Monday, October 08, 2007

Download Festival 2007!

It was quite an experience, not just to see BRMC in a huge venue (I actually prefer smaller ones)... this was also my first ever Cure show! I was a little Robert Smith obsessed when I was 12 or 13, then I discovered Echo & the Bunnymen. Still, I consider myself a fan of the Cure.

Anyways, this story starts around 6PM when me and my brother went to my mom's place in Irvine to pick up a minivan at the airport. My brother rented a minivan so he could bring all his friends up to enjoy the festival together. I'd told him and his friend Krissana about the festival and its amazing line up a few months ago. Jacob's friend Aaron (who took my current profile pic) found out he was free the day before the show and fortunately decided to go. After we picked up the minivan, we were off to Aaron's house to pick him up, then we all went back to our house.

Jacob and Aaron watched movies until around 2 AM, when Krissana came over from her work place. Her boyfriend Henry, friend/roommate Theresa, and another friend named Tia arrived shortly after. At around 3 AM, we were on the road to Nor Cal. We'd decided to go up to San Francisco first and drop some stuff off at Jacob's apartment. When we actually arrived in SF at around 9 or 10 AM, parking was hard to find but we managed.

Jacob and Aaron had split driving duties up to San Francisco, so they both slept while the rest of us went out for lunch. We had originally planned on going to Herbivore (for all the vegetarians/vegan in the group), but ended up eating Dosa which is Indian crepes. Henry is a chef and recommended we try it since it looked like they knew what they were doing. The food was tasty and spicy, just the way I like it!

When we got back to the building, we were lucky to find a spot right in front! That was almost as exciting the festival itself. Jacob and Aaron had asked us to pick up some food for them, so I went with Tia to get a couple Azteca burritos for them. They were very grateful to be eating something after the long drive up. Krissana and Henry were napping and Theresa had gone off with some friends to feed a cat. So we were waiting for Theresa to return and for the two lovebirds to wake up.

At around 1:30 PM, we were finally off to Mountain View for Download Festival! It was a fairly short drive with pretty decent traffic, so we arrived around 2:18 PM. The VW people were driving around asking people if they wanted a ride, so I took one with Jacob and Aaron and Krissana, Henry, Theresa, and Tia took another. Jacob told me he saw Jodi on the drive over, so we rushed over to find her. I came up to Jodi, Theresa, and Kimberly from behind. After screams of excitement, Jodi and Theresa went in through the VIP line and me and Kimberly rushed over to the main entrance.

Kimberly filled me in on the fact that BRMC were scheduled to do an interview at the Gibson bus. It took us awhile to actually find the Gibson bus, but we finally did and saw Theresa waving us over to the tent where Jodi was sitting. People were fiddling around with Gibsons and Jodi was waiting. There was a small stage set up with Gibson guitars. Robert and Peter were wandering around nearby and came over to say hi and have their interview. The guy who was interviewing them mentioned that he was going to see them in Nashville at the Ryman Auditorium, which didn't really seem to impress either of them. Robert seemed a little annoyed at the guy for not knowing their names.

The interview was really short and the questions asked were not too interesting, so I can't remember many of them:

You have a Gibson 335 on the album cover. Why do you play them?

Peter: The hollowbodies were the best guitars we could steal from people.

Did you expect to get where you are now when you first started the band?

Peter: Yeah, that was part of the plan.

Theresa asked a good question at the end about where they'd want to tour in the future as a dream destination. The response from Peter was Africa, Russia, South America, Mexico, Vietnam, etc. There really aren't many countries they haven't been so the list probably isn't that long. I think Robert was more focused on tuning one of the Gibsons on the stage, but I'm sure Jodi would remember if he answered some questions.



They did a quick signing for people who wanted signed Download Festival posters. We just waited until they were finished to talk to them and ask for a group photo. We followed them to their next interview location at the VW stage and before they went up on it, they took this photo with us:



I have trouble remembering the questions from the VW stage other than the one about mythical creatures and what they were dressing up as for Halloween (another great Theresa question, which I, Jodi, and Kimberly made her ask by pointing to her). There was a question about them being from the Bay Area and why they moved to LA, the usual answer from Robert was that it was during the Silicon Valley boom in 99 and they couldn't afford to live in San Francisco. Plus, they weren't that well received there. Oh, and Peter's favorite venue is the Paradiso and Robert's was the Fillmore in San Francisco. Or maybe he was being smarmy. Nick came up in the middle of the interview, but didn't say anything or answer any questions.



After the interview, Peter and Robert stuck around to sign more stuff and take pictures with people. We spoke with them a little more too. Robert asked me if I had the jam he did at the end of the Metro show, I told him I only had about 45 seconds of it and that Jodi had the whole thing. He later asked her if she could make it public for 24 to 48 hours (she added 20 hours) so he could hear it again. He asked her what her YouTube account name was and she was too embarrassed to tell him because of the Better than Ezra reference. After I told him what it was, she explained it was for Depeche Mode and BTE. He asked if Better Than Ezra released a good album, which I thought was funny. Of course, Jodi and Kimberly were offended.

After that, we went to our seats/lawn area to watch She Wants Revenge. I didn't think about taking photos during their set because I was talking to Kimberly most of the time. We only stayed for about half their set since we wanted to see The Black Angels on the second stage. I have seen them recently at Swerve Festival, but I took some photos of them since we had a pretty good angle for them. I only took a few photos, but here's one of them:



We had to get back to the main stage for BRMC before the Black Angels finished their set. Me and Kimberly got our stuff, which Jacob and Aaron were watching for us. Then, we moved down to the edge of the lawn nearest the seats. It was nice to BRMC from a little bit of a distance, though I did miss being right up against the stage. I had a couple 10x optical zoom cameras for me and Kimberly to use during their set, and we certainly got a lot of great shots even from so far away. Here was an unzoomed photos of the stage:



And here's some super zoomed in photos:





And some photos of the screen on the side:







Anyways, as hard as it was to see from the lawn area, me and Kimberly still managed to enjoy the set enough that some guy came up to us and remarked about how we were the only people excited in the lawn area. The set itself was longer than I expected it to be and included all the hits/singles as well as "All You Do Is Talk,""Need Some Air" and "American X." BRMC played well as usual and sounded great in the huge ampitheater. I would have preferred seeing them on the second stage, but I'm still glad they played the main stage.

After their set, we went to meet up with Theresa and Jodi again. Both our phones were dying and my portable charger/vibrator (the pocket rocket) wasn't doing it's job very well. Kimberly said it couldn't handle both of us, which made me laugh. Jodi wanted to get Cure merch and some food. I was hungry too, so I was up for getting food until I saw the prices. Jodi bought a couple Cure shirts and a program, then bought some garlic fries for Theresa, who kindly shared them with all of us. Jodi ordered a vegetarian pizza which took awhile to cook. While we were standing around enjoying the fries, Jodi saw Nick run by and yelled out his name. He responded something like, "Sorry, I'm meeting a friend."

We managed to avoid AFI and Kings of Leon's sets, though we could hear both of them from where we were standing... a double crap fest for our ears. After finishing all our food and wandering around some more to see if we could find Robert Smith, we went back to our seating areas to see the Cure's set. My phone had a little more battery power left, so I called Jacob to see where he was. He and Aaron were at the top of the lawn area because there was a bigger screen you could watch from it. For the first time that day, I saw Krissana and Henry playing around near by.

The Cure went on at around 8 and played until 11 PM, with no less than 2 encores! They played a mix of new and old songs, a few album tracks from "Head On The Door" (the only Cure album I owned on CD for awhile). The first encore was heavy on the early stuff, which was really great. I didn't expect them to play the oldies. My camera at this point was low on battery power, so I didn't take nearly as many photos of the Cure as I did of BRMC. Most of my photos were of the screen, until the end of the set when Jacob told me and Kimberly to move to the edge of the lawn. Here are some photos:











It was great to finally see the Cure. This was probably the least expensive Cure show I would probably ever be able to attend. I'm not planning on spending $400 to see them again, but I wouldn't mind seeing them again close up. That might end up costing a lot... we'll see when they start touring again next year. Still, the set was really long and it was freezing in the lawn area. My toes were frozen and numb at the end of the night. I was walking around wrapped in a blanket until we reached the car. On the way to the car, I saw Nick again, but didn't say hi. He was with his friends, I think. Jodi mentioned that she talked to him after the Cure's set since he was sitting a couple rows away from her. Apparently, Robert Smith likes BRMC and was checking out their set.

The walk to the car wasn't that bad, it gave me a chance to warm up a bit. We were all tired, but we wanted to go back to So Cal rather than San Francisco. Fortunately, Henry and Krissana were already rested in the car and decided to drive for us. It was a long tiring drive after the festival, and we made a few necessary bathroom and gas stops, which included a curb incident. Still, we managed to get back home safely at around 6 AM. It was late (or early), so we all pretty much crashed right after we got inside the house.