Aplscruf's Music Blog

The B-52′s July 6, 2002 Chateau Ste. Michelle

Here’s another post from the old days…This was our first time at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery to see a concert. 

The B-52’s

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Woodinville, WA

Saturday, July 6, 2002

Our son was very cranky this morning because he knew he was going to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  P and I were going to the B-52’s concert at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville!  I was so excited.  We saw them for the first time in 1990 at the Mercer Arena.  It was such a huge crowd;  it was really hard to get close.  We managed to squeeze our way to the front (festival-style standing on the floor) and almost got squished.  I remember feeling the air getting forced out of my lungs by the crush of the crowd.   I knew we’d have a better experience this time because we had reserved seats in the 10th row!

That evening, we taxied to Woodinville to avoid the parking mess.  We had just enough time before the show to munch down a sandwich and a couple of ales at Redhook Brewery, across the street from the winery.  I knew that in order to get P to dance or at least move to the music a little, I needed to get some alcohol in him.  We then walked over to the winery.  We went into the wine shop; I was amazed.  They let you purchase your wine, give you cups and let you drink it during the concert at your seats!  They even had little cheese and cracker plates for sale.  Wow, way better than the Gorge, where there is a designated drinking area and a two-drink maximum.  I guess with the kind of music they have at the winery they aren’t too worried about crowd control. 

We purchased a bottle of champagne and later some cheese and crackers.  It was a perfect evening.  It was about 80 degrees that day, and stayed in the 70’s at night.  We sat and drank through the first act, a blues guitarist named Erika something-or-other.  She was solo, but pretty good.  It was relaxing to sit and eat and drink before the big dance!  After Erika, there was an intermission.  Usually, the intermission is about 45 minutes, so we went to the bathrooms and looked at t-shirts.  Unfortunately, they only accepted cash.  We only had enough to get a taxi home, so I lost out on that deal.  they had some cute lobster shirts, too.  Oh, well.  I’ll have to look online.

We turned around to go do some more shopping, and we heard the audience yelling.  Oh, there they were!  We ran back to the stage.  We got to walk right in front of the stage to get to our seats.  It was soooooo cool!  I was 5 feet away from my musical heroes!  I have listened to The B-52’s since I was 14!  So much fun! 

They opened with Whammy, which got everyone (less the row directly behind us, for godsakes!) on their feet.  We stayed on our feet for the rest of the concert.  They played a variety of songs from all of their albums including: Mesopotamia, Give Me Back My Man, Love Shack, Strobe Light, Volcano, Private Idaho, Roam, and more.  

The remaining members (Ricky Wilson passed away from AIDS-related illness sometime before Bouncing off the Satellites was released) still looked great, although noticeably older, considering it’s been over 20 years since their first album was released!  Keith still looked exactly the same.  P thought he still looked in his mid-twenties!  He was still skinny and fit.  Fred looked even smaller and skinnier, but older.  I guess they’d all be pushing at least 50.  He was the most energetic.  He looked like he was having a lot of fun up there.  Cindy Wilson had a big blonde bouffant hairdo and a blue velvet top that fit loose at the bottom.  She was pretty heavy.  Kate had a big auburn wig that went down her back.  She was in purple and covered with rhinestones.  Both girls sang their hearts out, but were a little raspy at times and quite stiff.  It made me feel old, until P pointed out that everyone here is old, except for the girl in front of us and some of the kids who brought their parents!

While we were dancing and singing along, I noticed there was a pretty blonde girl in front of us.  She kept turning around and offering us more champagne!  She was younger than anyone around us.  I then started wondering who she looked like.  Then I realized she could be Mena Suvari from American Pie and American Beauty!  I kept asking P, “Is that her?  Is that her?”  He thought so at first, but then wasn’t so sure.  She was definitely one of those perfectly sculpted people who tend to stand out in a crowd.  She seemed confident, but also very nice and friendly to all of the people around her. 

She then started  stacking all of the white patio chairs so she and her 40-something boyfriend could have more room to dance.  She kept motioning us to come up closer to dance in her area.  It was so cool!  Although, I still don’t know for sure if it was Ms. Suvari. 

Pat left to get some more champagne, but the wine shop was closed for the evening.  While he was gone, she asked me if I was from around here.  I told her yes, just north of Woodinville.  That was the deciding factor for me.  She wasn’t from around here!  She must be visiting from out-of-state–possibly California?  I then screwed up my courage and told her I loved her in American Beauty.  She looked confused, and said, “What?” I repeated myself, louder, trying to compete with the loud music.  She smiled, but I don’t think she said anything.  I felt awkward, not knowing if she understood me.  I immediately changed the subject and pointed to the hot air balloons that were flying just behind the stage, up several hundred feet.  She was impressed by that, and showed the person on her left. 

Her boyfriend had moved, and noticed he was on the end of the aisle.  She went to join him, and they later moved their way up to the second row to dance.  They pushed more chairs out of the way.  Now everyone around us moved their chairs and it became a festival dancing area. 

I danced and sang every word of every song.  P was semi-dancing, and at least mouthing the words, too!  [I have later come to realize I need to let him do his own thing and be thankful that he enjoys going to shows with me!]  Somewhere during a slower song, we hit the restrooms again.  It was so fun to run next to the stage and look up at the band.  I later asked P why there wasn’t more security by the stage.  He said, “Well, judging from the age of the crowd, I don’t think they’re too worried about some drunk 40-year-old woman trying to climb up on the stage!”  He had a point there. 

The only disappointment was the length of the concert.  They started at 8:00 and ended at 9:00 sharp.  I couldn’t believe it!  Over twenty years of songs and they only played for one hour.  We did manage to cheer them back for an encore.  They played Rock Lobster and Modine.  I saw the Mena look-alike on the way out.  I thanked her for the alcohol.  She smiled and said, “Oh, you’re welcome!”  Who knows…

August 7, 2010 Posted by | 2002, Chateau Ste Michelle, Music, The B-52's | , | Leave a comment

Back in the US…Back in 2002

Sir Paul McCartney, Back in the US Tour

Tacoma Dome

October 19, 2002

[ I recently transferred old documents from a dead computer hard drive and discovered some journals I thought were lost.  I’m not able to copy them, so I printed them out and will retype and try my best not to edit too much.]

And He Shall Be Crowned King of Rock and Roll

I just witnessed history.  I saw the best concert of my life, of this century and last.  I saw Sir Paul McCartney.  Elvis is dead.  There is a new King, and his name is Paul!  Long Live the King!

Way back in June [2002], there were rumors that Paul would play in the Northwest.  If my memory serves me, he hasn’t played here since the 80’s and before that, it was 1976.  There were pictures in the newspaper of people lined up outside the Kingdome in their sleeping bags waiting to either buy tickets or be the first ones in for festival seating.  I wished I were there, too, but I was only 12.  When I heard he was coming again, I knew I had to go, no matter what the cost.

Well, the cost was steep.  Tickets were $55-250.  I wanted $250, but P said no way.  Luckily, he said this in front of everyone at work, which spawned an amazing series of events.  First, two days before the tickets went on sale in July, my bosses called me in their office and asked if I still wanted to see Sir Paul.  I said I did, and they offered me the company credit card to pay for the tickets, full price!  I cried!

The morning I was supposed to purchase the tickets, I was so nervous.  I went to my own account on Ticketmaster and proceeded to botch things up.  I changed the account info to read my boss’ name and card, but unfortunately the info did not change for 24 hours.  The info defaulted back to my own debit card and address!  I didn’t realize it until P checked our checking account balance the next weekday.  He [was not happy] and I lost a whole night’s sleep wondering how I was going to explain this to my boss.  I called her the next morning and she cut me a check.  I called the bank, since we didn’t have enough in our account to cover it at the time.  It came to $530.00!  Then came the waiting.  The tickets did not ship until a week before the concert, in October.  I didn’t think they would ever get here, and I thought I might have botched things up further, and they were cancelled!  I was constantly checking my account on Ticketmaster to see if they shipped.

About two weeks before the concert, my bosses asked me where I was staying in Tacoma.  I told him P reserved a room at the Sheraton.  They kept asking questions about dinner, etc.  Finally, they made an announcement in front of everyone and told them I was staying at the Sheraton, but not paying for the room, I was going to dinner at C.I. Shenanigan’s but not paying for it, and a limousine was taking us to dinner and the concert, picking us up afterward!  I cried again!  I was shocked, and very grateful.  What an incredible bonus!

Finally, the day of the concert arrived.  I was so nervous that my heart was palpitating.  It had been all week.  I don’t know why I was feeling like that, except I guess I wanted everything to go perfectly.  Also, this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see one of the greatest rockers of all time!  A Beatle, for crying out loud!

First we stopped at Southcenter for a little shopping.  It turned out to be a 2 1/2 hour ordeal, with me being the one dragged about, while P shopped and tried things on.  He did find some nice slacks and shoes.  I felt so bad because I was so nervous.  [Looking back, I realized I was having a serious panic attack and was really on the verge of passing out at one point!]

We arrived at the hotel around 3:30.  I jumped in the shower and calmed down.  We ironed our clothes and found our limo driver waiting for us downstairs.  We spoke with the limo service rep before getting in.  He told us that his company got to pick up Paul at the airport about 1:30 am that morning.  I asked if he personally got to meet him.  He said no, just the security guards.  Apparently, Paul was staying at the Four Seasons in Seattle.  He was then going to arrive any minute via police escort down I-5!  What a sight that would have been…like royalty! 

I felt so cool and a little like royalty getting into the stretch limo.  When we stepped into the limo, though, I was sad that no one else was joining us.  We asked P’s brother and sister-in-law if they wanted to come, but they had other plans.  Anyway, we were dropped off at the restaurant overlooking Commencement Bay.  Real nice place, relaxed atmosphere, and incredible seafood.  After a couple cosmopolitans I felt much better.  P had seared ahi tuna and I had a wonderful halibut.  We downed some creme broulee for dessert and then found our driver waiting for us.  It was only about 6:30, and the concert didn’t start until 8:00.

We decided to see if there was any fun place to stop for another drink before the concert.  He dropped us off at a place called The Vault Bar and Grill.  We walked up to the door and the woman there said, “Are you with Jeff and Tina or the Browns?”  We should have said, “Yes!” but instead said we just wanted to go to the bar and get a drink.  She said it was a private catered party.  Meanwhile, our poor driver was trying to find a place to park.  We spotted him on the other side of the street, stopped at the light.  We ran across the street and hopped in!  People must have thought that was strange.

Then P told him to go ahead and take us to the Tacoma Dome.  I told P we didn’t have to be there until almost 8:00, so then P told the driver again to stop at another bar.  The driver did find an interesting place he said was a newer bar, but he had to turn around (again) up the next block. 

We walked inside-it was called the Hotel Bar and Grill.  It was a quaint brick building with high ceilings.  We found one of the only small tables left and ordered drinks.  About the time the waitress left, P was broadsided by a guy.  Slam!  Right into the side of him!  I looked at the guy, shocked by his obnoxious behavior, then in an instant realized it was our old college buddy we hadn’t seen in about 12 years!  Another friend was with him, as well as two other guys we didn’t know.

They asked us to join them after hugs and lots of laughter.  It was surreal bumping into them, out of all the bars in Tacoma.  Our friend lives up the street from the Tacoma Dome, and they were intending to walk to the concert from the bar, which was only a few blocks away.  Our other friend bought a round of drinks for all of us, then we asked them to please join us in the limo.  They were very grateful, and thought that would be fun.  We were so glad we ran into them. 

We gabbed the whole way to the concert, then told them to meet us at a particular bench afterward, right outside the dome.  They agreed.  We didn’t really think we would see them again, but it was worth a shot.

I was really getting excited now, but at least the palpitations were gone and I could relax a bit.  It was easy to get into the dome.  A security guard quickly took a flashlight to my purse.  I told him I only had binoculars.  No problem.  They also were quick with the tickets.  They now use a bar code reader instead of having to rip the ticket stubs off.  So, in we went.  We still had about 20 minutes to kill, and I guess the concert was running late.

We decided to get another beer to share and some water.  The lines were long and slow.  By the time we went to the restroom and then got the drinks and got to our seats, it was just about to start.  I could not believe how close our seats were!  I figure we were about 50 feet away, just off diagonal from the stage, left side and 5 rows up from the floor.  It was perfect because we could see over everyone’s heads.  The people on the floor stood most of the time, so they would have to crane their necks to get a good view of the stage (unless, of course, they were in the front row, but even then it would be difficult to see all the video screens).

The lights dimmed and everyone roared.  There were notes posted in the outer halls regarding the entertainers needing room to walk down the stairs, as the opening act was interactive.  I thought, “Oh, great.  Now we have to sit through some weird act, then wait through an intermission before he even comes on stage!”  Luckily, that wasn’t the case.  

There were weird people moving down each aisle.   They were dressed in 17th century costumes; the men wore long, colorful coats, the women were in hoop skirts and huge white wigs.  One woman even had a small ship atop her wig!  Loud, rumbling drum beats and synthesizers were playing in the background.  It was a strange, haunting, rhythmic noise.  On stage, the video screens showed psychedelic images, or themes, such as Greek columns, and out came some girls dressed in togas, posing like statues.  Then the theme changed to Asian, and a group of dancers came out with large hoop costumes and writhed around while a ‘floating’ meditating man went by.  There was Atlas, lifting the world weights, a female contortionist squeezed in a clear box, ballerinas doing strange dances and throwing themselves across the stage, little jesters, people carrying balloons, four feet in diameter, with blue sky and clouds painted on them.  The entertainers all had their faces painted a ghostly white, like clowns.  There was a man in a black suit and top coat wearing a derby cap and carrying an umbrella.  A stiff wire was somehow attached behind him and arched over his cap.  Hanging in front of his face on the wire was a green apple.  Apple Records!  I got it!  This wasn’t the opening act, this WAS the act!  I got excited then and started screaming.

The sound grew louder and more frantic.  The dancers became frantic too, and flung themselves around in feigned confusion.  Finally, a big screen came down and the dancers parted.  Behind the screen was a gigantic silhouette.  Everyone screamed!  It was a larger-than-life guitar, and then Paul’s silhouette with his guitar held above his head!  I screamed and started crying!  I became a true Beatlemaniac!  I beat P’s arm that night until he was almost bruised.  I grabbed my hair, I squeezed my face, I screamed and cried, just like the images on the giant screen of the Beatles concerts from the sixties!  I couldn’t believe my dream had finally come true!

Paul opened with Hello Goodbye (You say yes/I say no/You say stop/And I say go, go, go!).  I was thrilled!  He wore a basic long-sleeved red shirt with black slacks and black blazer that didn’t stay on long.

I heard he was going to mix some old Beatles tunes with Wings and solo songs from his new album.  Here is a huge list of songs he played.  I brainstormed after the concert, so they’re not in order.  [He has since put out a CD and DVD of the show which has basically the same order as the show in Tacoma]  He played for almost 3 hours!

Hello/Jet/Let Me Roll It To Ya/She’s Leaving Home – from Sgt. Pepper-another of my faves/I Saw Her Standing There – lots of Beatles pics from back in the day-everyone bounced around to this one/Back in the USSR – pics of old USSR, goose-stepping armies, leaders, etc./Let it Be/Band on the Run/Lady Madonna – pics of famous and not-so-famous women in a slide show/Something – He first told how George loved the ukulele, and he gave one to Paul that he used for this song.  He said while visiting George’s house, George would bring out the ukuleles and the guests would all sing along and play.   Tons of still photos of George were on display on the screens while Paul played Something as a tribute to his life./Maybe I’m Amazed – with perfect guitar accompaniment/Long and Winding Road/Live and Let Die – with heavy pyros – shooting fireworks, hot fire flashes that we could feel from our seats, fireworks bursting from the top of the stage!  When it was finished, Paul shook his head, rested his elbows on top of his piano and looked petrified!  he then patted his heart. /Blackbird – dedicated to the “birds”– black women suffering the injustices of the South during the 60’s/Can’t Buy Me Love – with A Hard Day’s Night movie clips and photos-I really screamed with this song, grabbed my hair, shook my head around!/Yesterday-I think he used the same guitar he used on the Ed Sullivan show to do this song.  He held it up first before doing the song – I cried!/All My Loving/Eleanor Rigby/Tribute to John Lennon/My Love – Tribute to Linda, and one of my favorite Wings songs/Driving Rain (new solo)/ Freedom – written for the 9/11 concert in NY, with a gigantic banner of the Statue of Liberty/Every Night/We Can Work it Out/Carry That Weight/Fool on the Hill/Here There and Everywhere/Nature Boy/Coming Up/Michele/Hey Jude – went on forever with Nah, nah, nah…/Someone’s Knocking/Ending to Sgt Pepper…and in the end, the love you take…is equal to the love…you make – ending the 30+ song set with two encores!

I sang along to most of them, except for the newest ones.  We had some pretty old people around us, so it was hard to get too wild.  I didn’t want to make anyone around me not have fun, too!  So we had to sit most of the time, but I was on the edge of my seat grabbing P or my face!  I would jump up after every song to give a standing ovation.

Paul would always hold his guitar up in a sort of conquering fashion, then hand it over to the roadie and receive a different guitar.  I don’t know how many he used-maybe 10 or more throughout the evening.  His beautiful bass guitar was shaped like a violin.  I also think it was one of his originals from the 60’s or at least the same maker.

Another thing I really enjoyed was how he interacted with the crowd.  I’ve been to some concerts where the singer would say hello, then introduce the band at some point, and that would be it [Bob Dylan comes to mind, Paramount 2006].  Paul managed to interact through the whole evening.  He would read signs around, such as: “Show us your feet!”  He said, “You know, I’m up here trying to concentrate on my words and trying to play my guitar and not mess up, then I look down and I just have to read the sign!  And no, my feet stay in the shoes tonight!”  Everyone laughed. Another sign said, “It’s Gloria’s 50th birthday!”  I think he even sang a quick birthday tune for her.  He called us Tacomalians and Seattleians in his Liverpudlian accent. 

He also told a funny story about getting massages at all these fancy hotels in which he stays.  He had a bad experience in Louisiana where a male masseuse told him to do weird things, like pretend his leg was a hollow brass tube, and his neck was like a giraffe’s.  Then he asked Paul what he felt like.  He said, “Oy feel loyke a giraffe wid ay ‘ollow brass leg!”  Laughs galore.  He said, “I’m only telling this story because I’m hoping someone knows that man and will tell him to stop!”

Then he said this one time when he was in Japan (everyone cheered and whooped), and he said, “Not THAT time!” referring to the time when he was busted for pot possession and was jailed for 9 days.    He said this more recent time a Japanese lady told him to “put towel down on floor, get on floor, on stomach.”  He did, then said she stood on him to massage his back.  He could hear her singing very quietly, “Yesterday…love was such an easy game to pray…” only he said it with a falsetto Japanese accent and everyone roared! 

He also had nice things to say about John before his tribute song (which included the words, “I love you” in the song).  He said how everyone wishes they just said one more thing to those people who passed away, just one more time to say what you feel.  He wrote the song right after John had been killed.

He came out for two encores.  I savored every minute, knowing that it would probably be my last time I would ever see him live.  I was in absolute awe of his energy, his song selection, his backup band, his charm, his Beatleness.  I was so happy to hear songs that he said he never played in public, such as Sgt. Pepper songs and songs from later years (they stopped touring after the 1966 shows).  It was so nice to hear the songs played so close to the originals, with a full band, synthesizers, etc.  Sometimes I like variation and jamming, but with the Beatles songs, I wanted to hear them as they were on the albums, as I remembered them.  The guitarists did an excellent job staying true and harmonizing as John and George would have done.  The drummer stayed true to Ringo’s sound and added his own touches.  The keyboardist (part of his original Wings band) did the rest and kept the sound alive and true. 

I really can’t get over how amazing this concert was.  I’ll never see its equal.  It’s all downhill from here!  There is absolutely no comparison.  Paul truly rules Rock-n-Roll!  Long Live Paul!

August 4, 2010 Posted by | 2002, Music, Paul McCartney | , , , | 1 Comment