This past weekend I headed down to New Orleans for the Jazz and Heritage Festival 2010. I have never been to New Orleans before and we were lucky enough to stay in the French Quarter. The trip was awesome and featured a great combination of music and food. Some of the musical highlights included Widespread Panic, Chris Thomas King, a skinny Blues Traveler, Steve Martin and his banjo pickin' (yes, the comedian/actor) and a band I have wanted to see since a teenager, Pearl Jam. Foodwise, I noshed on egg rolls filled with alligator, grubbed down on shrimp etouffee and jambalaya, delighted in beignets, went on an oyster crawl that took us to 6 different restaurants where we tasted about 2 dozen oysters prepared in 10 different ways and had crawfish cooked in at least that many different dishes.
But this is a Cubs blog, and Angry gets, well...angry when I don't write about the Cubs. Unfortunately the trip took me away from AZ at the same time the Cubs played the Diamondbacks. Living in AZ, this would be one of the few times out of the year that I would be able to catch the Cubs on tv/radio (sans games on the Wagon and national broadcasts). Luckily, I was able to still keep myself informed via my phone's internet and was glad to see the Cubs take 3/4 games from a team that always seem to give us trouble.
So the purpose of this blog is to weave together my trip and the Cubs and being a Cubs fan this isn't too difficult as Cubs fans are everywhere, which at times can come in handy, as it did at one particularly perfect time during my trip. As I said before, I have wanted to see Pearl Jam live for a very long time now. I have seen over 100 concerts and pretty much every band I have ever wanted to see. Pearl Jam was on the short list of bands that I knew would be awesome live and I hadn't seen yet, but I was also directed to check out Chris Thomas King by a couple of the Exile on Clark Street music snobs. CTK played right before Pearl Jam on a different stage, though, so I knew we would be stuck in the back of the crowd when we finally were able to make our way to the main stage.
Finally, after a great show by CTK we headed over to the Acura stage to try to get a spot for Pearl Jam, but the crowd was much more than any of us expected. We headed around the back of the stage and tried to get into the crowd on the "less traveled" side of the stage, but it looked like people had been camping out since the early morning (which we found out they had been). We waded into the crowd, trying to find a small patch of ground which we could stand and crowd together.
Eventually we came across a couple that had laid out a small tarp at which the corner had a flagpole with a Cubs and Chicago flag flying. By this time it was apparent that nothing good was going to open up for us, so being a little inebriated and knowing that Cubs fans bind together, I asked if we could hang out for a little while so we could scope out the situation and also wait for my father who was meeting us after seeing a different band. I was wearing my Cubs jersey, so I hoped he would feel some sympathy for a fellow Cubs fan. The guy said he was expecting some more people later, but we were welcome to use their tarp as a base camp. My mother and girlfriend, who I had also gone on the trip with, weren't too keen on this so we moved on.
Less than a minute later, I was being called back. The guy said he didn't mean to come off rude and welcomed us back. Well, I was perfectly okay with this, as I saw nothing even remotely promising ahead of us. We hung out and learned that the couple, Chris and Tracy, were from Chicago and had been going to Jazzfest for over a decade. So what turned out to be a temporary spot turned into our hang-out for the entire concert. Chris and I talked about the Cubs and about how it would be awesome if they played "All the Way", Eddie Vedder's Cubs song.
Pearl Jam was better than I had hoped, even though I missed the first 15 minutes due to a bathroom break. Chris and Tracy were great hosts. I know a lot of Cubs fans like to rip on how we have a horrible fan base, but once in a while you meet a couple fans who give us a good name. So thank you, Chris and Tracy, if you read this, you made our Jazzfest an even more enjoyable experience than expected.
Pearl Jam "Kick(s) Out the Jams" MC5 style.
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