Rocking Out at the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis
You could not have asked for better weather in Minneapolis for the Basilica Block Party this summer. It was slightly overcast without direct sun, warm but not too sticky, coupled with a cool breeze. It’s funny in retrospect, but we used to live within walking distance to the Basilica, in a Victorian house in the Whittier neighborhood, yet we never went to the Basilica Block Party. Now that we live in Sacramento, we go. Flew in on Friday and go home on Sunday.
The event was organized well except for the type of VIP tickets we purchased. They routed us through 3 different VIP spots, spaced far enough apart that if they were portals we could have easily created a mind control field in Ingress consisting of more than 500 mind units. The first spot they ripped our tickets in half and gave us a wrist band.
The next spot, we got a wrist band for drinks but to get any food, we had to truck clear across the venue to the opposite end, and let’s not even discuss how difficult it was to get our free t-shirts because that would lead me to talking about the parking situation and how messed up that was. Apparently somebody roped it off so no VIP ticket holders could park on the designated floor, a situation we resolved by me getting out of the car and physically removing the barrier.
We didn’t see much of my niece, Laura. Nor my sister, Margie, because neither were interested in standing in the front row to see Jenny Lewis. I mean, right there, front and center of the stage, and they didn’t want to do it. What are the younger kids coming to, I ask? Jenny Lewis came on second, as we didn’t really see the opening act because we were too busy trying to collect the right wristbands, and she was fabulous. I listened to her Voyager CD over and over when I was in Vanuatu last winter. It’s a captivating piece of work, deeply personal, wandering around lost, like most of us.
Between Jenny Lewis and Wilco was a guy from Alabama, Jason Isbell, and his band. I had never heard of him before, but I don’t listen to a lot of country, and that’s where I would put his music style. He reminded me a little bit of a young Jack Bauer on guitar, or maybe that guy who played the airline pilot in the now canceled TV show Pan Am. And hey, what’s not to like about his song: Don’t Wanna Die in a Super 8 Motel (just because somebody’s evening didn’t go well)?
Wilco was last on stage, and that meant leaving the comfy seating provided at the Great Clips bleachers and returning to the front of the stage. Except this time we could not squeeze into the front row because everybody had their little paws wrapped around the rail and they weren’t letting go. But Row 1-A was just fine with me. We’ve been to several Wilco shows in the past, and Jeff Tweedy’s performance was every bit as good, even without the heroin addiction.
We’re just fortunate, I suppose, that Sacramento real estate can support our rock and roll lifestyle.