Tag Archives: AROTR

Abbey Road on the River 2009


I did blog during my and Madalyn’s trip to AROTR but it was on my main blog. Rather than copy-and-paste the entire thing here and have both blogs showing identical content, I’ll just link to the two entries.

Greetings From the Banks of the Ohio River

The Return

That done, here are some more thoughts now that I’ve had a few days to absorb everything that happened over the course of the four days we were at the festival, disjointed and non-cohesive as they may be.

As befits a Libra, I am of two minds about the experience of having Madalyn along with me. On one hand we did have lots of fun. She likes to travel and loves staying in hotels so just the mere fact that we were doing that was enjoyable for her. She liked some of the music and we found some common ground in our new favorite AROTR performers, whom we followed from stage to stage all weekend. I think she certainly enjoyed the time away from her younger siblings and the opportunity to have something that was only for her and didn’t have to be shared AND where she didn’t really have any responsibilities except following me around.

Then there’s that pesky other hand. Her attention span was not what I’d have chosen it to be if I’d had my pick. Prior to the trip, when considering the subject, there was a big question mark over it in my mind. Yes, she’s only eight, but she’s a mature eight and has been listening to the Beatles her entire life. I felt it could’ve gone either way. I’d say, in the end, I’d put the behavioral percentages at about 60/40 in favor of her being antsy and/or bored.

So, where does this leave me? Well, in a bind, that’s where. At this point, if I had to make the decision right this moment for 2010, I’d chose to go back to attending alone. But here’s the problem: Madalyn liked going. She’s already asked if she can go again next year and I said yes. This was while we were still at the festival; before I’d had time to digest everything. And, in her defense, she did have times when she was very tolerant and even excited about getting back to the festival after we’d been away to grab lunch or something. But then there were those times when I intended to stay for a band’s entire set and she started nagging me to leave after two songs, even when I’d made it clear I meant to watch the entire show. And there were a number of times those exchanges ended with her pouting and having a really bad attitude. To put it in simple terms, it really harshed my buzz. I go to this festival to, in a way, commune with the Beatles and remind myself of why I love them; to let the music and its message engulf me and carry me away for a few days. That didn’t happen this year. Every time I started to have a moment it was interrupted by complaining or nagging. Then again I didn’t have much success having “moments” last year, either, and I was by myself then. I now suspect that may have been just a one-off that wouldn’t have repeated itself this year, had I made the trip solo again. Madalyn will also be a whole year older when the next AROTR rolls around, which obviously will do nothing but help in the maturity/attention span department. I don’t know…..I’m just glad I don’t have to make any decisions about it for a while.

On to happier subjects: our new favorite performer/s. I don’t even recall how but we stumbled across a band called The Sun Kings, whose lead singer, Drew Harrison, also did some acoustic solo shows during the festival. Both Madalyn and I fell for them, hard. We were but helpless fatalities of their awesomeness. Drew (solo) and The Sun Kings were the only shows that Madalyn sought out and didn’t ask to leave early. The Sun Kings have been at AROTR but somehow, shamefully, I have managed to miss them every time (the result of my previous continual wandering from stage to stage rather than sitting for a block of shows, I’m sure). I’m now annoyed with myself that I missed out on those chances to see them. It won’t happen again, though. Next year they will be the first band I look for on the schedule. Both Drew and the band play gigs around California (yes, not only are they majorly talented but they are Californians — could they be any cooler? No, they could not). I hope to maybe catch up with them somewhere in CA while we’re there this summer.

Of course I can’t rave about someone like that without providing audio/visual evidence of said awesomeness, so here we go. I am not yet finding any full-song videos of Drew or The Sun Kings from this year’s AROTR but there are songs available from last year. Here is the group performing Dig a Pony and One After 909:

And here is an all-too-short clip I filmed myself of Drew this year during a solo show. I wish I’d have recorded the entire thing but was low on room on my memory card. Hopefully those who were able to record whole songs will get those up on YouTube soon.


The Return


T-shirts bought: Six.
Books read cover to cover: One apiece.
Panhandlers helped: Two.
Bagels eaten by Madalyn: At least half-dozen.
New favorite perfomers: One.
Debit cards lost: Zero. (WOOT!)
Mixed feelings about our return: Many.

We’ve arrived home safely from Louisville. More later.

Greetings From the Banks of the Ohio River


Madalyn and I arrived, safe and sound, in Louisville around 5:15 this evening. The travel gods smiled upon us (remind me to sacrifice a Samsonite in thanks later) and both our flights went well. The second flight was funny. I like to think of myself as being a bit more knowledgeable about geography than the average American (many of whom couldn’t find their own asses with both hands and a flashlight). However, I didn’t realize just how close Cincinnati (our layover city) was to Louisville. Once we got airborne our actual flying time was sixteen minutes. That is, officially, the shortest flight I’ve ever taken. We might as well have just driven the plane down the highway (where we’d likely been stuck behind a four-foot tall blue-hair with no peripheral vision doing 50 in the fast lane in her Buick).

We buzzed over to our temporary home, the Galt House, with an only semi-crazed cab driver who, on the plus side, did refrain from swearing, at least in English. Check-in went smoothly (I am always slightly paranoid that my reservation will have been lost since I make it so far in advance). We got up to our room and I am nearly positive it’s the same room I had last year. It is the same room location, that’s for sure. I just can’t remember 100% whether it’s the same floor.

I had mandated a rest time when we arrived in the room; however, this consisted of Madalyn watching raucous Nickelodeon shows for about thirty minutes and then spending the next half-hour asking me approximately every sixty seconds when we were going to leave. So I gave in and we headed downstairs. The first thing we did was get some chow, which Madalyn wanted to sit and eat overlooking the river. Then we drifted over to the main stage and then the t-shirt/memorabilia vendors. Madalyn picked out two t-shirts for herself and I picked two for Eliza. Mad’s own cash was burning a hole in her pocket so she bought a picture of the lads. Incidentally, the hotel was giving out $40 Visa gift cards to everyone staying three days or more. I used mine to pay for Eliza’s shirts so, woohoo, free shirts!

Madalyn had been a bit complaining through all of this, wanting to move on after only a few minutes at each stop. She had spied the fountain and wanted to go play in it. There is a stage at the fountain so, in the interest of peace and preserving camaraderie, I took her over there. I sat at the fountain’s edge and listened to music and she proceeded to get soaked while making friends with every kid who passed through.

Mad had a great time splashing around, singing and dancing to the music. The sun went down while all this was going on, so, of course, she started to get cold and begged to go up to the room to dry off. When she found out there were shows going on inside the hotel she was all for changing clothes and going down to check them out, so that’s what we did (after a phone call home). Once we got there, though, the fact that she is eight years old, not fifteen, caught up with her and she only made it through four or five songs before she crashed and burned. She was cold and tired (by now it was going on 11 p.m.) So, though I’d have liked to hear the next band up, we turned in for the night. Madalyn’s now snoring away (literally) in the bed next to mine.

I have warned her that she probably won’t be allowed in the fountain every day, simply because, for one, I haven’t brought enough extra clothing for her to go through two outfits a day and, secondly, there are other bands I want to hear besides just those at the Fountain Stage. I have told her to be ready to do a lot of things I want to do tomorrow. After all, that’s the whole reason we brought the Nintendo AND books AND her MP3 player AND Webkinz — so, if she gets bored with the concerts, she can do something other than hounding me about leaving. We’ll see how it goes. She does like the music and she likes dancing. I think tonight she was just worn out. She was an hour late getting to bed last night, then we had to get up early, spend all day traveling and then she was frigid and tired after the fountain.

As for me, I am just utterly thrilled to be back. Up until we actually arrived here at the hotel the promise of the weekend’s fun was overshadowed by my usual pre-trip stressing out and rushing around trying to get everything done. This happens to me a lot. I lose sight of the preparations and travel as a means to an end and, instead, focus entirely on them and how much I dislike doing them to the point of wishing I didn’t have to go at all. That, coupled with my bad attitude during last year’s AROTR, made me wonder if I really cared much about coming any more. Turns out I do. When I walked into the hotel lobby that I now know so well it was like stepping into a haven of fun and relaxation. When I looked out our hotel window onto the festival grounds I became giddy with excitement. It just feels right to be here. Like I belong. I need to be here to feed my soul and get back in touch with things that I love that, all too often these days, are shoved aside and ignored while I deal with life. I need to be here to be reminded of why I love these four boys from Liverpool and to remember and honor them, because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.

Your new Misanthropy 2008


I hate to complain (no, really, I do, despite all evidence to the contrary). But I’ve hit a lull here in Louisville and there’s no denying it.

I’ve been having a hard time getting into the festival today. It’s crowded, which isn’t surprising. It’s always way busier on Saturday and Sunday than the first two days. So it’s not like I didn’t know all these people would be here. That didn’t stop me, however, from having a severe flare-up of misanthropy. Everyone is annoying me today. I hate the general public. They are a bunch of sheeplike, ignorant dolts. Now, I will say the people who come to this festival are slightly less offensive than the people you’d find at, say, the fair, or an amusement park. But there’s still a damned lot of them and they are all getting on my nerves.

When I do venture downstairs, it’s a major project. The elevator situation in this hotel is shocking. There are only four and they should have twice that many. It has been like this every time I’ve been here. At certain times of day people are waiting as much as fifteen minutes to find space on an elevator going up. There’s really no excuse for it. I’ve never stayed in another hotel that has been this difficult to get around — not even in Vegas. This afternoon I spent ten minutes getting downstairs only to realize I had left my admission wristband in the room and had to go through the entire process again. Ugh.

At the festival I have been having a hard time focusing today. I get down there and listen to a couple songs and then lose interest and start wandering. I haven’t been too impressed with the bands I’ve heard today, either. I’m sure part of the problem is the crowd, which is distracting. Part of it may also be homesickness. I miss my kids, I guess. It’s not so much I wish I were home as I wish they’d come with me — which is INSANE because I sincerely doubt I’d be having any more fun if they were here. Talk about distracting!

Then, of course, there was the drama of yesterday, which sort of put a damper on my mood, figuratively, and a literal damper was put on last night when I got all ready and went downstairs only to find out it was pouring rain and the show I was going to see was called off. I also thought I’d feel better-rested, getting my first solid nights’ sleeps since before Eliza was born, but I still feel just as tired as ever. On top of all this, I feel fat and sloppy and ugly….what that has to do with my enjoyment of concerts, I don’t know, but there it is. I look pregnant and I’m afraid someone’s going to ask me when I’m due, and I hate my new hair.

It also occurs to me that maybe the luster of coming on this particular trip alone has worn off. I would venture a guess that less than 2% of the attendees are here by themselves. Everyone seems to have either friends or family with them. Normally that wouldn’t bother me. It hasn’t in the past, and I sure don’t mind doing most other stuff by myself. Perhaps, though, two times alone here was the most I could find enjoyable. I think this feeling is unique to this particular activity — I don’t think I’ve lost my enthusiasm for spending time alone; just for this one, specific thing.

So there’s the happy report for today. Yikes. I’m going to hang out here for a couple of hours — the next thing I wanted to see doesn’t start until 8:30 — and perhaps I will perk up a bit. If not tonight, then maybe by tomorrow morning. I would sure like to enjoy my last day here.

If you think I’m a complete boob for spending all this money on a trip and then complaining about it, it’s probably warranted. Hopefully this is just an off day and I will be back in the swing of things tomorrow.