If you follow this blog, you know about the Uhavegonaway to Oregonaway Show Saturday, September 1, Labor Day weekend, at the Mississippi Pizza Pub in Portland, Oregon from 6 to 8 PM. If you don’t, click this blog post for more info.
While on the road with the Refreshments, I was always happy to pull into the City of Roses for a gig. Why?
1) We had great fans in Portland. The local alternative station was on “Banditos” early and often, and from that we cultivated a nice following. We always played to more people in Portland than in any other city on the Pacific coast. I remember selling out La Luna once, which, aside from Phoenix gigs, might’ve been the largest crowd we ever played to. (This of course isn't counting gigs like radio shows, where you can play to thousands more but not necessarily to fans of your band.)
2) Powell’s. Rarely was there enough time to spend more than an hour or two in that wonderful place, but every second was, and is, pure delight. You had to drag me out of there for soundcheck.
3) It never rained. Really. I remember being in Portland for a radio show in the sweltering heat, playing some little bar who-knows-where, playing in Pioneer Square, and not once do I remember it raining.
On an unrelated note, can anyone tell me why Michael Anthony isn’t involved in the latest Van Halen re-grouping?
I have to admit I’ve been more than a little cynical in the past about reunion tours, but all of that changed one weekend in 2004 when Kel and I drove up to Portland to see Camper Van Beethoven. Somehow, I’d managed to miss CVB back in the day (for you Phoenicians, CVB and the Red Hot Chili Peppers played Big Surf back in the late 80s; I was still in Illinois.), and I broke down to see one of my favorite bands.
It was at the Crystal Ballroom, and there were about 800 fellow CVB freaks in attendance. What a show! Nostalgia, nostalgia. They played everything you’d expect them to play, and they played everything you wouldn’t expect them to play, and they even played some stuff you would've thought they’d be embarrassed to play. I couldn’t have been happier with it. Nostalgia, yes. But to see David Lowery set up to one side of the stage as opposed to the center because Camper Van Beethoven was always about the interplay of instruments and not any individual member, to see Victor laying down the law on “Eye of Fatima” and a dozen others, to see that insane fiddle guy dancing around like nobody’s business, it reminded me what it's all about. CVB still seems ahead of its time, and they started doing it two or three decades ago.
Alas, another good memory from Portland. I hope to have more soon.