Saturday, January 03, 2009

Day 4 in Colorado

~ We checked out of our hotel in Westminster, drove to Boulder to pick up my friend, and got on the road.
~ We stopped in Breckenridge so the friend could get her hair cut; her hair dresser moved from Boulder to Breckenridge not too long ago, and this all-important primping session was scheduled weeks ago. While that was happening, the youngin and I walked around, had lunch at a teensy tiny pizzeria, and stopped into a shop so she could buy a T-shirt she'd spotted from the car window on the way into town. It reads "Dude, I think this whole town is high! Breckenridge, altitude 9,600." Funny.

~ We slipped and slided our way back to the car, and tried to find a Starbucks on the way so the driver could get her caffeine fix, but we didn't have much luck. When we found that the S'bux in Glenwood Springs' Safeway sported a broken espresso machine, we gave up hope; surely there would be a place to sate our cravings in Aspen.
~ There was, but not until tomorrow morning...
~ Meanwhile, the drive to Aspen was gorgeous. Not only are the views phenomenal (I know, I'm full of mammoth adjectives and convenient superlatives, but if the shoe fits...), but the weather was perfect for travel: dry, sunny and still.

~ After trying to find a place to park the car outside our hotel (the roads were narrow, parking is on-street, and the snow plow had left pretty large berms), we were assisted inside by a friendly, chatty hotel staffer who was very interested in going to one of the shows we effused about. (A convert? Perhaps; I never did see him at the Belly Up, but then, I was certainly distracted.)
~ The hotel is really beautiful, two-and-a-half blocks from the Belly Up, all restaurants, Starbucks (!!) and the base of Ajax Mountain. So convenient; the weekend felt like a cruise, in that you could party all night and schlep back to your room with no worry of car keys and DUI check points. Well, this wasn't exactly that kind of weekend, but I thought it worth mentioning for those of you planning a ski trip. Enjoy. ;)

~ Wash, dress, primp, loudly sing along to BHTM, excitedly dance around the room, take a final five (or ten) looks in the mirror, stop for an "ooh I forgot my scarf", and out the door we went to dinner at Little Annie's, which we'd heard and read many good things about. Our cheeseburger, BBQ chicken and grilled turkey sandwich were all great, especially since they were all accompanied by lumpy, peppery mashed potatoes of a divine nature. The woman who runs the front of the house (owner?) moved like a NYC diner hostess but had the personality of a Midwesterner: perfect. The place is cramped, bustling and affordable, and our booth in the front window was chilly but cozy. Note to self: Go back, if only for the mashed potatoes and the Tootsie Roll Midgies (or are they Minis? I'm never sure which are which.) that come with the check.
~ The Belly Up was only a couple blocks from the restaurant, it wasn't bitter cold, and the town is a storybook fantasy, so the walk to the show was enjoyable.
~ The venue is tiny but beautiful, the sound and lighting were great, the coat check not only exists but is free (wow), and the audience is permitted to stand right up against the stage. I'm unsure how the band feels about it (they didn't seem to mind us being right up in their faces), but I know we all were crazy for the set up. It's the best place I've seen a concert yet, and I've seen many.
~ The doors opened an hour before the show started, and we got there just a few minutes after doors for fear of a cramped space and no spots near the boys. But it worked out great. Everyone was watching college football and nursing their adult beverages while waiting for the show to start; there's a large, roll-up movie screen rigged in front of the stage, and it wasn't lifted until just a moment or two before the guys came on stage. But our group of six or so waited by the corner of the stage, chatting and taking turns refilling our water cups and emptying our bladders, until the screen was rolled up. Then we quickly scooted into position (with me dead center at Todd's toes, naturally), while everyone else jostled in behind us.

~ The show was perfect. Here's what I posted on the BHTM boards.

Last night's show was incredible, just incredible. The energy was crazy - both the guys' and the audience's. The set list featured a nice mix of old and new, including some great surprises, like a horn section and Clapton's "Forever Man". This was a BHTM show as I know and love them - outstanding!

Cherries on top: the venue is great (with a capacity of only 400 or so), the stage itself is pretty tiny so all the guys were within view, we were so close that my water bottle was on the stage at Todd's feet, and this was my teenage cousin's first show and she's officially hooked (Yay!). She's crossing her fingers that she gets to meet the boys tonight.

What was actually played varied a tad from the set list taped at Todd's feet; for instance, "Stategem" was on the list but wasn't played, and "Boom Boom" wasn't planned but made it into the encore. Here's the set list I jotted down over the course of the night:

Broken Hearted Savior
All the Love You Need
City on Fire
Resignation Superman
Again and Again
I'll Play the Blues For You
Fortune Teller
Dirty Juice
Under a Silvery Moon
In the Morning
Forever Man
These Days Without You
Dinner With Ivan
Please Don't Tell Her
Wishing Well
Spanish Highway
Kensington Line
Beautiful Rain
Encore: Conquistador, Boom Boom, Her Own Kinda Woman

~ After the show, we walked around town, trying to figure where to go; that chatty hotel staffer had suggested a locals' bar called Zane's but it was too close to last call to make the trek over. We ended up making it nowhere, wandering in circles and giggling our heads off. It's that giddiness that comes only from a stellar BHTM show. We eventually walked off some of our natural high and stumbled back to bed, where we lay talking for hours.

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