Saturday, July 1, 2017

Summerfest Day Three Recap

Nice to see the Voors festing
Day three of Summerfest was planned to be a quiet one. I figured I'd visit for a few hours, check out a few bands and head home early. I arrived the grounds alone, but my wife was going to join me after she finished up her 'Milwacky' tour -- a tour with people that included some of Milwaukee's more off-beat places. I took my Harley to the fest and boy, does it come with benefits. Between my motorcycle and the main entrance gate there were only three other motorcycles. Much closer and I would have been parked on the grounds!

Started the afternoon by wandering a bit. My first stop was at the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage where I caught the last song by Madison's Wheelhouse. They crescendoed with a rousing version of 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia.' Funny, we caught this band playing in the street in Wisconsin Dells a month ago and they played to an audience of about twenty people max. But yesterday they packed the venue and the crowd was enthusiastic and rowdy. Wheelhouse really walloped them with Americana precision.
The Devil Met Contention

Shortly after leaving the World Sound Stage I ran into Dan and Leah Voors and their beautiful baby girl, Liana. What a cute and curious little one. She had that knowing I'm-just-taking-it-all-in-while-mom-and-dad-push-me-around-in-this-stroller smile. Almost with a wink and a "Don't tell them I know how to walk already" message.

I walked south with the Voors and caught up with them outside of what we see from each other on Facebook. Then I boogied back to the World Sound Stage to catch one of my favorite new Milwaukee bands: The Devil Met Contention (TDMC). TDMC plays a version of Americana music that is infused with a rock 'n' roll  vibe and often their songs include a blazing guitar solo or two. I particularly like that they wear nicely tailored suits to perform in. Good thing for them it wasn't too hot yesterday.

After TDMC, I met up with my old colleague and now good friend, John, and his wife Jenny. If there's one thing we have in common it's the love of a cold beer. Doesn't necessarily matter what type -- as long as it's cold and in a glass, we like it. As I was sharing a libation with them, my wife arrived. At this point I thought we'd stick around for a bit and then head home before all of the crazies arrived.

Unexpectedly heading to see
Paul Simon with this
motley crew. 
But, no. Instead, we got the text, "I've got two Paul Simon tickets. If you want them, they're yours" from a friend. And we wanted them. So, just like that, we were now going to see the legendary Paul Simon at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater (this name is not sticking -- I still want to call it the Marcus Amphitheater).

It was a great show. Whenever you get a chance to see an icon like Paul Simon you gotta take it. His catalog of songs is so enormous he could play all night. In his roughly two-hour show he played songs from all over his career, but only two or three from his days with Art Garfunkel. It's funny, here's an artist who has hit the top more than once. First in his days performing as a folk duo, and then years later with his African-vibed 'Graceland' album. And at 75 years old, he still looks like he could go on easily for another decade or more. His voice and playing style were as smooth as ever and I'm really glad we got the chance to see him play.

Paul Simon in Concert
Attending Paul's show reminds of a screed for another day and that is cell phone usage at concerts. I cannot believe the inconsideration folks have for others with these devices in their little grubby hands. The woman next to me practically facebooked the entire night and I can't believe the number of people who were videoing not just the stage but the television monitors of what was going on on the stage! Ridiculous. Nobody wants to watch your grainy video from 42 rows back from the stage. Just put down your effin' phone and enjoy the concert. 'nuf said. (P.S. -- I do admit to taking out my phone or camera and snapping a shot or two, but just for a moment and only long enough to capture the event for my rapidly fading memory.)

We finally left the grounds but not before seeing the final song by British siren Joss Stone. Man, her voice I tell ya. It's unmistakable from 100 yards away. It was good to see and hear her, only if for just a few minutes.

All in all, another great day at the fest. Today's going to be a challenge. We've got another event to attend and family's coming in from out of town. Plus it's Burnheart's Pabst Street Party today too. One way or another I'll get there for at least an hour and once I do, who knows what'll happen!

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