Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Independence Day Weekend, Part Two

I showed my gratitude for having Friday off by sleeping in, lounging, and having brunch. The four of us (RBQ + R) left Chicago in the late afternoon and drove to Wisconsin, where we dropped off Rachel at her house, checked out her lake, got Taco Bell, and finally made it to Madison.

We had dinner, drinks, and Mario Kart at Quinn's house and Bailey and I put together jalapeno poppers for grilling the next day at Dave-gating. We had a small jalapeno burn emergency when Bailey scratched her nose post chop, causing her face to turn bright red and tears to stream from her eyes. Several google searches and remedy failures (milk, vinegar, tomato) later, we discovered olive oil dissolved the harmful juice and lessened the burn.

We went out that night to a friend's apartment, and later to State Street Brats, where we made it upstairs in time to get some dancing in. Bailey and I crashed in Quinn's bed afterwards, leaving Quinn with his futon and his roommate's dog, Viva.

Saturday morning, I woke up to Viva pawing her way onto the bed. I took her outside and she did her business, but then I decided maybe she wanted to go for a walk as well. Quinn and I couldn't find a leash, so we looped a jump rope through her collar and set out towards downtown. Viva loved exploring along the way, but it was hot out and she got tired quickly. Quinn let her rest while I got iced coffee, and she flopped down on the ground as soon as we got home.

Mom and Dad arrived not long after, their car full of tailgating and concert supplies. We loaded and unloaded the car until everyone and everything fit, then picked up Rachel and made it to Dave with a full afternoon of family time & snacks ahead of us.

Even though we had Premier Parking, we were still sardined in with tons of other concert-goers and Dave-gaters. We claimed a small shady area on the outskirts of the parking lot and played games while Dad grilled burgers and jalapeno poppers. Luckily we had plenty of drinks because when the sun beat down, it beat down. I wouldn't have minded if it had rained, but we had only clear skies and 90 degree heat.

Concert time coincided with the sun going down. Alpine Valley is beautiful at dusk--the sun sets behind the lawn/hill that forms the arena, reflecting off the stage. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals opened. She's the whole reason we went to Dave in the first place; she's one of Dad's favorites to listen to, especially Sunday mornings when he makes breakfast.

Then it was time for Dave. For the uninformed, Dave is Dave Matthews/Dave Matthews Band (Dave himself is awesome, but the rest of the guys are essential). I was late to the DMB Train growing up--I didn't really start listening until my junior/senior year of college. My good friend Marina re-introduced me to DMB and they got me through several breakups, finals, finals, final papers, graduation/real life stress, and rough days at work when I first started at Mercy.

A Dave concert is no walk in the park--we didn't get out of the arena until close to midnight, after an encore that included three songs and lasted 40 minutes. There's something magical about their on-stage jam sessions. When you've toured together for the past two decades, you know your bandmates and can embark on intricate improvisational solos, trusting everyone will be there for you, playing the same key, when you get back to the melody of the song. Even with an audience of thousands, it still feels special to listen to that sort of musical experimentation and communication.

I'm going to stop proselytizing, but just know that this has been a week of Dave-drawal for me. I'm youtubing concerts and going on DMB-only binges. I spent the entire bus ride from Madison to Chicago listening through part of my Dave library. Luckily my roommates have been out of the apartment for most of this--they don't share my love.

Dave was the last big hurrah of our mini family vacation/reunion. We stayed in Madison Saturday night, and the five of us did church and brunch Sunday morning before parting ways until the next time. Yay family time!

family selfie

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