I don’t get out much. Really. Most of my weekends in college were spent watching so-bad-they’re-amazing Sci Fi Channel original movies and playing Halo and/or Mario Kart. I can tell you about the two times I’ve actually “gone out” – once with a friend in Salem, who took us bar-hopping; and once for the senior bar crawl, where we went out at 9ish to visit one bar, then came home for our usual Mario Kart.
So last night was sort of a big deal. My favorite band, Carbon Leaf, came to Seattle on their summer tour. This is my third time seeing them, and they get more awesome every time. The opening act, Trevor Hall, was pretty cool too. (Note to
Taylor Trevor Hall: Sorry for the confusion, and thanks to Lauren for the link! I tried to find a site that I could link to for you, but there are about eight thousand dorms named Taylor Hall, so I didn’t have any luck. Sorry. You guys rock, though, and you officially have the hottest bassist on the planet.)
I’m skipping ahead! Tess agreed to come along with me because she likes Carbon Leaf too, but probably mostly because I asked her to come with me in a way a dog (or my cat Charlie) looks at you when it wants to go chase a squirrel. The Mountain, a Seattle radio station, helped launch Carbon Leaf, so they love performing here and the Seattle crowds love them back. Living expenses be damned, I was going to this show.
So Tess arrived at my house so I could drive us into Seattle, and she had an early birthday present for me!
It’s a great big lovely tea box for my great big lovely pile of tea! Hooray!
We went to the mall for a bit blah blah Jamba Juice blah okay time for the adventure downtown! We beat the (name of sports team) traffic, and after several loops around Pike Place and its neighboring streets, we managed to find a garage before its entrance had already passed by. We scanned the prices, looked at the clock, and realized that if we waited two more minutes, we would be able to score the evening flat rate.
So we sat on the ramp.
For two minutes.
Thank God no one tried to come in behind us, or they would have been furious. Tess counted seconds while we glanced between the meter clock, the car clock, and the woman in the booth. Finally 4:00 arrived, and I punched that button like it had insulted my mother.
The gate opened and we rolled onward. The woman rushed out of the booth.
“What time does your ticket say?”
“It’s 4:00! We’re set!”
“Okay, go ahead!”
(By the way, Seattle parking garages are apparently designed for people who drive motorcycles on the other side of the road. They are tiny and backwards.)
We went to the Owl and Thistle for dinner, a little Irish pub near the waterfront. The happy hour fish & chips were greasy and delicious, and we tried an Irish cider called… Magner. Maybe. I tried to save the label because I knew I’d forget the name, but…oh well. It was really good. Better than Strongbow, and that means something. Infinitely better than Hornsby’s.
After dinner, we walked up along the waterfront and stopped in to Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe. For those uninitiated, this shop is full of every Seattle souvenir imaginable, along with a few mummies, a two-headed calf, some shrunken heads, and a 50-cent fortune teller.
Being a Ray Bradbury fan and a sucker for fortunes, we both got our fortune cards from Madame Estrella. I started reading mine – financial success, relationship troubles, etc. and so forth. Tess read hers next –
– and announced that we had definitely been mixed up. (In case it’s too small to read, it talks about “a trip around the world,” “unlimited money,” and being “a very serious person,” “fastidious,” and “stubborn.”) So we traded fortunes, and now I am fulfilling my misdirected destiny to travel the world. (That unlimited money part sounds nice, too.)
Onward to the concert! By this time I had realized that I’d forgotten my camera, and was kicking myself with the appropriate level of self-hatred. We waited in line for about half an hour while Tess read my palm (and later the palm of the woman in front of us).
And then we got into the Showbox and realized exactly what we’d gotten ourselves into. First of all, it was general admission, so the floor was standing-only. The bar was up on a higher level, and there were a few small chairs and tables, but the people who’d been there before knew this and had already claimed seats. We tried parking by the wall in the balcony for a while, me savoring a well-made rum punch and Tess enjoying a rum and Coke that she’d had to send back for something they’d forgotten called Coke. During this time we saw the rather alarming and unexpected crowd of fellow Carbon Leaf admirers. A short list:
-very large man wearing a very large graffitied white t-shirt, who we theorized was some kind of New Age priest
-older gentleman who was either very drunk or had a dancing version of Tourette’s
-a very tall and cosmopolitan couple, she in skinny jeans and a red floral tank top, he with a baseball cap with a can of PBR in his back pocket. He was already fairly drunk, and for a while they just hung out in front of us, making out.
-did I mention the cougars?
Taylor Hall played, it was awesome, we stood around and waited, debated moving because people kept standing in front of us – and around 9:15, Carbon Leaf came in, and the show immediately became amazing.
I dragged Tess out to the floor, where we found pretty much the perfect spot – the lower edge of the balcony, right at butt level, in line with the front of the stage, about twenty feet from the corner. Whenever anyone came to that side of the stage, we were the only people there to see. This meant that we got eye contact and/or waves and/or some kind of recognition from Barry AND Terry! (Most of my friends have seen me fangirl. I think this was the most I’ve ever fangirled in my life.)
They played an excellent set – mostly new stuff and their big hits from “Indian Summer” (if you’re going to get a Carbon Leaf CD, and you are, get that one). The group behind us yelled for a certain song several times, and Barry just stepped up to the mic and said very nicely, “We will play what we want and you will like it.” And we did!
But the encore was honestly the best part of the show. First, they stood up in the front of the stage with no mics, bare spotlights, and just their acoustic guitars, and sang “Learn to Fly” from their previous album. I’m still impressed that they (with a little help from security) managed to silence the entire theatre. They did the same thing for their show at The Moore a few years ago, and it was beautiful both times. Next, they went completely the opposite direction and broke out the electric guitars and busted out with “Sweet Emotion.” And oh my God, they blew us away. Carter is a fiend on the guitar, and Terry is also incredible. They spent most of the song just jamming and it was downright awesome.
The guys then braved the crowds and stuck around to sign autographs. There was such a horde that I didn’t even realize there was a line, but apparently I, uh, cut a little. But there was Carbon Leaf, and my life was perfect.
The planets aligned and the line slowed down when I got to Carter, the guitarist. I had been trying to think of something to say about the encore that wouldn’t sound stupid, but all I could think of was –
“That encore was badass.”
But his face lit up. “You liked it?”
“Yeah! You guys rocked!”
“Hey, thanks. What’s your name?”
Cue inner fangirl squealing. I shook his hand. I think I remained calm and composed. He kept going. “Yeah, we really like getting to play those rock-and-roll songs.”
“Well, you guys were awesome.”