Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Another Day in Santa Clara

It was time for a mellow-out day after the frenzy of the last few.  Breakfast was only until 9:00 on Monday morning (6/29), so I got up around 8 and staggered downstairs for an omelette, etc.  The Deadheads had started to clear out of the Embassy Suites (some proudly stated that they were now driving to Chicago), but there were still a bunch left and most of them were probably still asleep.  Dave joined us for breakfast too.

After eating a bit I went back upstairs and back to bed for a little more rest.  Our plane didn't leave until after 9PM, and so we had a long day to waste.  Up soon anyway and started reading reviews and catching up on correspondence.  After a while we formed a plan.  We'd hang out until noon, grab something to eat at Specialties, and then walk over to the nearby cineplex to catch a movie, then get to the airport at the end of the afternoon.

A few random thoughts about the shows had occurred to me...

  • It was an incredible time!
  • A major thing that made it so incredible was the production; the hospitality, lights, graphics, between-sets entertainment (original compositions by Neal Casal), etc. was beyond top-notch.  And being able to walk to the concerts and back along the creek trail was wonderful for our sensibilities.
  • The setlists were remarkable for what they played, but even more so for what they *didn't* play:
    • We can't believe they didn't play Estimated Prophet in their last shows on the west coast: "California, a prophet on the burning shore."
    • They didn't play any of their famous combos (besides St. Stephen/The Eleven): China/Rider, NFA/GDTRFB, Estimated/Eyes, Lazy Lightning/Supplication, Saint/Sailor, etc.
    • They didn't do some seminal songs that we were sure they'd do, like Shakedown, Box Of Rain, FOTD, Ripple, Touch Of Grey, Days Between, Sugaree, Deal, etc.
    • They didn't do any sandwiches, like PITB/[whatever]/PITB reprise, Help/Slipknot!/[whatever]/Franklin's, etc.
    • They didn't do any cowboy songs; sure they did BEW and Loser, but I mean MAMU, Big River, Mexicali, Mama Tried, El Paso ... not to mention The Race Is On, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, etc.
    • They didn't do the massive suites like Terrapin and Weather Report (let alone Blues For Allah).
    • They didn't do any Dylan songs (let alone Stones/Beatles songs).
  • This leaves plenty of things left for them to do in Chicago!
  • Jeez, how can they play all the things they *have* to play in one century?  I guess they can't, so maybe they shouldn't try.  What they did play was wonderful, so I guess they should just keep following their muse.
We packed up, checked our bags at the friendly front desk, and strolled across the street for some sandwiches and salad.  High tech Santa Clara was in the throes of a busy Monday noon-time; the parking lots all around us were full and the lunch place was mobbed with serious people.

After lunch we crossed 101 and meandered around the grounds of Our Lady Of Peace Church and Shrine, a Catholic enclave with a garden featuring stations of the cross and the giant statue of Our Lady that we had dubbed Our Lady Of Intel (photographed at her best angle, there was a large "Intel" logo right behind her, though when the picture below was taken I guess Yahoo was the blessed one).  I thought the plaster reliefs depicting the stations and the colossal statue itself were very good, both artistically and technically.  I'm not sure about spiritually.

Made it past the huge EMC2 campus and over to the AMC Mercado 20, where we were just in time for a showing of Inside Out, the latest Disney/Pixar creation, which was very good but kind of heavy for a kids movie.  I cried.

Then wandered slowly back to the hotel, got our bags, drank the last few beers/cider we had, and caught a cab for the airport.  The evening rush hour had already started though it was barely 4PM, but we made it to the JetBlue terminal and finally had a chance to sit quietly and read for a couple of hours until they checked our suitcase.

Through security and had a leisurely dinner at the Gordon Biersch brewpub.  As I knew from our last trip to California, it can be shockingly hard to find good beer there, but at least they had a couple of kinds of lager.  Where's that West Coast IPA you always hear about??  Oregon I guess.

Finally got on the red-eye with a few Dead stragglers, proudly wearing their colors, and a lot of business-people.  Long flight back to Boston, arriving at 5:30AM.  Got another cab there, got home, and soon were sleeping in our own beds.

What an exhausting trip, but we'd do it again in a heartbeat!  Now for a short work week and then the Chicago shows on webcast!!

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