Sunday, August 05, 2012

Gentlemen of the Road

Several months ago my daughter had turned me on to Mumford & Sons and it's no surprise I like this band given how much I like folk music, rock music and harmonies.  Well, several weeks ago I just happened to get an email from a ticket service hinting that there was going to be a rare show coming to Portland around the same time I heard mention of a rumor that Mumford was going to be coming to the States.  I mentioned this to my daughter, who was excited; and I told if she could get tickets when they went on sale, I'd pay for them.
Well, the rumors were true and the tour was rare, not only in makeup but in number of stops -- only four in the US.  Click on this Gentlemen of the Road link to learn more about the tour.  The tickets themselves are unique because they're like passports, with multiple pages describing the show and places to get stamps of each of the bands playing, and a beautiful plastic, almost holographic ticket inside.  Best of all, when the tour is over, you have a code for a free download of an "album" created from the live performances of this tour.  Oh, then to add more anticipation, just a couple of weeks before the show it was announced that the Dropkick Murphys would also be on this stop as well as headlining an aftershow concert at the State Theater.  This tour selected unique cities and venues to do these shows; and the shows are like festivals -- outdoors with multiple bands on two stages playing all day and early evening, followed by multiple shows that evening at intimate indoor this case in the quaint and historic Old Port area of Portland.  (We never intended to go to these but in my younger days, maybe)
On to the show:  Shel and I get to Portland to meet up with my daughter and her boyfriend who arrived earlier in the day.  The whole Eastern Promenade area of Portland was closed off.  So we chose to park at a garage near the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, which was offering free rides on the line that runs up the bay to the Eastern Promenade and the show.  As it turns out, immediately after turning onto Fore Street to get the parking garage there was a parking lot advertising $6 parking all day.  Woo hoo!  So we had a couple of blocks more to walk to the bigs, it was a perfect Maine August day.
At the museum we learned about the narrow gauge railroad history in Maine, looked around the museum and got onto a couple of cars...not a bad way to kill an hour waiting for my daughter to arrive, only 3 bucks apiece.  Then at 1:00 we hopped onto one of the renovated old cars being pulled by these little engines and rode up along the beautiful harbor to the show.  (there will be pictures!)
We arrive at the venue and what a gorgeous place for a concert...high on a hill that overlooks the bay.  We had a great time listening to the bands and enjoying each others' company.  My daughter is now 21 and these moments don't get to happen that often, which was really the whole point for me in going.  The show itself was mostly secondary.  Good thing because it wasn't managed well by whomever.  The lines to everything were insufferably long.  There weren't nearly enough vendors and the layout was not conducive to freedom of movement.  So you had a situation where there's hours-long lines to everything with people having to walk through those lines to get anywhere.  I don't know what they (whoever they were) were thinking when they laid it out the way they did.  But the music was excellent and the company even better.


the conductor


Shel said...

What a GREAT time! To be able to say you enjoyed all but one band is fantastic! The lines were interesting to watch but we ate at a great little stand right outside of the venue. No lines, no waiting and the food was nice... Shelly's Cart. it had to be good. hehehe

It was nice seeing Kim and getting to know Kyle a little better. FUN! FUN! FUN!

ODBasford said...

Hey Zeb,

I'm so sorry we didn't catch-up with you guys! I haven't seen Kim in years, and don't think I've ever met Kyle, so it would have been my pleasure. You'd think it was hard to find people there, but Kelsey and I stood in one busy place for 1/2 hour and found 4 different sets of friends as they walked by!

Your blog post was spot-on re: the planning of the event. They hyped up the food ahead of time because it was all local "food truck" style vendors, and actually told people to "arrive hungry". Next time warn the vendors that they need to have stuff pre-prepared!!! We found the shortest line and had ice cream sandwiches for dinner instead of waiting for real food or beer.

However, the music was so much fun that we totally forgave the food fiasco. We arrived at 3, and Kelsey was quite bold moving into the thick of the crowd (against my timid nature), so we had great seats in the first tier of blankets. What a venue, eh? It was so picturesque--I'm shocked that it's never happened before. The scenery & weather were perfect!

The Maccabees & Dawes were great fun... St. Vincent does not translate well live (her album rocks), and the Murphies suffered from a poor sound setup in my opinion, but when they kicked-into their famous Departed song everyone in the place was rocking. And Mumford... I can't believe how pumped they got the crowd. Everyone around us had their arms in the air for more than half the show... you don't see that very often in Maine. Believe me, it's tough to get a crowd of us all excited at the same time!

So I'm glad you had a ton of fun at the show with your fam, and I am sorry we didn't meet up. Let me know when you're around town next time... maybe by email!