways and shot towards all of us. The shell hit my bathrobe, saving my leg from burns, and then bounced harmlessly under a car and went out. The jury is still out, but we're pretty sure the robe saved us.

We arrived in the middle of the night in Raleigh and crashed. After some coffee and pre-gaming the next afternoon, we headed out for some barbecue. We hit the lot at about 4:30 and parked back near shakedown. In the past I can remember Raleigh as being extremely strict and at times downright unpleasant before the show. These last two years have been great. There was still a lot of undercover activity, but they didn't really want anything to do with us...just the people selling beer. More good times with friends, and I got to meet a few more PT and Twitter folks.

Raleigh was a really fun lot, though it seemed a lot hotter than last year. It looked like we were going to get hit with storms like Alpharetta did, but after some decent vending, and meeting some great folks, we packed up in light drizzle, and it seemed to pass us over. Raleigh only held one first for me and that was Been Caught Stealing. It was a lot of fun to hear. However, as a whole, it was still another solid show. Solid, but different from the night before. I really began to notice Kuroda's new additions to the lighting rig. The three additional round panels in the back a well as the increased details projected onto the big screens added a layer of depth to the stage I really enjoyed.



"Can you have all these people sit down?"
During the first set, we witnessed an entertaining show within a show, as the folks in the box seat directly in front of us tried to have fun. The couple was asking the management if there was anything that could be done about the pot smoke, and at one point asked if the people in the box seat in front of them if they would please sit down so they could see the show. Poor folks didn't really look like they were having any fun at all.

Scattered, Smothered, Covered
This time we hung out for a little bit longer after the show. Having a prime location, there was no rush to get out and sit in traffic. We picked up another passenger and it was my turn to drive. The mission at hand was to find food. After a short bit of driving what happened next was a huge surprise. We stumbled upon a brand new, completely empty, super clean Waffle House. This was unheard of. They were literally waiting to help us. Trip highlight? Maybe. Awesome? Yes.

We arrived in Portsmouth at about 4am and wound down to finally crash about 5am. Once we had a few hours of sleep, we set out again for food. After getting rained on trying to get a table at the Beir Garden (which was kind of fun) we wandered down and had a decent meal at Roger Brown's. The service was a bit overwhelmed, but the food was good.

Then, we headed to find the rest of our friends and get ready for the show. We lucked out and got in the same parking garage as everyone else. I wasn't really set on vending this time, but I had a few shirts with me. I felt like relaxing. We hung out near the harbor and watched the boats. Once it got closer to showtime, we headed to the venue and then got rid of our extra for face. Yes, for face.

It really made a fan happy, which prompted us to be asked by another passing couple "Wow, did you just sell that for face??" Yes we did. It's hard to believe that practice is rare.



So many folks I knew were there, and that will be the main reason I will hold this show as one of my favorites. Besides the special Father's Day narration in the Harpua opener...besides a first set new Springsteen Cover honoring the late Clarence Clemmons...nevermind probably  the best Crosseyed and Sand I have ever witnessed...the reason I will hold this as one of my favorite shows is that at one point on the back corner of the lawn, I turned and realized I knew almost everyone there. So many great friends I have met through this crazy circus, and they were all there with me. It couldn't have been a better time.

We then headed off for the boat party.

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