Friday, August 29, 2008

rosin smells and turpentine smells

I should be thankful to the Outside Lands folks for, at the least, saving this blog from solely devoting itself to you know who, you know what, and you know where. But with that temporary diversion out of the way, it's back to providing fodder for the restraining order. The court is now in session.

Wilco, Outside Lands Festival, August 24, 2008: As previously mentioned, I hate festivals, but a couple of names will draw me in, regardless of circumstances. Even by that measure, the Outside Lands planners unknowingly outdid themselves; not only were the festival grounds a hop, skip, and a jump away from my doorstep, Wilco was scheduled to play the stage closest to my flat. In fact, the Twin Peaks stage occupied the exact same spot where Jeff Tweedy had played for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival the year before. Genius!

Wilco, Outside Lands Festival, August 24, 2008I know all the rules about festival sets: They're shorter and less spontaneous, with few back-catalog bonuses. Also, the amateurs come out. Despite all this (not to mention the show I saw earlier in the week), I was superexcited for Wilco's set. I wonder if it had anything to do with Broken Social Scene's energizing performance or the fact that the photo corps and a large number of festival badgeholders crowded the area between the barrier and the stage to get a view of the band. Perhaps I was just anticipating the fruits of our labor after having set out early to secure our spots at the front of the stage. Then again, it could've been the knowledge that even after Wilco's set, the festivities were far from over, as I had a houseful of friends eager to get down to some serious Rock Band action.

Pick your provenance; all I know is that it felt totally natural to belt out the more fiery verses of "You Are My Face," though it made the insiders in front of us turn around and take notice (in a good way). In fact, I'd venture to say that the set veritably brimmed with joy, despite Wilco's reputation for serious and solemn compositions, such as the opener "Remember the Mountain Bed" or "Via Chicago" later in the gig.

Wilco, Outside Lands Festival, August 24, 2008Thus, we got a good amount of banter from Jeff Tweedy, including the use of the word "schlong"; Nels Cline flashing us the single safety pin that held together his fly; and Glenn Kotche luxuriating in the rock drummer pose that has marked the intro to "I'm the Man Who Loves You" for more than a year now. And away from the stage, a beautiful young girl (no older than 9 or 10) had us transfixed as she played air guitar to each selection, sometimes strumming, but often shredding, as appropriate.

On a less flippant note, Nels has made "Impossible Germany" a nightly showstopper with the improvisations and digressions he introduces to the song, but today's performance was one for the books. Yes, I know I've said that about a million times before, but I've never seen Nels in such a zone, with his eyes nearly rolling out of their sockets and his body all but knotted around his guitar as he cleaved out notes that no one could've guessed were possible.

Nels revealed his inspiration at the end of the tune, when, catching his breath, he marched up to Jeff's mic and emphatically dedicated the song to John Cipollina. Jeff, in turn, took the opportunity to defuse the drama by calling it a "pretty good solo" and pointing out Nels's pants predicament, as mentioned above.

Wilco, Outside Lands Festival, August 24, 2008

Word is Wilco's headlining opportunities have drawn to a close for the year, though some high-profile opening slots await. If this was indeed our last chance for 2008, I couldn't have asked for a better send-off--but I hold out hope that another hurrah awaits. À bientôt.

See also:
» used to be one of the rotten ones
» feels lucky to have you here
» i try to stay busy

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

used to be one of the rotten ones

I misspoke; before I could see Wilco again, I had to get through three days of the Outside Lands Festival, which took place literally five blocks from my flat. You really can't say no to that. The Wilco summation will follow; for now, here's the rest of the weekend.

Outside Lands Festival, August 26-27, 2008: Granted, if Wilco weren't on the bill, I'd probably would've stayed home altogether, as I did on Friday, when the park was apparently packed (like you'll have any problems finding those concert reports elsewhere).

The thing is, I hate festivals, though I wasn't always like this. I once pined for the U.K. summer festivals--until my overarching love of British music peaked in 2000. Oh sure, I've been to one, two, or even three in the States, but more often than not, I skip them, including those in my part of the world featuring my favorite bands. Yes, I'm looking at you, 2005 Download Festival, with Doves and British Sea Power.

On top of that, I'm a bad festival-goer. I don't go to discover new talent; the club bookers in San Francisco typically guarantee a nice stream of up-and-coming bands in more reasonably sized venues. And despite paying the supersize ticket price, I don't get much bang for my buck. Instead, I do what I always do: camp out for my favorite(s). I did exactly that on Sunday, though thankfully, the Twin Peaks stage hosted most of the bands I wanted to see anyway. Saturday, meanwhile, was left for milling about, and in the process, I finally saw some new-to-me acts.

Hands down, my favorite act of the weekend (barring my usual obsessions) was Broken Social Scene, and not just because they namechecked Wilco as "America's best band" as they signed off or even because they brought Spiral Stairs, née Scott Kannberg, à la Pavement, vis-à-vis Preston School of Industry for their final song. I haven't seen them in concert in a few years, but You Forgot It in People ruled my airwaves for a time, and it was great to be reminded why. I think I counted 11 people onstage at one point, and at another juncture, we witnessed six or seven guitar players all slinging their trade at the same time. I loved it when I saw them at Bimbo's, and it translated even better to the festival, where they managed to sound simultaneously dreamy and rocking.

Broken Social Scene, Outside Lands Festival, August 24, 2008

Theatrics aside, I also got a better idea of the band's numerous fluid layers and interplay, not to mention who was responsible for what song and the different influences they brought to the collective. Random thoughts: So Brendan Canning has been singing those songs? Why didn't I recognize Andrew Whiteman when I saw him with Apostle of Hustle? And indeed, Kevin Drew is no small presence either. I especially loved it when he silently directed Liz Powell to join Amy Milan on vocals for "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl"--proof that Broken Social Scene never squanders a collaborative opportunity. Yay Canadian collectives!

Broken Social Scene, Outside Lands Festival, August 24, 2008

Other highlights include Andrew Bird, whose majestic tunes filled the expanse admirably, and Lupe Fiasco, who was just pure fun. I think I recognized two whole songs from the latter, but I totally appreciated that Vallejo ranked high on his list of Bay Area shout-outs.

Andrew Bird, Outside Lands Festival, August 24, 2008

My goal on Saturday was to catch the set by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, a band I've always liked, even if I couldn't admit it to my Brit-addled friends in the early '80s. Judging by our reception smack dab in the middle of the Polo Field, you might have guessed we were watching Benmont Tench and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but that geekiness aside, they delivered a ton of hits, along with some covers, obscurities, and a couple of tracks with Steve Winwood.

I'm a sucker for the audience singalong, which is what we heard for several songs, such as "Free Falling," "I Won't Back Down," and just about every other song they played. But what may have been my biggest takeaway from their set was witnessing a true rock 'n' roll frontman ply his trade. I see very few arena-filling bands, so I'm always surprised by the energy, ego, and, well, absurdity required to engage the audience. Sure, it's present to a certain extent with any band on any stage, but I suppose there's often a tongue-in-cheek or self-deprecating element to the so-called indie rockers I favor. Not so here--and it suitably complemented the audience's wide-eyed embrace of the songs just fine.

Unfortunately, I can't say I enjoyed every musician who performed over the weekend. I won't even bother discussing ALO, but I was hoping for more from Nellie McKay and Regina Spektor. Granted, I'm not a huge fan of female singers as it is, but their appeal evaded me for different reasons. Nellie easily qualifies as eccentric, but she struck me as someone who tries way too hard, and I couldn't find her actual songs underneath all the patter. Regina, however, didn't engage me at all.

See also:
» rosin smells and turpentine smells
» here comes the action
» the power of suggestion, the element of chance
» feels lucky to have you here

Friday, August 22, 2008

i try to stay busy

foam finger...which, over the course of the last couple of weeks, has encompassed sitting on the couch with a No. 1 foam finger wrapped around my hand, hooting "USA! USA! Wooooooo!" at the TV, and fanning myself off at the mere mention of the Water Cube. These Olympian achievements have also inspired me to contemplate setting a new personal record: how many consecutive shows I can attend that involve only Wilco, members of Wilco, that other name that dominates this blog, or any combination thereof. I await the medal ceremony.

Wilco, The Winery at Eagle Knoll, August 20, 2008: Speaking of records, I embarked on perhaps my most extensive rock tourism run around this time last year, starting in Vancouver, covering much of the Western seaboard and wrapping up in Denver. My plans are less ambitious this summer (if you ignore the not inconsequential trip to Alaska), and I even cut back on the initial itinerary, finally settling on Boise alone.

Part of the fun of rock tourism is venturing to places I'd probably never go otherwise, and in that regard, Idaho has ranked high on the list for some time--partially because of its relative proximity to California, partially due to the potatoes, and partially as a function of the goofy punch line it would provide at some point in the future. Truly, dreams can come true! (That said, if the gig had taken place the same week that men's Olympic swimming was broadcast, this report might not even exist.)

But as I've robotically repeated a million times, the best thing about these out-of-the-way places is often the venue itself. In Boise, this meant a small winery--not at all like the courtly and colorless complexes more common in my part of the world. Instead, we found ourselves in a small rolling amphitheater-like space. Outside of what we discovered was the unofficial standing-room pit area, the concert-goers spread out blankets and lawn chairs, while the stage might as well have been a gazebo. Jeff Tweedy himself commented that it felt like they were playing in someone's backyard.

I think we came to decide that the Alaska shows were almost like warm-up gigs, albeit thousands of miles away. That is, they were loose and less than perfect, though not without their charm. Back in the lower 48, we didn't witness anything on a par with Alaska's more pronounced missteps, but the band didn't quite stay in the lines either. (Note: I hate staying in the lines.)

Wilco, The Winery at Eagle Knoll, August 20, 2008To the band's credit, malfunctioning equipment led to a couple of diversions, most prominently when the bass started making crackling noises. John, understandably, seemed particularly flustered, but so did Jeff, who remarked he was "dying" up there as he tried to banter with us while their staff brought out amps and fiddled with cords. Though not fully content, they launched into "Handshake Drugs" anyway, and it was probably more than a minute into the song before John's resourceful tech switched out the bass guitar--problem solved!

Since I'm going with the "bad news first" model, I'll also mention there was a matter with Jeff's mic (also fixed by one of the trusty crew) and a slightly off-harmony "War on War." Then again, I'm not sure how many people noticed the latter.

But on the flip side, there was plenty to enjoy too. I loved that they opened with "Hummingbird," Jeff extended an admiring "nice" to Nels on "Walken," Jeff kissed Glenn's "guns," and I got a great reminder of what that one riff in "Poor Places" does to me.

Wilco, The Winery at Eagle Knoll, August 20, 2008

Capping off the night was a real treat, wholly unsuspected: The band brought on Fleet Foxes, the openers, for Dylan's "I Shall Be Released." We had heard it in soundcheck but didn't put much faith in it being played right away, as the kinks seemingly needed to be worked out. In fact, I was resigned to the idea that I'd have to enjoy the rough version--but I was glad to be proven wrong.

Wilco, The Winery at Eagle Knoll, August 20, 2008

The camaraderie between the bands had been clear, with several members of each group coming out for the other's set, but it was cemented here. In his intro, Jeff praised their singing, and at the end, everyone was smiling and hugging.

Wilco, The Winery at Eagle Knoll, August 20, 2008

Next stop: Home, where the streak continues.

See also:
» all of my maps have been overthrown

Saturday, August 09, 2008

you don't have to be a prostitute

There's no arguing whether I'll schedule my monthly trip to Largo; the question, though, is which weekend to target. When I don't have the excuse of showing a friend around town or some other conveniently timed event, I fall back on a rule of Largo: If there's anything weird on the schedule, just book yourself a ticket. You never know what will turn up.

First National International New Zealand Day, Largo at the Coronet, August 2, 2008: How big a nerd am I? When I saw this pop up on Largo's schedule, I Googled facts on New Zealand to see if this gig was connected to a national holiday or celebration. Only once that was settled could I fully appreciate the show for what it was: a brilliant grouping of talent, even outdoing the Australia (but actually Scotland by way of Australia)/New Zealand bill I saw a couple of summers ago.

If you've been following Largo's recent bookings, you could make a reasonable guess at some of the names who'd show up tonight. That prospect was good enough for me to plonk down the bucks, but in truth, I harbored another hope, albeit one in vain, as it turned out.

So nope, no Neil Finn or Liam Finn, for that matter, though at least Finn the Younger had an iron-clad alibi (something about a tour with Eddie Vedder). That was hardly a showstopper, however, as a boatload of Kiwis filled out the roster nicely.

Was there any doubt who the headliners would be? Only if you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years. Although it was no shock to once again enjoy a night out with the Flight of the Conchords at Largo, we were a bit taken aback by the rock star reception they elicited. Then again, I suppose the line and the people inquiring about extra tickets outside the theater should've been a giveaway.

To their credit, Bret and Jemaine were just as hilarious as I recall, and they didn't show any signs that their incredible U.S. success has changed them. Instead, they served as the evening's master of ceremonies, introducing each guest, as well as dispensing the songs and banter that have won them such an enthusiastic following. They opened with "Robots" and closed with "Leggy Blonde," and threw in a couple of other songs we've heard before, but as far as I remember, every other song was new and, presumably, a sneak preview of the second season of their HBO series.

About those new tunes: I recall hearing one ("Ex-Girlfriend Choir"?) of them at Jon Brion's closing show at the old Largo, though this time Bret had help on the chorus, in the form of Bic Runga. Another insanely great tune was Bret's appeal to Jemaine to not sell his body. Also, at one point, Bret made use of a child-size Flying V guitar, while Jemaine never wandered far from his omnichord.

Joining the Conchords were Rhys Darby, a.k.a. Murray from the series, who performed his stand-up routine, as well as slipped into character for a couple of bits. Also onstage were the Runga sisters, Boh and Bic. I wasn't aware of Boh until earlier this year, but Bic's name has been associated with Neil Finn for a while, though I never had the chance to see them on tour together.

Their styles were quite different from one another, Boh occupying the more rock range, while Bic showed off a folksier side. As mentioned above, Bic and the Conchords collaborated for a few numbers, including one of her compositions, and they revealed that Bic and Jemaine are distant cousins. Though all the evening's performers exuded warmth and ease with one another, nowhere was that camaraderie more evident than it was with Bic, Bret, and Jemaine.

See also:
» it's business time
» all is full of love

Thursday, August 07, 2008

they were blowing like a hurricane

Believe it or not, this visit to Largo coincided perfectly with the timetable I've worked out to balance ("balance") my need to see Jon Brion's shows with my need to stay in my own area code--though it's subject to change in case of emergencies, of course (all rights reserved).

Jon Brion, Largo at the Coronet, August 1, 2008: Tonight, the crowd was the sparsest I've yet seen come out for Jon at Largo at the Coronet, but it was probably a little more than the old place would've accommodated. Perhaps in acknowledgement, Flanny commented in his intro that he likes it when the place isn't packed and not to worry because they are making money. Whew!

Jon opened with a "peppy little number called 'For Fuck's Sake'"--in other words, a somber, scattered improvisational piano piece. The piano remained the centerpiece as Jon pressed through five of his own tunes, all of which he tweaked, either in their arrangement or phrasing, some more radically than others. For example, "Here We Go" kicked off with an entirely different vocal take, the normally well-mannered song transformed into a dark, desperate entreaty. Even the piano playing shifted, and the tune's beautifully straightforward underpinnings could barely contain the complex derivations that Jon hinted at as the song unfolded. I wondered if one of those emotional, scary shows awaited us; as it turned out, we wouldn't have a definitive answer for a little while.

I don't think we heard a traditional take for any of the remaining selections in this string of originals, but none as extensively reimagined as "Here We Go." However, that's no disrespect to the imploring "Knock Yourself Out"; "Happy with You," more nuanced than usual, with the cadence charmingly provided by Jon's tapping feet; or the revised "Roll with You" or "Trouble" that rounded out this segment.

The next song, a smoky ballad built from the drums up, may be another original, but I can't confirm it. After that, we got a bit of solo electric guitar appreciation, first with the standard "I Really Don't Want to Know," then an extended freestyle exercise that the audience had trouble following. We weren't sure exactly when it ended, leaving the room in silence for a few moments until Jon conspicuously quoted several concluding motifs we were sure to know.

The requests portion of the night kicked off with "Amateur," my suggestion--actually, the only suggestion offered at that point, but the rest of the peanut gallery soon took up the slack. It was no surprise to hear a call for the Commodores' "Easy" from the audience, but more surprisingly, Jon vowed to learn the lyrics, as he "loves" the song. Instead, we got a sweet instrumental nod.

I'm not sure how this led to a couple more of his own works, but I'm not complaining, as they paved the way for the extravaganza to follow. It started off with "Here Come the Warm Jets," which inspired a full-body performance from Jon, seen hopping and grinning all over the stage, as well as playing the shit out of the drums.

That alone might've been pretty cool, but there was more to come. Back at the piano, Jon added layers of vocoder, chamberlin, celeste, and analog synth, then took the tune in the direction of the Buzzcocks. Less predictable, however, was the turn toward "Ruin My Day," which kept the familiar melody but set it against a bleeping, blipping background; it was almost like watching a remix in real time. Then he brought it back to Eno, and thus, concluded the set.

In the drum solo that started the second set, I heard a bit of "The End," but a ton more references likely snuck in as well. More recognizable was Jon's own "You Made the Girl," but I don't really want to talk about the song. Instead, I'll mention Jon ran through several covers and requests, interspersed with a chaotic keyboard cacophony.

The first guest of the night was Sebastian Steinberg, who, as natural as can be, emerged with the metal stand-up bass we first saw a few weeks ago. On Jon's urging, Sebastian unleashed a bass solo, but what I really dug was their ensuing duet, an effortlessly cool, jazzy number.

They attempted a couple of Who songs but couldn't quite get the lyrics down--foreshadowing later developments in the show. They recruited Sean Nelson, perhaps for some help in the lyrics department, and he fell right in with the co-conspirators. Sean's confession of having performed Tommy in its entirety inspired a similar admission from Jon (heck, I saw at least one of these occurrences just last summer). Their braggadocio was soon exposed when their collective knowledge failed them two songs later.

But rather than call the whole thing off, they came clean and took requests for song fragments--thus taking the show in a new and entirely inspired direction. In fact, they eventually worked up a complete band manifesto wherein they rejected the tyranny of full performances for their 21st-century approach.

Some notable asides: Jon calling Colin Blunstone "107" years old, though he and Sean had nothing but admiration for Colin's voice; Jon flipping off the audience after pulling off a fragment of "Solsbury Hill" (Sean: "All song requests are secretly dares." Jon: "Secretly?"); and a hilarious, drawn-out discussion of Donovan, covering the merits of "Atlantis"--which also, incidentally, drew Benmont Tench out of the shadows--a laughable gig Jon and Flanny attended about 15 years ago, and finally, the perfect punch line delivered by Benmont himself. It was so beautifully timed, delivered, and true, in fact, that it sent Jon hopping once again across the stage and proclaiming his love for the music biz. Also, "This is bullshit" rang out repeatedly.

Benmont, I believe, provided the brilliant suggestion for Sean Watkins's first song, a Weezer cover that Sean claimed shared a lineage with the bluegrass he's better known for. The Fats Waller tune simultaneously took them back to more familiar territory and served as the inspiration for the second Buzzcocks song of the night (there was some mention of similar chords).

David Garza perked up the proceedings with the anthemic "Rock and Roll Music," which inspired Benmont's suggestion of "I'll Follow the Sun." Flanny helped navigate their lull, yelling "Gypsy" from the back, which David obliged.

Finally, it was sing-along time, though in not quite the same spirit as I've seen before. Instead, Sean Nelson and Jon stepped up to the front of the stage and yelled requests at us. Jon also commanded the crew to kill the stage lights and turn up the house lights, and ordered us to sing the Turtles. Apropos of the night's show, we really only knew the chorus; clearly, we were in lockstep with the musicians themselves.

After such hijinks, is it any surprise that we closed the night with a "Wild Thing/Louie Louie" medley? Of course not. And it sure beats "Freebird" any day.

Set 1
--piano noodling
--Here We Go
--Knock Yourself Out
--Happy with You
--I'm on a Roll with You
--Before You Broke My Heart
--I Really Don't Want to Know
--guitar noodling
--Please Stay Away from Me
--So I Fell in Love with You
--Here Come the Warm Jets/You Say You Don't Love Me/Ruin My Day/Here Come the Warm Jets

Set 2
--The End/drum solo/You Made the Girl
--Fooling Myself
--Pulling Mussels from the Shell [Les Paul style]
--Somebody Made for Me
--Tangled Mind

w/Sebastian Steinberg
--bass solo
--jazz duet
--I Can't Reach You
--So Sad About Us

w/Sean Nelson and Sebastian Steinberg
--The Kids Are Alright [vox = Sean Nelson]
--Tommy Can You Hear Me [vox = Sean Nelson]
--Tattoo [vox = Sean Nelson]
--Instant Karma
--I've Just Seen a Face
--Life's a Gas
--Alone Again Naturally
--Care of Cell 44 [vox = Sean Nelson]
--Strawberry Fields [vox = Sean Nelson]
--Spider-Man theme
--Solsbury Hill
--Last Train to Clarksville
--Peace Train [vox = Sean Nelson]
--Season of the Witch

w/Benmont Tench, Sean Nelson, and Sebastian Steinberg
--Atlantis [vox = Benmont]
--Mellow Yellow
--Aaron Copland jam

w/Sean Watkins, Benmont Tench, Sean Nelson, and Sebastian Steinberg
--Pink Triangle [vox = Sean Watkins]
--It's a Sin to Tell a Lie [vox = Sean Watkins]
--Ever Fallen in Love with Someone [vox = Sean Nelson]

w/David Garza, Sean Watkins, Benmont Tench, Sean Nelson, and Sebastian Steinberg
--Rock and Roll Music [vox = David Garza]
--I'll Follow the Sun
--Gypsy [vox = David Garza]
--Happy Together
--Wild Thing/Louie Louie

See also:
» you don't know the meaning of the blues
» bang bang shoot shoot
» i can come to my senses

Sunday, August 03, 2008

all of my maps have been overthrown

The late-setting sun worked to our advantage as we covered the nearly 400-mile stretch between Fairbanks and Anchorage, which we had to negotiate to get to the Wilco gig the next day. Also helpful: an unexpected stop in the tiny town of Nenana, where we enjoyed a midnight meal of cheeseburger and fries in a locals-only bar. The combo never tasted so good, nor could the locals themselves have been more welcoming.

Wilco, Moose's Tooth Parking Lot, July 26, 2008: They had me at "Alaska," but I was totally committed to taking this trip when I heard that Wilco's Anchorage show would take place in the parking lot of a pizzeria charmingly named Moose's Tooth. Oddly, the scenario has proved more resistible to most of the people who've had to listen to me talk about the trip. No, the acoustics weren't exactly world class, and as it turned out, we were spared no relief from the rain for most of the day.

The nonstop rain, I admit, affected my enjoyment, but my lack of preparation had something to do with it. (Note to self: A cotton hoodie is not appropriate rain gear.) With bellies full of delicious pizza and our hotel just across the street, we managed nonetheless.

Wilco, Moose's Tooth Parking Lot, 7-26-08

The band was a bit more pulled together for this show. Jeff referred to the rain often, perhaps trying to bolster our spirits, and even stepped out from underneath their protective awning later in the show to assure us that it wasn't too wet. Tellingly, he also quickly ducked back into the dry zone.

More impressive was Nels's guitarwork in "Forget the Flowers," which led both Jeff and John to gape, the latter mouthing "wow" at the frenzy. John got his own turn in the spotlight when the band performed his Wilco track, "It's Just That Simple," which featured a particularly relaxed-looking Jeff on bass. For "Casino Queen," Glenn introduced a newly syncopated bridge that Heidi identified as an homage to "Mississippi Queen" (a song we've done exactly once in Rock Band, and only because Evonne knew it).

Wilco, Moose's Tooth Parking Lot, 7-26-08

For the second time, we heard both "One Wing" and "Sunny Feeling," which sounded even better this time around. "Sunny Feeling," especially, revealed its darker undertones set against that bopping beat. I also finally realized what song "One Wing" brings to mind, but it's such a stretch, it's not even worth naming.

We closed out our stay in Anchorage with a few planned forays, such as a drive out to Chugach National Forest for a short glacier cruise and a walk around an animal preserve, as well as visits to a coffee shack and my namesake restaurant.

What we didn't anticipate: the mysterious case of the disappearance of Hot Licks in Anchorage and Alaska Airlines unceremoniously canceling our flight. Thus, Annie and I extended our stay in town for one more night, dozing not far from the stuffed albino beaver. It was not the way I wanted to end our trip, but after a short cool-off period, I was able to get over the grumpiness. It's not likely I'll ever get back to Alaska, but with such amazing memories of a great trip with wonderful pals and awesome adventures, I wouldn't rule it out either.

See also:
» choo choo charlie had a plenty good band