Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spring Tour 2010 (Flagstaff & Grand Canyon 5.6.10)

We had highly anticipated our next gig at the Flagstaff Brewing Company. It was thirsty Thursday, and more importantly, it was our first bill with the dudes in The Heavy Guilt from San Diego. It was actually just a few of them for right now…Eric Canzona and Al Howard to be exact. We set up, ate some grub and met Eric and Al as we were getting ready to soundcheck. The stripped down Guilt had Eric on acoustic and Al on percussion and other stuff. We got our first taste of The Guilt’s style when we caught their opener set. Al plays everything under the sun as a percussion instrument… including his tone bending circa 1986 modded mini boom box and a mop head with bottle caps manually attached to it.. We liked these guys from the start, and things were looking up for the next five dates we were playing with them. We were glad we dug on their music. It was a relief. By the end of the night, we had won the room of strangers over with our east coast rock style. After a chaotic load out and getaway, Precious was fueled up and ready to sprint towards the Grand Canyon for a late night camping boondoggle. We had a site reserved at this wonder of the world, and a late night push seemed like short work at this point. The reality of the leg was something different…
Long ago I had decided that seeing the Grand Canyon was one of those things I must do before I die. I would say “10 things I do before I die”, but getting to a place in Arizona is pretty attainable. All you need is some spare time and a little expendable income, and you’re there. I can’t go around having all these very attainable “10 things I do before I die” items. What happens if I knock them all off by the time I am 43, and then I have a bunch more years of living with nothing to do before I die. I guess I could have one thing on there like “eat 100 grape leaves in one sitting, or levitate”, that could keep me busy in the sunset years of my life… anyway, I digress.

The drive to the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff ended up taking a while. By the time we got to the park, the sky was early morning blue, and the loser birds were chirping. Maxi was driving, and I was in shotgun. I was very excited despite our severe lack of sleep. Max looked pretty excited too. With the rest of our posse crashed out in back, Max and I travelled up the road to the observation area to get a quick peek at the canyon before we went to sleep. As we approached the parking area, there was this unique feeling in the air. We were surrounded by short trees on either side of the road. You couldn’t really see anything special around you, but for some reason you could just sense that this massive hole in the ground was close by. I think it was similar to that feeling you get when you’re hiking, and you approach a lake in the woods. You can’t really see the lake, but you can just tell that there is big open space near you. It was either that sort of feeling or all the signs we were passing that said “Grand Canyon Viewing Area Ahead”.

Max and I walked up to the canyon at dawn. There were a fair number of observers there taking in the scene. Everyone shared in a quiet serenity. You lay your eyes on that big canyon for the first time, and nothing you have seen or heard about it before seems to have done it any real justice. We hiked out to the edge of a butte and took in the silence of the AM as sun crept up over the far edge of the canyon. There was nothing to say. We just stood there in the beauty of nature doing its finest work. It was something special. I will never forget it. It might actually be one of the top 10 things I have ever done.