The first weekend in August just exploded with tons of great events going on, and lots of excitement. Working with On The Go-Go I had the opportunity to go see Sugarland at the Les Schwab amphitheater, interview Kim Breedlove, the master luthier behind Breedlove Guitars, and finally cover a concert by Blues Legend Johnny Winter. What a weekend, and that was just work. For fun I went rafting down the Deschutes River with my friends from Bikram yoga, and got to go paddle boarding with surfing legend Jerry Lopez.
SugarLand at the Les Schwab Amphitheater
The Sugarland concert rocked. I don’t know how many people can attend the concerts at Bend’s Les Schwab amphitheater, but it looked like a sell out crowd. In addition to the jam packed venue there were crowds of people lining the opposite bank of the Deschutes river in the Old Mill district of Bend, and a number of rafts, canoes, and kayaks on the river. People were wearing all kinds of boots, belts, buckles, and hats with a western flavor in support of the award winning country duo. The equestrian scene is pretty big in Bend so there were lots of girls wearing english riding boots.
I was invited with my video camera not to capture the band, there was a CMT crew set up for that, but to be available to the promoters if there was an OLCC incident. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has been causing a big stir recently with numerous local businesses and promoters complaining to city, county, and state officials about uneven, arbitrary, and malicious enforcement of code. There weren’t any incidents for me to video tape at this particular event. The concert rocked. If you enjoy country music, and have a chance to go see Sugarland, don’t miss it.
Each year Breedlove guitars hosts a three day festival featuring some of the finest acoustic guitars made in North America. I had the pleasure of catching Kim Breedlove and Bill Keale onstage and later doing an interview with Kim. Boy I really blew the interview. After their performance onstage I approached Kim about doing an interview, and he said that would be fine with him. Could I wait about an hour. That was pretty simple since there was a lot to see at the Breedlove factory. I was inside checking out the guitars and shooting some video when it began to rain outside. This was a pretty heavy storm that took down the power for a bit. Peter Newport, president of Breedlove Guitars, moved everyone outside inside. Onstage performing at the time was The California Guitar Trio. Outside maybe 1/4 of the seats available were filled. Inside it was a packed house in a very intimate setting. I’ve caught it all on video. However I didn’t manage my power very well which is how I screwed up the interview with Kim Breedlove. When he came over I was down to my last 5 minutes of tape and the end of the battery. Figured that I had enough tape and battery to get the interview, but I figured wrong. I only had enough tape. The battery died just as we were getting started. I’m sorry Kim. I hope you’ll let me do it again sometime.
Rafting Big Eddy
Sunday came around and I went rafting down the Deschutes River with a bunch of my friends from Bikram yoga. We had a great day on the river with Michael Harris, the studio owner, promising a free month of yoga to the person who could hold standing bow pulling pose on the bow of a raft the longest. Sounded like a fun thing to try. I can tell you that trying to balance on the bow of a raft is tricky on two feet. Trying to balance on one foot while getting into and holding one of the most difficult postures is very tricky. In several attempts I managed to hold for about 7 seconds. A good effort, but not the winner. A 17 year old girl in my raft managed to get into and hold the posture for about 12 seconds before going into the river. Anyway it was a lot of fun watching everyone trying. The next day in class my balance was really dialed in. Moving, bouncing raft… difficult to balance on. Solid, steady, unmoving studio floor… no problem.
The major rapid on this run is called Big Eddy. It’s a class 3 plus primarily because of the narrow river and lava rock that the currents push into. Not particularly difficult in a raft. I really want to have a solid combat roll before I try it in a hardshell kayak. Can’t wait to try though.
Paddleboarding with Jerry Lopez
Monday morning after a great weekend I went to yoga at 9:00AM. My teacher that morning, Molly, asked me if I was going to go paddleboarding after class. Paddleboarding is becoming a very popular sport around Oregon and it involves a very large surfboard and a very long paddle. The last time I tried was during the Alder Creek Paddlefest in April, and I went swimming. It’s a tricky thing to learn. My plan had been to go to yoga then go do laundry. I had a pile to dirty clothes to wash, and was trying to figure out when I’d get it done so my first thought was to skip the paddleboarding. Then she said that Jerry was going out with us. Jerry Lopez?
When I was in high school I was really excited about surfing. Kind of odd for a kid in Louisiana miles and miles away from any kind of surf let alone the amazing barrels at pipeline. Still I was into surfing and Jerry Lopez was a big name. He was riding waves at Pipeline that were insane. Now he lives in Bend, Oregon and I had a chance to meet him.
Jerry is a very cool laid back kind of guy. He’s really good on a paddleboard, and knows how to teach really well. We paddled up river to Bill Healy bridge (1.3 miles upstream from Alder Creek) I was surprised at what a workout this was for my core muscles and my legs. We had a group of about 7 boards and had a lot of fun. It won’t take the place of kayaking for me, but I’ll probably do some more paddleboarding when I get the chance. It’s a great way to enjoy flatwater.
Blues Legend Johnny Winter
Monday evening and it was time to go to the Tower Theater to listen to Blues Legend Johnny Winter. During the sound check the guys were having a hard time with the boominess of the drums and bass. The Tower is a finicky room when it comes to sound, and the local sound guy Jonah is a genius at figuring out how to set the mix. Too bad Johnny’s sound guy didn’t listen to him. The concert was fun. They played to a packed house, and really raised the roof. Still Johnny was drowned out in the drums and bass. You can tell that Winter has really lived a hard life. The members of his band help him on and off stage, and he prefers to use lightweight guitars, but the guy still slams out a great performance. I listened to several songs before my ears gave up on the sound. What a way to finish a great weekend.