Friday, July 07, 2006

We went to Summerfest in Milwaukee last night, "the world's largest music festival" - what a concept - all kinds of music on smaller stages all night long, name acts in the Marcus Amphitheater, and all of it surrounded by food booths and bars selling beer, wine coolers, and some hard liquor. Naming rights sold to every type of business - the Marcus Amphitheater is named after and I think run by the motion picture theater chain - we watched the Outlaws at the M&I Bank Classic Rock Stage and Robin Trower at the Mountain Dew Rock Stage - and most of the stages have a particular beer brand associated with them - there's the Potawatomi Bingo Casino Stage & Pavilion with Sprecher Brewery; U.S. Cellular Connection Stage with Leinenkugel's; and the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard with Miller High Life.

Everytime I've gone to Summerfest, there has come a point in the evening where I've kind of looked around and said, "Shit, I am surrounded by thousands of drunk people who are all going to get in their cars and drive home ..." Last night this realization was somehow not as horrifying - probably because it was a Thursday and there were just LESS drunk people.

We saw Bob Weir & his band Ratdog - and they, along with guitarist Keller Williams , were the openers for String Cheese incident, which proves that we have truly entered the new millennium, when a band with one of the members of the original Grateful Dead is the opener for a newer jam band, the style the Dead inspired. I was never a Bob fan; I liked Jerry, and Phil Lesh is my favorite (The closest Lesh's band is playing to me this summer is Chicago, on Sunday of a weekend I am supposed to spend in Minnesota watching US women's soccer) and I was pleasantly surprised at how good Weir & company sounded. His voice, which was sounding pretty gravelly, and no sustain, after years of too much screaming, was much smoother last night, and he's got a good guitar player that he can play all his augmented rhythm chords around, the way he used to do with Jerry.

And what does all this have to do with food? Well, not much in this case, but there is tons of food at Summerfest - there is regular State Fair type stuff, roasted corn, and funnel cakes, and so on, but there are also booths by Milwaukee area restaurants, so you can get Thai and Greek and German (sausages and even sauerbraten) and there's barbecue and burgers and on and on.

I had a bagel before we left, and Chris stopped for a veggie burrito, so last night we mostly just had a few beers and the free peanuts & cashews in the hospitality area our VIP passes got us into.


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