Quite possibly one of the most beautiful out door venues you will ever go to is the Gorge in eastern Washington. I know, I just got back from there for a Dave Matthews Band concert, and let me tell you nothing prepares you for when you first climb that hill within the venue and you gaze upon this vast area of land that nature has carved out over millions of years. It was my first time to the gorge, it will not be my last.
First off, let's just say that the entire area is unlike anything I have experienced in northwestern Washington, and it really showed me how diverse this state actually is, and I'm not talking ethnically. Most of northwestern Washington is cold and rainy, and the mountains in the east form jagged peaks, however there's also Mt. Rainer and Mt. Baker which are larger and much smoother looking then what you can see to the east around Pilchuck.
Eastern Washington on the other hand seemed very flat and desert-like, as we were on the other side of the mountains. It was much warmer, even with the overcast skies (which promptly reminded me of the climate in southern California), and a lot more windy than western Washington. Flatter lands for sure, used for farming of what seemed to be mostly hay, which littered the sides of the freeway in large stacks covered by tarps. There was also a lot of wind powered turbines and even a small solar array.
We stayed at a place called Vantage, and let me just say that these "camping resorts" are a fucking racket. It cost us $15 to stay per night per person, and on top of having to place a pass in the dashboard of the car we had to wear wrist bands at all times. I assume this was there way of making sure everyone paid, and a great way to get those who lost their wristband or decided to be rebellious to pay again. Either way, $15 dollars per night per person is a rip off of asshole-ish proportion, Dave Matthews Band concert or not.
However we all paid those crazy prices of course, because no price was too high to stop us or anyone from seeing Dave. That's including the spectacular mark up on the 24 ounce cans of Bud Light inside the venue, which were handsomely priced at $13 a can. Again, worth it to get high and watch Dave. Besides, a portion of the incredible mark-ups most likely went to help fund the clean up efforts of the lawn and closer sections of the auditorium, but I digress...
We had tickets for Saturday night's showing, and having never been to this part of the state, or to a Dave Matthews concert, I didn't know what to expect. When you're driving down that highway toward the venue you can see the gorge before actually getting there. It isn't too much of a view, but it's still breath taking in it's own way. One thing that I found neat was that you could see the other side of the gorge the string of wind turbine generators there. They all blinked simultaneously at night which I thought was also pretty cool, but again I digress.
We got to the venue and picked up our tickets at will call, as we had forgotten our actual tickets at home and had to call Ticket Master to get them to switch our order so we could pick them up there. Once we were done with that it was off to the line and through the incredibly lax security and into the venue. Feeling quite ashamed of myself for not packing a flask of booze with me.
Once we got in and had our tickets scanned it was just a small trek through the food and beverage and "official merchandise" stands 'til we reached a hill and began our assent to the amphitheater. Once at the top it all became clear to me. "This is what Washingtonians mean when they talk about DNB at the Gorge." Pictures do it no justice, and words cannot begin to describe that awesome beauty and force of nature, the very spirit of the place.
All I could think of was Neil deGrasse Tyson in that Cosmos episode where he talked about the age of the earth and used the layers rock in the Grand Canyon as an example. As I gazed out at the entire panoramic scene I couldn't help but think I was looking back into the past witnessing the creation of the land around me. If only Dave or Brandi Carlile, who opened for Dave, had played "I can see for Miles" by The Who. That's about the only way to describe the Gorge.
Oh and the show was great, too. I can see what all the fuss is about DMB out here now, that man puts on a spectacular performance, one like I have never seen before, and it's only boosted by the venue's natural acoustics. We had lawn tickets, so weren't exactly that close to the stage, but it was still entertaining enough, both on and off stage. The smell of pot is awesomely overwhelming, at least where we were, which prompted some burning of our own.
The group of youngsters ahead of us had snuck in a flask (bastards) and were abiding heavily from it, as well as partaking in a small dosage of magic mushrooms. They didn't even have the common decency to share either of them (double bastards). This made up for itself however, when one of the girls in the group decided to show off her flexibility and acrobatic skills in front of us.
She bent herself backwards until her hands were firmly planted on the ground and held it there for about five seconds until her boyfriend decided that now would be the perfect time to tickle her rather sensitive belly since she was absolutely defenseless. In reflex she catapulted herself forward into an upright position and inadvertently launched herself forward, which led to her inevitable face plant into the concert goers who were ahead of her.
There's that moment when you do something incredibly embarrassing, where you realize that you have done something embarrassing, and you seem frozen in time as you actually have to contemplate whether or not you actually did that embarrassing thing. Unfortunately time is not frozen and all the time you took to figure out whether or not you did something embarrassing actually did pass for others around. This causes a sudden reaction of concern from your fellow friends, who moments ago were laughing at you. It's finally even more awkward when you get up and look to the people behind you and feel the urge to joke with them about your folly. But it's all good fun in the end...just wished they shared that flask with us afterward.
But aside from the goofiness of our fellow Dave fans the entire experience was great, and I would suggest to anyone that they put this place on their bucket list of places to see. Whether you go for the Dave concert that is held there ever year or not, the gorge Washington state is beautiful, and also boasts a winery called Cave B Winery and Inn which seemed interesting. I found out on Twitter that it had a record 700 people come through their doors today, revenue brought in by the concert. I believe the next time we go out there may be to check it out.
Hash? Yes Please!
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