About six months ago Matt was scanning the upcoming concerts in Colorado (this is an activity that is mostly banned in our house, because it wouldn't take much for us to ditch IRAs and college savings plans and car payments and spend all our money going to shows) and noticed that The Avett Brothers were headed back to Red Rocks, and did I want to go?
Uhm, let me think about it... YES, OBVIOUSLY. Except for we have these children and Colorado is a whole 'nother state away and we don't know if we can guarantee a babysitter that far out... after much handwringing on my part about whether or not we could pull it off we decided to go ahead and buy some good tickets (The Ebay King knows how to do such things) and hope for the best. It would be a belated anniversary gift, since we spent our anniversary otherwise engaged. The tickets arrived and went up on the mantel in my craft room; I might have counted the days down a few times, and had a small panic when the wind must have blown them off one afternoon and I couldn't find them for a whole ten minutes. As in, who broke in and stole (only) our Avett Brothers tickets? Ahem.
Our History With The Avett Brothers
Matt very snarkily loves to point out that I didn't like the first Avett Brothers song I heard back in 2006, which came on our Paste CD sampler when we lived in Colorado Springs. As much as I wish it wasn't a true story, it is; the song was Talk on Indolence and the first time I heard it I might have put my hands over my ears because of all the yelling. What is this punk bluegrass nonsense, I might have thought to myself?
Crow. Lots and lots of crow. I love this song and all its punk bluegrass nonsense now, and every song that came thereafter when I gave them another chance. I must have been in a really bad mood that day. Or something. Now, we own just about every Avett Brothers album one can buy. I might not have loved them from the very first note like I can claim with other favorites (Ben Folds, I'm talking to you) but I love them with an intensity that makes up for it now. : ) We both do. They are earnest musicians, who love what they do so much that you can't help being earnest about them.
Oh, Red Rocks, how do we love thee? Red Rocks Amphitheater is by far the most fun place to see concerts, anywhere. It is a natural amphitheater that has been a concert venue since the early 1900s; downtown Denver and its accompanying sprawl is visible off in the distance, and you can monitor about seven different weather patterns all at once. We've seen two shows there together before children (Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Blues Traveler) and Matt saw Alice in Chains* there with our concert pal Monte sometime in the last two years. We were actively trying not to fear for our lives during the Big Head Todd show; when you can see every streak of lightning for miles and miles creeping closer and closer it is a little disconcerting. But also a little cool.
I did not take my camera to the show (she says with a bit of a pout) because even though Red Rocks allows cameras, they are a little vague on the kind of camera you bring in; I didn't want to have to climb all the way back down to the parking lot area to return my removable lens camera just in case they were feeling strict. However, there are tons of cool photos of Red Rocks here in case you want to check it out.
My longtime scrapbooking pal Lisa Dickinson also had tickets to the show; that afternoon she emailed to make sure I had her number so I could text her my location and we could finally meet in person (she only lives 80 miles or so away, but we still haven't had the opportunity to meet up for lunch). The show was sold out, which means maybe 10,000 people were there? Guess who I saw in the the line for the restroom before the show, before anyone texted anyone? Lisa. : ) Now we can say we've officially met, if only for a few moments.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were the opening act; we coincidentally watched some sort of documentary on them last year so it was fun to see them live. They're good—Grace can sing. We were a little startled by the man a few seats away who appeared to be the #1 Grace Potter Super Fan in the Universe; he was also very chatty and in between songs, told Matt good snippets of his life story including the part about how he had never heard of Grace Potter before that night. Huh. Luckily, he also didn't have a reserved ticket so after she was done, he took his Super Fan dancing back to the general admission area. The rain thankfully stopped and we watched the clouds finally roll through (it was off and on kind of like the sky might be during the apocalpyse in and around Denver on Saturday night).
Just before the show began some Red Rocks bigwig inducted John Denver into the Red Rocks Hall of Fame, which was an exceedingly neat thing to be present for—John Denver sold out Red Rocks 19 times in his lifetime, and was a significant influence on both Matt's and my love of music growing up. His daughter was on hand to receive the award. The Avett Brothers were introduced by Governor Hickenlooper, which struck me as very funny, but apparently he is something of a Super Fan himself so was very enthused to introduce them. They came out and played two straight hours; my creepy Smiling Disorder was about as out of control as it's ever been throughout the whole thing.
For my reference, the set list that was posted after the show:
1. Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise 2. Tin Man 3. Go to Sleep 4. Colorshow 5. January Wedding 6. Shame 7. Paranoia in B-Flat Major 8. It's Good to Be Back Home Again [John Denver cover] 9. The Fall 10. Kick Drum Heart [w/ long breakdown jam at the end] 11. Murder in the City [daughter / son] 12. Never Been Alive 13. And It Spread 14. I Killed Sally's Lover 15. Distraction #74 16. The Prettiest Thing [David Childers cover] 17. In the Curve 18. The Once and Future Carpenter 19. Pretty Girl from Cedar Lane 20. Talk on Indolence [w/ Scott throwing flowers into the crowd during the outro] 21. I and Love and You 22. Will You Return
ENCORE BREAK 23. Blue Ridge Mountain Blues 24. Laundry Room
They're really, really good. I'm so glad we were able to pull it off.
1. The scaffolding came down at our next door neighbors-to-the-right today, which means HAPPY DAY, no more workers in our space (they've been in our space dropping nails in our yard and singing badly to loud radio since the first week of May; they're still working on our street, but we can't SEE them unless we're outside now, and this is a major improvement). I am not anti-construction or renovation in any way, I'm just weary of this particular batch of slow-moving workers. And their dropped nails and off-key voices.
2. Tomorrow! Tomorrow Matt and I see The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks. We are just a teensy bit excited. (!!!!!!) If you are keeping track, this is the second of the Dillow Summer Concert Series. I bet you can't guess the third act. Heh.
Today I solved the mystery of the anonymous Cafe Press gift by emailing Cafe Press and asking them who sent it. (Clever, eh?) The customer service guy who responded told me he couldn't tell me the name exactly, but he could give me clues (this is actually what he said). He went on to provide two clues (initials and shipping city) which solved the mystery immediately. This struck me as very funny, this employee and his clues : )
4. Don't let the scary earring stretcher and lip piercing (you can't see it in the picture) alarm you: this is, hands down, the best swimming instructor we've ever had. Perhaps you remember the disaster that swimming lessons for Gracie have been in the past, but that's all old history now. This guy? He is fantastic. All three girls are taking lessons this summer and they all started in his class; Maddie moved on after the first session and pouted that she couldn't have him again, and Gracie and Bridget are going underwater and floating and bobbing and kicking like little fishes. What a difference the instructor makes in water confidence and skill-building, let me tell you.
5. We actually went to Frontier Park (vs. watching fireworks from home or in a field) this year for 4th of July; Tops in Blue performed first—the girls loved it. LOVED it. If you have a chance to see them perform (it's free!) we would recommend it highly. Their schedule reads as if they are performing in every city in the universe, so there's a good chance they might be coming to a town near you. Interesting note: Abby and Wes went with us, and I knew almost every single song they sang save for maybe two; Wes knew every line to one of the ones I had never heard of, which was some disco song about leaving a cake out in the rain. Apparently, it is very famous. Huh.
Apparently, I missed that one.
6. I had the worst run ever tonight. I hear this happens when you start to run more, the worst-run-ever-phenomena. Bright side: there is actually some compare and contrast going on, vs. every run being the worst run ever!
7. The girls said goodbye to three sets of base friends in June. There are many, many empty houses at the moment and we're hoping they will be filled with friendly children of complementary personalities. : )
A few weeks ago at Superday Gracie discovered tractors. She asked me if she could go ask the farmer (rancher?) if she could sit on his tractor; it did not appear that this was an option, but she was so determined I told her to go ahead. She waited and waited for him to finish a conversation with another farmer (rancher?) type, and then very boldly and politely asked permission to be hoisted up there. He was absolutely overjoyed with the prospect, and chatted with her about tractors for a while.
Bridget wanted in on the fun, too.
As did Maddie. Too bad we aren't people with ready access to tractors, farming, or ranching.
9. Frontier Days is just around the corner. Not only are Grandma and Grandpa coming again, but there will be a special session of Camp Dillow-Karahalis, where the Dillow children introduce the Karahalis children to rodeo. It will be fun : )
10. I am officially going to declare July 13 as the day I believe my new niece (who will not be named Flora Alice Pershey) will be born. It is already Katherine's birthday and their anniversary... seems like a good day for a new baby, too!
Thanks to everyone for playing along! I really, really, really hope you'll consider taking Design Challenges even if you didn't win here—it's going to be a lot of fun! Registration stays open until July 13 if you decide to jump in! If you want to try your luck again there are two active giveaways that end in the evening of July 7; one is on the Big Picture Classes Facebook page and the other is on the Ella Publishing Co. blog.
Looking for a just-right-paced class full of challenges for the summer? My new Big Picture class, Design Challenges, starts on Thursday, July 7 and I have two seats to give away today if you haven't registered yet (and if you haven't, well, what are you waiting for?!?) If you've already registered you could always win a seat to give to a friend—challenges are best shared, so the more the merrier : ) I know it's tricky to scrapbook in the summer when there are a thousand other things + a certain amount of laziness to squeeze in, but a class like this will give you the perfect amount of motivation to get a small stack of layouts done and still enjoy the sun! (Or the winter. Don't want to leave out the Aussies).
Click here for more information about the class. I'll leave comments open until sometime Wednesday evening so you'll be ready to go on Thursday for the first day!
We've been wanting to get over to the base cemetery to walk around for a really long time—tonight was the night. Having grown up visiting multiple cemeteries on an annual basis, I am not at all spooked by such adventures, even when we live in a house that is supposedly haunted. (The way we see it, we haven't had any problems with ghosts because they figured out how much we love our house and are leaving us alone).
The cemetery is very small and has been closed to new burials for a few years. Most of the gravestones in the first section don't include dates, which seems very strange. The variety of people buried here is huge; so many children (1956 and 1963 seem to have been terrible years for child mortality, but I haven't been able to find the reason why yet). We were on the lookout for the grave of a two year old boy who died at Ft. Laramie in the 1800s but was moved to this cemetery, but we didn't locate it tonight. Next time.
One of many graves of army band members.
One of the oldest graves we spotted tonight....
...and to me, one of the saddest ones I saw; though I can't imagine the tragedy of losing a baby within the first week of birth, there is something uniquely heartbreaking to me about losing an almost three year old girl. On a happier note, though, I think Flora Alice Pershey would make a wonderful name for my new niece who will be born this month. Yes?
In the back of the cemetery we saw this strange, fenced in area; it turned out to be graves of WWII prisoners of war (one Italian, the rest German) who apparently died in Cheyenne. Their graves are just as well kept as the rest of the cemetery, but the division is clear.
We were so glad we went to see this section last, because we let ourselves out of the cemetery by the side gate and started to walk home across the field when we realized we couldn't cross the creek/drainage ditch or whatever it was. As we stood there for a minute figuring this all out, we caught this:
click the image to enlarge it...
OH MY GOSH! We all stopped and froze and counted—16 babies total, running at breakneck speed. I took picture after picture, kicking myself that my long lens was 400 yards away at the house; all things considered, though, I am so glad I had a camera at all because I might have kicked myself unconscious had I missed this one entirely.
They stopped just across the creek to stare; mama in front was stamping her foot a little bit and making huffy head gestures, while mama on the side was grabbing a snack. I think we all know which mama that baby on the street belongs to. Ha. After watching for another minute, we headed back home.