First, I would like to dedicate this post to Neko Case’s three-legged cat Wayne. I hope you make it home safely.
Second, let’s start with a teensy bit of history. I have lived in the “Seattle area” for my entire life. I have had a proper Seattle address since I graduated from college. With all of that time around here you’d think I would have gone to Bumbershoot at some point before. I’m not surprised I didn’t do it when I was little. We lived about an hour and a half drive from the city and a full day/weekend music festival was not likely high on my parents list of good places for small children. We didn’t go to Disneyland until I was a sophomore in high school because they wanted to make sure we could all walk ourselves around. They didn’t want to deal with strollers. I guess they just wanted to play it REALLY safe in case one of us took a long time getting a hang of this “walking” thing.
Anyway, this year I finally didn’t have to work on the weekend. I wasn’t out of town. I live within walking distance of Seattle Center! I was ready to finally check it out.
I only went one day, but I feel that was at least a start. We checked out all of the main stage shows on Saturday. The Decemberists, who were up first are a personal favorite of mine and I have seen them many times. I prefer them indoors but they were still quite entertaining. It really takes a special kind of band to make infanticide into a sing-along subject.
Neko Case was up next and she too was good. Her voice really is something spectacular. It’s nice to know that in an Auto-Tuned world there are still some voices that sound great without assistance. In fat some of the songs on her newest album, Middle Cyclone, which sound a little flat on CD are far alive when she sings them. She admitted to being sorely unprepared and borrowing gear from a variety of sources, even Bob Dylan, but it certainly didn’t diminish the quality of her performance. Also she has a three-legged cat named Wayne who is missing. How could that not get to you? Come home Wayne!
Last, of course, was Bob Dylan. He has gotten awfully gravelly in his later years and if you didn’t know any of the words to his songs when you arrived his mumbly delivery wasn’t going to give any of them away. At least he isn’t Auto-Tuned either. He doesn’t speak to the crowd but instead powers through song after song and puts on a decent show. Disappointing or not, I should hope to be even half as interesting when I’m 69 years old.
I enjoyed myself but I wouldn’t say I really fully got the whole experience. We walked around a little but pretty much just went to the main stage shows. I feel like I really just got my feet wet. Next year as long as there’s a decent lineup I’ll be ready to dive in.