Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

Steve Martin at Chateau Ste. Michelle 6.19.10

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Sat June 19, 2010

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery

Unlike our Gorge trip which was full of mishaps and long lines, this night was a very pleasurable experience.

Since the winery is only about 15 minutes from our house, we decided to take a taxi and beat the parking traffic. It was a smart move. We arrived about 6:00 and headed first to Redhook Brewery for a nice ale. We walked across the street to the winery and made our way quickly through the ticketing area to the amphitheatre. It was a cloudy, muggy day. We came prepared with rain jackets, a blanket and poncho in case it rained.  We purchased lawn seating, so we carted in some low lawn chairs for comfort.  We also brought some snack food and purchased some Indian food and bottle of sauvignon blanc to enjoy while settling into the show.

Steve Martin, a Wild and Crazy Guy, showed us what he can do with a banjo Saturday. The man can pick. He is so talented. I think he’s out to get Tracy Morgan’s EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Tony, Oscar) collection. For those who watch 30 Rock, you’ll get the joke. Steve not only plays a mean banjo, but has a terrific backing band named The Steep Canyon Rangers, whom he “blames” his wife for discovering while visiting family back in North Carolina. Their band consists of another banjo, fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and stand-up bass. Most of the songs were instrumental arrangements, but others showed off the beautiful harmonizing voices of his band. They were so good together, and played off Steve’s great picking and sense of humor. Steve left most of the singing to them, unless he was interjecting some spoken words or participating in a couple of the more humorous songs.

He showed us a variety of picking styles. One was called claw hammer, and he even wrote and performed an arrangement for a traditional claw hammer song for his new Bluegrass album, The Crow.  [I have since purchased the CD and it was well worth it.  Steve wrote and arranged most of the songs.  I really enjoyed how closely the live performance matches this album. They are just as great live as they are on the album, except there are no jokes and sarcastic remarks in between songs!]

Oh, and it wouldn’t be Steve without the humor! He made several remarks between songs or while tuning the banjos (he had 4 banjos onstage, he said, so he could look behind him and remember what instrument he was playing). He wasn’t Wild and Crazy like his old stand-up comic days, but he would spend some time telling funny anecdotes or add some very dry humor to song intros.  Steve mentioned it must seem strange to see him playing banjo in a band instead of doing standup.  He said something like how weird it would be to go to a show and see Jerry Seinfeld playing the bassoon.  He bragged about being nominated for Bluegrass awards and a Grammy.  “That’s got to sting,” he told the other banjo player, who was feigning a hurt look.

Steve performed a song about Wally, his dog. The violinist made a “barking” noise and then a “whining” sound as Steve narrated that Wally wanted to play ball, but Steve didn’t have time for him. Finally, he gave in, and the chase began. It was a short number, but you could just imagine Wally running after that ball in a big, open field, banjo music blazing.

He said the band is traveling around in a bus for this tour. He recalled being on the road, and the instruments would come out, and they would tell tales of laughter and have a few tears…and then Steve said he knows this because he has called them from his private plane…and the banjo player said yes, that is all true, except he never calls!

He finished show with a Bluegrass version of King Tut! The audience roared and sang along. We moved up to the side of the stage and viewed him from the black screen. We were about 20 feet away. Steve fell into his old stand-up comic character once, and did his King Tut arms, much to the joy of the audience. His dog, Wally, joined them on stage during Tut and wandered around the perimeter and wagged his tail!

We had such a pleasant time. It was so relaxing to lean back in our chairs and soak in the beautiful music. The audience was quiet and respectful, yet very responsive and appreciative after each song. The sky was grey, but only let go of a few sprinkles toward the end of the evening. I have a new respect for Steve and his mastery of the banjo. Wow. Who knew??

www.stevemartin.com

Check out this blog from his Bonnaroo show in Tennessee for quotes of some of Steve’s humorous lines:

http://blogs.tennessean.com/tunein/2010/06/12/steve-martin-brandishes-wit-banjo-skills-at-bonnaroo/ 

 

 

 

Advertisements

June 20, 2010 - Posted by | Chateau Ste Michelle, Concert Season 2010, Music, Steve Martin | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] week opened up and had the time to go.  We didn’t want to pass up this one because we saw Steve in 2010 and loved him.  Also, I’ve never seen Emmylou Harris.  She’s also part of my growing […]

    Pingback by Steve Martin and Emmylou Harris at Chateau Ste. Michelle « Aplscruf's Music Blog | July 25, 2012 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: