01 July 2006

Summer Solstice Concert

Overlapping band schedules and concert appearances. How much live music can you take? Holllly cannolli . . . it's difficult to select the right show when more than one is occurring at the same time.

So far, the BEST show we've been to this year was Elvis Costello and Alan Toussaint & The Crescent City Horns --- at The Mountain Winery June 21s
t --- touring in support of "The River in Reverse". We paid the $10 and didn't drive to the top of the hill to get parking nearest the entrance. Rather, we stayed near the bottom of the parking hill and backed into a space. Makes for a quicker exit. After the show, pedestrians are always faster than cars.
There really isn't a bad seat in the entire venue --- for viewing. I don't believe the acoustical value is as great when seated in the boxes or the bleachers at the left and right of the stage. I've sat in the side bleachers before. We lucked out and scored middle seat tickets from some nice folks on CL. Save $100 on the pair.

It was a little hot as we arrived, and I was sticking to my chair. Luckily, our seat neighbors on either side of us arrived 1/4 into the performance. Elvis was wearing a black suit and he didn't look cool until after the sun ducked behind the hill and the cool breeze began and the butterflies left the grapevines of the winery and joined us in our seats. For 150 minutes, we were granted auditory access to fantastic remixes of Elvis hits + some Elvis infused into great Toussaint hits. The horn section + organ + piano brought new texture to songs we all know by heart. Even the Pointer Sisters' hit "Yes We Can Can" flowed effortlessly across the audience. Midway through the show, Elvis got everyone on their feet and since we sat behind some Chewbacca wannabe, my companion decided we should grab a cold drink and view the remainder of the show from the back of the seats / over the tops of everyone's heads. From that distance, the band is smaller, but you can still see their expressions clearly.
Many of the new songs are at once edgy in protest of the White House's response to Hurricane Katrina & warm in a celebration of the delicate and precious qualities of life. The music was crisp, flawless, and balanced. I'm sorry we didn't see them headlining at April's Heritage Jazz Fest in NOLA, but I'm very happy that we made it to Saratoga. This year's finest, for certain.


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