Wow. I totally forgot about this whole blog thing. Not my fault really.....well...ok...it is....but I have some good excuses...sorta
It was heading into summer and for me that means concert season. I love loud live music and this summer has been a barn burner for us here at Lillie Belle. We kicked it off in early July with our annual pilgrimage to the High Sierra Music Festival. There were some great acts this year including a rare performance by Ernest Ranglin who was flown in from Jamaica to show us how his unique style of guitar is done. Seriously. If you have never had the honor of standing in front of Ernest while he lays down the law on the guitar your life is not complete.
Then there was Bill Frisell who is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest guitar players alive today. His stylings run all over the map from subtly and sublime to screaming claw the inside of your skull tones. Always a pleasure to watch him do things with a guitar I didnt know were possible. I also ot turned onto a guy I had never heard of before- Shakey Graves- a singer songwriter one man band from Austin who captivated the crowd with his gutsy playing and smokey snaky voice. Good fun.
Steve Poltz was there again and he is, without question, one of the most talented folk singers in the world today. His story telling and humor are infectious. Watching steve do his thing is a pleasurable experience; you laugh, you cry, you sing along to songs you have never heard before. If ever plays near you, go see him.
There was so much music I couldn't possibly describe each act. There was Widespread Panic, Fareed Haque, Ms. Lauren Hill, Beats Antique, Lettuce, The California Honeydrops, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Jonathon Wilson, Stanley Jordon, Hard Working Americans, and many many others gave us great joy in the possibilities of life. After 5 whole days of continuous music and food and dancing til dawn we were beat up yet completely satisfied. This is a renewal festival for us and for most of the people who make this annual pilgrimage to Quincy, California to enjoy the best festival in America. And while the music is a big part of it, the truth is that the crowd, the people, the family and friends are what make it so special. We handed out hundreds of chocolates to the artists and festival attendees alike. It was magic.
Fast forward through the heat of summer and it was time for some more rock and roll. Being the chocolatier to the rock and roll industry does have its perks. After a few years away from touring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers decided to release a new album, Hypnotic Eye, and follow it with a tour. With a couple dates in Oregon there was no way were gonna miss it. The opening act on this tour was none other than Steve Winwood. You couldn't ask for a better night of great music than having these two share a stage. It did not disappoint on any level. From Winwood leading his band through perfect renditions of classic Traffic tunes--Dear Mr. Fantasy and Medicated Goo anyone?-to seeing the heartbreakers tear into new songs that felt like classics from the get go, I was blown out of my cat bird seat both nights.
Two shows in one week in Eugene and Portland was just about right but it didn't end there. Paul McCartney was closing Candlestick Park in San Francisco so, naturally, we couldn't miss that either. This was a summer highlight for sure. Being in the presence of one of the Beatles, whose music shaped my youth and opened my mind to explore rock and roll, was a once in a lifetime trip. Did you know he is a Knight of the Realm? Indeed. Sir Paul deserves every accolade and pedestal he can be put upon. His band was fantastic and they tore through the catalog pouring on every aspect of Sir Paul's career. Every song better than the next culminating in a spectacular Golden Slumbers>Carry that Weight> The End. There wasn't a dry in the 50,000 person crowd. Spectacular!!!
We really are the luckiest chocolate makers on earth.