Sunday, September 05, 2010

David Gray, Ray LaMontagne, Tift Merritt @ Open Sky Theatre, Harrah's Rincon Casino 9/4/2010

Last night I had the pleasure of going to Harrah's Rincon Casino for David Gray, Ray LaMontagne, and Tift Merritt. The show was billed as a co-headlining tour, so David Gray & Ray LaMontagne both played full sets. Tift Merritt opened with a short set, but if you dig her alt-country vibe, she's doing a KPRI cruise next week. You can subscribe to their newsletter for info.

We arrived at the casino around 6:30 after a *meh* dinner at Bistro 221 in Escondido. We were in the center in row 18, but there were a lot of empty seats. I had planned on moving closer for David Gray, but now I wish I'd moved closer earlier because there were tons of empty seats. I suppose that's the gift and curse of casino shows...lots of tickets are given as comps for gamblers but they end up going to waste. In the meantime, Jeff threw down a lot for the tickets, so thanks Jeff, but it still makes me cringe thinking about how expensive the tickets were.

Anyway, it was about 93 degrees when we got there, but the sun dropped behind the mountains and it cooled off considerably, making it a gorgeous night in Valley Centre, complete with shooting stars and gorgeous music. For more photos and video, click 'keep on reading'.

I had only been to one other show at Harrah's, and that was for INXS a couple years ago. My dad got comp tickets and my mom and I sat in the side bleachers, but I forgot just how nice the Open Sky Theatre is. There's a lot of space between rows and the seats are huge. As I tweeted last night, if Humphrey's had chairs like this, it would lower the capacity but make the concerts a far more enjoyable experience.

This is taken from our seats...

I moved up during Ray LaMontagne's set to snap a couple pictures from about the 5th row. I wish I had stayed there.

This is the longview from our seats. The lighting was really cool and I couldn't resist moving forward.

I found a seat on the end of the 3rd row, but a lady said her friend was sitting there. Then she told me the seat in front of it had been empty the whole show. I watched the entire set from the 2nd row. So awesome.

I love David Gray and have met him at least three different times and I think I've seen him now about 7 times. My only complaint is that I LOVE when he plays piano, but you can only really see him from the nose up when he does. I know the logistics of having a low baby grand are challenging, but it would be so much better if you could see him when he plays songs like "This Year's Love" (still easily one of my favorites).

After the show I attempted to get a setlist, but to no avail. I had been keeping track of the songs in my phone but somehow deleted them, so I appreciate the chick who let me take a snapshot of the setlist. For the uninitiated, TYL is "This Year's Love" and TOIL is "The One I Love". Also, for the encore I only remember "Flame Turns Blue" and "Please Forgive Me". But I was freaking out about losing the setlist on my phone, trying to set up my camera, and then the sudden decision by the crowd to stand up. My video sucks because there were new obstacles, including the couple who had been sitting next to me in the 18th row (and making out most of the set) and the female doing jazz hands and then the crowd going into a giant clap along (which I hate) .

I also found this setlist on one of Ray's equipment cases onstage, and though the date is wrong, I'm pretty sure that Ray stuck to this order. I think my favorite track off his new record is "Rock n Roll & Radio". Check it out here.

And here are my other two videos from the night. My parents were hanging out at the casino so I found them and hung out for a while as we waited for the traffic to die down.

All in all, a beautiful night.

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