As I mentioned at the end of last week, I traveled to Noblesville, Indiana this past weekend for two nights of shows performed by the Dave Matthews Band. Kim and I both took the late evening flight out of Denver to Indianapolis. Her parents and brother Nick met us at the airport and they were soon on their way to a nice family trip to Lake Monroe south of Indianapolis. Shortly after their departure, a group of my friends arrived at the airport to escort me to the campground out in Noblesville, about an hour from the airport. We didn’t arrive until sometime around two in the morning. There were only a couple of guys still up at the campsite when I arrived, we had a couple of drinks, did some catching up, and then headed to bed with the others.
Friday morning came quickly. Even though we had already setup nearly a dozen tents, we continued to have more and more friends arriving at the campground every hour. I spent some time getting my tent ready early that morning, and decided not to put the rainfly on to let air flow through the tent to keep it cooler. Besides, there was a zero percent chance of rain on Friday when I had checked a day or so earlier. By early afternoon all of our friends had arrived and we spent the rest of the time before the show playing cornhole, ladder balls, tossing footballs, etc. It was awesome to catch up with everyone, many of whom I hadn’t seen since our wedding nearly two years ago, and some even longer than that.
That takes us right up to just before six in the evening, when the doors of the amphitheater opened up. We all headed over early to check out an amazing band, Elmwood, who were playing the side stage. Many of my friends had seen them play before, in fact some where in Indianapolis the night before attending their show, but I had yet to see them. Right away I was blown away by the amount of talent that was on display. I already have one of their albums, and would highly recommend checking them out. From there we moved to the main stage as Robert Earl Keen started their opening set. This band doesn’t fit into the mold of music that I typically listen to, but I still recognized their talent and abilities. It was neither great or un-great.
Just as DMB was scheduled to take the stage a little after eight, an announcer got on mic and let everyone know that there was a storm about to hit and that the show was going to be delayed. Just after the announcement, the skies unleashed their fury on the lawn. Fortunately my friend Fighty and I had seats in the pavilion so we remained dry. However, I realized that I had left the rainfly off of my tent and that nearly everything I brought was going to be soaked! The show was delayed for quite some time, but eventually the band was allowed to play and they still performed a full length set. The energy that started the beginning of this set was amazing. It all started with a crowd sing along of Sublime’s “Santaria” launching into the band taking the stage with “JTR.” I believe it rained through much of the show, and that trend continued all night. We walked up the lawn on the way out and it was a swampy mess. Back at camp, some friends of ours had a large enough tent for a group of us to sit in for the remainder of the night. And fortunately some other friends had an extra tent that I slept in that night.
Saturday was essentially a repeat of the prior day for the first part: more games, more conversation, and more drinks. My brother and his friend Nick joined us for most of that afternoon, and also met us at the sidestage to see another Elmwood performance. If it was even possible, I think their performance was even better this second day. Toward the end of their set DMB touring musician, Rashawn Ross, was even there to catch the talented band play. We skipped the majority of Robert Earl Keen’s set this second day to hang out at the sidestage area. DMB’s set was not delayed this night, and it again started off great. So great in fact that this is probably one of their better shows I have seen in many years. Highlights for me include Stay or Leave, Recently, Warehouse, heck nearly the entire show.
The entire weekend was awesome, even though I now have a destroyed library book that I’ll have to replace as it didn’t survive my flooded tent. By the end of the second night my tent and most other possessions had finally dried out and I was able to use the gear that I lugged with me all the way from Denver. Even the storms couldn’t ruin our trip and it was so great to see so many friends again and catch up with all of them. With DMB not going on tour next summer it sounds like we may have to find something else to do for our gathering.