Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Goose is Loose!

Fantastic weekend in Vegas. Took a long cab ride to JFK to board my JetBlue flight to Vegas on Friday. Still felt pretty miserable but slept the entire flight. Landed in the desert and hopped in the cab line where Annabel immediately jumped on me. Caught up with her while sharing a cab to the Alexis Park. Long line to check in, but my politeness to the clerk yielded me a free upgrade to a room with a jacuzzi and a fireplace.

Soaked in the jacuzzi for a while and napped, which helped me feel immensely better. Met Beth and Amy in the lobby and was revitalized by their slap-happiness. Played with their one-eyed stuffed animals, Hans and Choctopuss (the latter was named by me). Went to dinner at Mr. Lucky's at the Hard Rock. Waited for me people to arrive--slowly trickled in one by one--Jill, Russ, Deanne. Hung with Doug and then drove to The Hotel to set up for Russ's surprise birthday party. People started arriving--first came Dan (whose actual birthday it was), Dana and Jordan. Then the Alexis Park crew, and finally Adam!! A short stint at the craps table (nary a roller hit the point--sigh). Back to the hotel for some sleep.

Woke up bright and early with another Jambase addition in the room. Bummed a ride with Andrew Warren, Dee, Scott and Kayceman. Made the rounds at the festival grounds, sucking down Smart Water like it was my job. Still weak on the feat, spent a lot of time in the shade and sitting down. Highlights--Toubab Krewe, Gomez, Cat Power, MMW with Maceo (Slade saw me on the webcast!), Raconteurs, Black Crowes (sat in the photo pit 3 feet from Chris Robinson). Didn't quite get the Mars Volta and was pretty bored by the Killers--but I did smile like I meant it. Scored a free pair of Crocs that kept my feet nice and comfy.

Left before Petty to catch a quick nap back at the hotel. Adam and Dee woke me up around midnight and we hopped a cab to the Orleans to see Phil and Trey. Got to hang with Cory Swindle and danced to a fun Ghost->Cryptical->Other One->Dark Star->Drifting. What's not to like!? Left the show during the second set to lose more money at the craps table, this time with Andy Gadiel. Shared a cab home with Shari Beth and passed out around 5, which was really 6 (I hate you, lack of daylight savings time!), which was really 9.

Sunday morning, bright and early again. Rode in with Jambase just in time to see Band of Horses (thanks, Alyson, for that half a sandwich), who were awesome, followed by Built to Spill, who also ruled, despite some sound problems (Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup was a highlight). The Rhythm Devils played a fun New Speedway Boogie while we were riding the ferris wheel and Phil and Trey rocked out with Shakedown, Like a Rolling Stone and Help->Slip->Frank.

But nothing during the weekend came close to the Jim James set. Steph, Jill and I staked out a good spot 5 people deep from the stage, dead center. Jim played with Carl (from MMJ), who spent most of his time on the slide guitar. They came out on stage with an axe and a sledgehammer and promised that by the end of the show, the 8 jackolanters at the front of the stage would be smashed. They went through 17 songs, spanning MMJ's whole catalogue--Old September Blues, Butch Cassidy, The Bear, Nashville to Kentucky off of Tennessee Fire, The Way that he Sings, Bermuda Highway, Hopefully off of At Dawn, Just One Thing, Golden and Dancefloors off of It Still Moves, and Gideon, Wordless Chorus and What a Wonderful Man from Z.

Golden and Gideon were just spectacular. Jim can hit the high notes perfectly EVERY single time--it's really something special. Right before Wordless Chorus, the bleed from the Roots to the left and Widespread Panic to the right was pretty bad, so Jim asked us (and himself) to imagine being isolated in a sound forest--trees all around, and just to focus on the music coming out of the right speaker (the left one didn't want to work). It was very easy to get lost in his voice. But Dancefloors was truly the most transcendant moment. Steph and I were going crazy (and the only ones singing the responsive "Oh I know") as Jim's pristine voice and perfect guitar playing soared high above one of the best hip hop acts and one of the best souther jam rock bands.

The rest of the weekend was lowkey--chill dinner at Mr. Lucky's with Dan, Steph and Jill, then some hanging with those two ladies and a quick cameo at the ReapAndSow Superunloader concert at the Paradise Cantina.

Easy flight back to NYC and life was good. Rode home in Junior with Dee and said goodbye to another perfect festival. Excellent weekend--kudos to Superfly. I'm the only person to ever leave vegas healthier and feeling better than when I landed.

"daybreak. nightfall. long as I believe
there ain't nothing glowin like this skin you're showin
and the keys you gave to me"


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