Queens of the Stone Age

Soundgarden in The Gorge

Saturday was the show at The Gorge Amphitheater. We packed up some essentials and headed into the desert for the hour and a half long drive to the venue. It was a sunny HOT HOT day! Like 97 I think? Michael and I packed a ton of bottled water to take into the venue (it was allowed) and I had a plan to suck it down as often as possible. Sitting in the sun at The Gorge can be detrimental if you are prone to heat stroke or get easily sunburned (like me).

I slathered on sunscreen and brought a hat to stay shaded. We arrived at the venue and decided to splurge and buy the VIP parking. I’ve been to The Gorge to see two concerts before — Tom Petty and Dave Matthews Band–and the worst part about the experience was at the end of the night. Having to battle the thousands of people trying to leave the parking lot all at the same time is a nightmare. If I remember correctly it took over 2 hours just to get out of the parking lot the last time I was there. So the splurge for VIP parking was definitely worth the $40!

We got into the venue and headed to the VIP lounge that came with our VIP parking. I got a glass of wine and Michael got a whiskey and coke — $18! I almost had a heart attack when the bartender told me how much it was. The cost + the idea of sitting in the sun drinking did not appeal to me so I stopped after the glass of wine.

After a drink we left the lounge and found a spot to spread out the blankets.

The Meat Puppets played first. Growing up in Seattle in the height of the Grunge Era I loved hearing the Meat Puppets! It was a nice flashback to my teens.

It’s funny because when you’re not drinking, it’s easy to notice how obnoxious certain types of drunks are. There were lots of middle-aged folks recapturing their youth at the concert–plus a ton of super drunk, super obnoxious frat guys without shirts shouting. Aw, rock concerts!

Next up was Mastadon. Michael and his friend Jeremy went down to the mosh pit for the show. Jeremy’s friend Amy and I hung out at the blankets and chit-chatted for their set. I wouldn’t say I am a huge fan of Mastadon but they sounded great live and I recognized a few of their songs.

Next up was Queens of the Stone Age. They are Amy’s favorite band so her and Jeremy went down to the mosh pit for their set. I went down for a little while to get some photos. The Saturday night set of Queens was MUCH better! They played all of their hits and they sounded great!

Queens of the Stone Age

There was a break for awhile and we all hung out (me slugging water and making my way to the bathroom a million times). Another bonus of the VIP parking pass: it got us into the VIP lounge bathrooms! The lines for those port-a-potties were nonexistent compared to the huge line for the “general admission”! Totally worth the $40!

Soundgarden was up next and we all agreed we wanted to head down to the mosh pit to see it up close. We packed up our stuff and headed into the pit of darkness.

Soundgarden came on and they sounded AMAZING.

I wouldn’t say I was a huge Soundgarden fan back in the 90’s. Growing up in Seattle I was way into the Grunge scene but I preferred Nirvana, Hole, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. I did like Soundgarden a lot but I just never went to any of their concerts. So it was rather strange to be standing in a mosh pit at age 31 to see Soundgarden!

Chris Cornell put on a great show. He is quite the the front man. He was engaging and talked to the audience. He shared memories of past Gorge concerts.

He saw someone in the front row filming him with their iPhone and he took the phone from the guy, made the audience shout stuff so it could record and then he gave it back to the guy. I bet that guy was ready to die on the spot because Chris Cornell recorded from the stage with his phone! I’m going to have to look online for that video. I’m sure it will surface somewhere!

The show was so fantastic! They played ALL of the old favorites which is what I really wanted to hear. It was so fun to sing along to the hits.

The show was wrapping up and Michael had been keeping track of all the hits they played and didn’t think they’d play any others (he was right) so we started to trek back to the VIP parking lot. The band played one more song and then they were done (and it wasn’t a song that I recognized). By the time the last song was done we were at our car and ready to head back.

We got out of the parking lot in record time and were on the road missing all of the venue traffic! Score! VIP parking for the WIN. Michael drove us back to Yakima–which is a terrifying drive in the middle of the night because you can’t see anything but you saw all the cliffs in the daylight driving there!

When we got back to the hotel room I reheated the leftover Mexican food in the microwave and we shared the mediocre food in bed while we watched some horrible Sci-Fi movie. 🙂 It was a nice night and a great show!

QUESTION: What was your favorite concert?

Brews and Queens

After biking 30 miles in the sunshine we decided the next best thing was to drink beer in the sunshine! Michael and I headed downtown to meet up with our friends at the Oregon Brewfest on the waterfront. We parked across the river and walked the 1.25 miles or so across the Hawthorne Bridge and somehow managed to find out posse in the throng of people.

Usually we go to the Brewfest on Friday (it’s always the last full weekend in July) but this year we weren’t going to be able to do that so we bumped it to Thursday. We thought that would be a good idea–beat the crowds! Unfortunately I think everyone else in Portland had the same idea because when we got there it was PACKED. Like Friday evening packed. I was shocked.

Michael was ready to eat someone’s arm so the first thing on the agenda was food. I was happy to oblige because I knew I was teetering on the edge of “Crazy Hunger Freak” too after our 30 mile bike ride. I surveyed the options and got a lamb gyro that was dripping in sauce. It totally hit the spot.

Michael grabbed a hot dog from the Gustav’s tent and I think we ate our lunches in seconds flat. Next up: tasting.

$20 gets you one mug and 14 tokens for beer tasting.

It was so good to hang out with friends! Michael’s old roommate Shoe joined us and it’s always good to hang out with him.

My friend Greg met up with us after he got off work.

Michael’s friend Jeremy was there with us and he brought his friends who were visiting from England and Ireland. His friend Max also brought Voodoo Donuts! He’s definitely a keeper. 🙂 (Michael and I split a donut.)

I ran into some old coworkers and friends, plus my friend Robyn was there! It was clearly the place to be on a Thursday afternoon! I like it.

So how was the beet this year? This is I think the third year I’ve been going to this event and I think last year was by far the best–we had a great time, lots of friends joined us and the beer was exceptional. This year’s selections of beers didn’t really stand out for me. I can’t name one beer that I MUST TRY AGAIN.

There were a lot of beers that I enjoyed. (Boulder Beer Co Hoola Pale Ale; Eel River Brewing Co Organic IPA; Laurelwood Brewing Co Organic Pale Ale; Mad River Brewing Jamaica Sunrise ESB)

And quite a few that I did not like at all. (Pelican Pub & Brewery Ankle Buster Belgian Ale; Surly Brewing Hell; Anderson Valley Brewing Summer Cream Ale; Bison Brewing Co Honey Basil Ale)


But nothing really caught my fancy. I did branch out and try some things I wouldn’t normally try. For example, ESB (Extra Strong Bitters) are not really my thing. But I tried the Mad River Brewing Jamaica Sunrise ESB  and was surprised at how lovely it was.

After the Brewfest we walked back across the Hawthorne Bridge to get happy hour dinner at Clarklewis. BOY was there a change since the last time we were there. It was only a few months ago and we had such good service and outstanding food. Thursday night? Not so much. The service was lame, the waitress screwed up several of our orders–including not bringing out a friend’s order at ALL and then forgetting to remove the charge from the bill. The food was lackluster at best.

The mac n’ cheese was just okay. The burger was so overcooked I almost didn’t want to finish it, but we didn’t have time to send it back for another. I am so so disappointed. Did they change chefs? What happened to the delicious restaurant we went to in March?!

After dinner we headed to the Roseland on Burnside to see Queens of the Stone Age. Because dinner took longer than expected we missed the opening band, which several of us wanted to see.

The show was really good. The crowd was energetic, the music sounded great. The Queens of the Stone Age are definitely a fun band to see live. And the nice thing about concerts at the Roseland Theatre is that they are very intimate. You can get pretty close to the bands. I’ve seen a bunch of shows there and they are always fun.

Even though the band was great live, the day was fun and the company was nice, I was utterly exhausted by the time we got to the show. 30 miles on the bike, lots and lots of walking and drinking beer in the sunshine = a sleepy Lisa.

So the fact that the show was early and ended by 9:30 was no problem for me! All I wanted to do was go home and crawl into bed!

QUESTION: What’s your favorite summer beer right now? Are there any annual traditions in your neck of the woods?