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They Might Be Loud

Today: the wrap-up of the Stern Grove Festival, and the first weekend that I wound up making it there. jai_dit advised me to go early, as they would be going early, and a half-hour before I'd planned on leaving, I got the hunch that I should be leaving NOW. So I left ASAP, and wound up having a charmed-timing transit. Though I did get off a stop early. By the time I got down to the concert area, the stone seating terraces were already all blanketed off by early arrivals. I found a promising-looking spot in the second dirt terrace, with the first row of logs, and set up my camp chair and laid out my blanket to claim some space for the boys. There was a tree just to the left of us, but I figured that was not a problem -- we could still see the stage. (This photo is now my phone's new wallpaper.)

TREE on Twitpic

Much later in the day, someone eventually stowed a stroller behind the tree, and a couple squeezed in between us and the knitter next door, even though I'm sure they could barely see anything.

Back in the early part of the day, as I was getting myself situated, a couple interesting-looking people set up on the terrace below me; I complimented one of the guys on his Homsar shirt. People began to set up; there was a sound check. "What do you want us to do?" asked some guy with a light blue guitar. "We'll just play a song, then." They launched into it, and I was surprised and pleased to recognize "Experimental Film", and I realized, upon recognizing his voice singing, that this must be John! And that must be John! The sound check was greeted with cheers and applause. There were announcements about the OMG CROWD that was expected (call your friends! Make sure they come early so they can join you!) and about how unauthorized recordings (audio/video/pictures) were not permitted.

The boys showed up somewhat later; JD was surprised by the turnout. It just kept getting more and more crowded. I was glad I'd come when I did. I was having a marvelous time already, just from hanging out and soaking in the ambiance. The party below us had brownies -- without anything interesting, the baker disclaimed while sharing with the rest of their party; they wandered into a discussion about any possible situations where a brownie could be shared without any possible need for this disclaimer. "An elementary school bake sale!" I chimed in from my position in the peanut gallery. I shared sangria; they shared brownies.

Most of the time, Foursquare checkins from my friends are low-level noise. This time, I saw that pyrogenic had checked in to the festival too. I texted him. In a few exchanges, we had located each other ("Turn around and wave.") and I invited him and his friend down to join us; we could scootch and make room for more.

They were happy to join us: it was a better view, it was a larger party, and Josh's friend turned out to know one of the people in the party below us, so we became one large and cheerful group. It was particularly apt and awesome, because Josh was the one who introduced me to TMBG -- the first time I ever heard them was at Great Amusement in the Cold Wind, when "Birdhouse In Your Soul" came on, and Josh cheered and moshed across the field. (ADHD. Medication holiday. An entire pack of Oreos, and *lots* of cotton candy and snow-cones. He was out of his tree. It was amazing fun.) Josh and JD bonded over games. teshiron hid in his hoodie. JD accidentally sat on some cheese.

The opening act was Rogue Wave, and they were pleasant and exciting. Josh's friend is apparently really into them.

When they went off, there was an intermission for swapover. I ran (well, hobbled) to the ladies' room, making sure to get my hand stamped again. (Both stamps have since disintegrated to an inky blur. The second stamp looks like a bruise.) I made good use of my time in line and combed the snarls out of my long silken tresses. The wait was not so bad, and I was back up with the party before TMBG came on.

I did not even try to keep track of the set list. Someone, or several someones, will have; the results will wind up getting posted on This Might Be a Wiki's page for today's show, at some point. There were many high points. I wound up headbanging for a bit (and got dizzy and had to sit down). With waist-length hair, this is a bit of a Thing. They played Spider at one point; within a 5 minute window of that, I realized that there was a spider in my hair. I found this absolutely hilarious, and blew the spider out unharmed (I was unharmed, and it was just a really good day). There were a lot of good songs. Josh had wanted to hear "Dr. Worm". He got his wish. At one point a bubble was flying overhead; I blew at it; it swirled and separated into two bubbles. This was entirely accidental but got me some approval from those around. At one point one of the Johns mentioned that they were growing woozy from the secondhand smoke. Indeed, there was quite a bit of it, this being Stern Grove Festival. They played "We Live In A Dump". I like that one a lot. There was patter about how they are from New York, and thrive on New York hostility; California is way too mellow and loving.

They peered up into the far reaches of the grove, and saw that there were people going about as far back as could be seen. This picture is from early on, before the crowd actually arrived and got things crowded.

Huge crowd extending uphill at Stern Grove, becoming lost among the trees

John addressed us as Ewoks, and mentioned that he had never considered old growth redwood forests as being a potential hazard for concertgoers before. We were Ewoks for the rest of the show.

They said they were done, and trooped off. There was applause until they returned. They played another set.

They ultimately closed with "Triangle Man" -- perfect end to a perfect concert.

I took the shuttle back up the hill, and stood in the wrong bus line for a while before I got in the right one; it did take a while for another one to come, and then there were 3 right after each other, the first two jam-packed full. I sat in my car at the station a little while before driving home, and again in the garage before unloading. So tired. So giddy and cheerful.

Crossposted. comment count unavailable comments.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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