A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summer is Here

It's July, it's hot and I have now visited both a small, church festival and Summerfest. All of which certifies that summer has arrived in Wisconsin. I actually prefer spring and fall-- not so blasted humid-- but summer is awfully nice, nonetheless. The days are long, and you can recapture a bit of the freedom of being a child by playing with your kids outside in the gloaming hours of a Midwestern twilight. Feel the sand in your toes, or the soft texture of the grass under your feet. Bask in the warm embrace of the sun and watch as your shadow stretches longer and longer.

The church festival was a small affair, by Wisconsin standards, held by the Xavarian Fathers on their missionary grounds in Oak Creek. Beautiful setting, gorgeous day, ice-cold beer. Hard to go wrong, though the fairly awful singers that were on the festival's only stage during the day were a small blemish. They were some sort of Von Trapp family singers-- an old dude on a guitar, his wife (who looked far too young for him), their five daughters ranging in age from about 17 to 9 and one poor, sad sack son, around 8. Truthfully, they weren't horrible, but I kept thinking-- when do these guys get any time to be away from each other? Anyway, the food was good, the kids enjoyed spending money on goofy carnival games and it was a terribly Wisconsin way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Summerfest was the anti-church festival. Huge, jam-packed with people, a multitude of stages, and everything non-Von Trappish all on one large festival ground. Great fun, though, in a very different way. Jenn and I were sans kids, so that allows more freedom and is a nice change of pace. We enjoyed Think Floyd-- who were musically dead-on balls accurate (it's an industry term) but vocally mediocre-- and bumped into some people from our bowling league there. They were wasted. What were the odds. Summerfest is over-priced (especially compared to the small church festival), but for a once or twice a summer visit it isn't that over-priced. Less than a Brewer game, for example. Happy beer buzzage ensued, and I think I got a pretty good contact high from all the wicked weed being smoked in my general vicinity.

Which brings me to the Roger Waters' concert. Manifique! He opened with a DOBA version of In The Flesh, which opens with the lines: So ya, thought ya, might like to... go to the show. Nice! The sound was fabulous, the band was fabulous, and Roger was in good form-- I was a little concerned that he might be a bit worn down since the Summerfest show was towards the end of the tour, but he seemed full of energy. Visually, the show was excellent-- the Marcus Amphitheater is a great venue, especially when packed to the gills with an appreciative audience-- and the acoustics were superb. The woman he had to do the wailing on the Dark Side of the Moon sequences was awesome, as was the sax player. They even played two tracks off of The Final Cut-- the title track and Fletcher Memorial Home. That album is underrated, imho. Quite a bit of The Wall, Pigs from Animals (complete with inflated pig, scrawled with anti-war, anti-Bush slogans, carried amongst the audience by production crew members) and, of course, all of Dark Side of the Moon.

Well worth the money. Most excellent show. I have to say, quite a bit better than the Gilmour headed Pink Floyd tour I saw back in the late 1980's. Of course, that was a stadium show and I was nowhere close to the stage, but still-- the guitar work of Dave Kilminster and Snowy White was better than Gilmour's rendition of his own riffs. Those guys were spot on. And the mix of songs Roger had the band doing was nearly flawless, right up to concluding with Comfortably Numb in the encore.

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