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Posted on Friday, August 6th, 2010

Dave!This afternoon I headed over to the coast because my sister's friend had scored tickets to the Natalie Merchant concert at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville. As a long-time fan of both her solo career and her work with 10,000 Maniacs, this was a fantastic opportunity... especially considering that she hadn't released a new album in the past seven years.

Natalie's new CD, Leave Your Sleep is a very interesting experiment into converting poetry about childhood from 19th and 20th century writers into music. And while some songs definitely succeed more than others, the sheer variety of musical styles and subjects are both mind-boggling and beautiful. First she's singing about how one explains war to a child, and then the next song she's singing about crazy-ass flavors available at a fantastical ice cream shop. It's a very interesting work, and is pure Natalie Merchant from start to finish...

Natalie Merchant Leave Your Sleep

And while Natalie's performance was beautiful, as expected, the concert itself did have some problems. Previously when attending a show at Chateua Ste. Michelle, I sat in the seated area, which is just like any other concert you might attend. This time we sat behind the seating area where people spread blankets and watch the concert picnic style... enjoying bottles of wine and dinner while they watch. Unfortunately, the more informal "seating" in the picnic area encourages people to goof around and let their kids run ape-shit, blocking your view... but, even worse, people won't shut the hell up while you're trying to listen to the music. At one point I was really enjoying the witty and complex lyrics to Bleezer's Ice-Cream when some drunken douchebag started screaming at everybody to get up and dance, ruining the moment completely. After that some bitch behind us started going on and on and on about selling her house, which pretty much ruined the next two songs. It was so discouraging, we actually packed up our crap and left a little early because there was little point in staying if people were just going to talk the whole damn time.

So depressing.

But Natalie tried to maintain good humor throughout, often talking to audience members who walked in late by updating them as to what songs they missed: "...Ooooh... then I sang Gold Rush Brides... I'll bet you're really sorry you missed that one!" and "That hot dog looks delicious. I'll bet it goes great with the wine!"

Overall, a great night... just not as good as it could have been had people shut the fuck up and minded their kids.

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Categories: Music 2010Click To It: Permalink


  1. You can call me, 'Sir' says:

    I am generally against inconsiderate people procreating, and am therefore a huge proponent of the spaying and/or neutering of the vacuous and self-involved members of society. This seems like the most effective avenue toward curbing the spread of jackassery.

  2. Barnmaven says:

    I had the pleasure of going to see Diana Krall last year (we do employee drawings for every concert, its kind of nice). Maybe the Jazz crowd is more sensitive to the atmosphere of the event, but there were almost no children and it was a well-behaved crowd.

    If there was anything you think that the winery could have done to make it better, shoot me an email and I’ll let the event folks know. Natalie Merchant is an incredible talent and its a shame the experience was tainted by the crowd’s behavior.

  3. Hilly Sue says:

    Gotta love Natalie Merchant for keeping her sense of humor and being so damned graceful about it.

  4. A. Lewis says:

    I must admit, that I simply had to “get over it” in situations like these. Outdoor music and concerts. We go to many each summer and its always a circus of children, running, dogs, food, wine, and CHIT CHAT. I’d rather have it there than, say, in a concert hall — where, unfortunately, it also happens. That really gets me going. So, for outside, I try to let it go…..not always possible for me.

  5. Finn says:

    I love, love, love Natalie. Have yet to hear this new stuff, but I want to check it out.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would pay good money to go to a concert and NOT listen to the music. Crazy.

  6. Yeah, I’ve never been able to get into the whole “dinner theater” concept. I’m there to listen and that’s the only one of my five senses I want engaged.

  7. nicole says:

    I feel your pain, Dave. It’s like when we go to see an event at a stadium/theater (take your pick, it doesn’t really matter) and the people in our row spend more time talking and getting up to get endless food/drinks, completely missing most of what’s going on. I just loooove having to stand up and miss the action 50 million times in one evening. It’s not like I paid good money for my ticket or anything. It’s a bit more expected at a sporting event, but I’ve had it happen when we go to see stand-up comedians too. Why spend all that money on a ticket to spend even more money buying overpriced food/drinks and miss half of the show? Why can’t people sit still and shut the fuck up for 2-3 hours? Is it really that difficult?

  8. delmer says:

    I went to something like this years ago. I can’t recall who the artist was… but I do recall that the folks who were seated in the “spread your blanket area” had their views totally blocked by the goofballs who decided to stand at the rope three people deep.

    I, somehow, was seated at a table and could see just fine. But I wasn’t oblivious to the problem caused by the rope crowders.

  9. dj inouye says:

    It was lame….. people need to check their kids, but glad you came Dave!

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