Last Thursday, I caught Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women at the Santa Monica Pier Twilight Dance Series, and, yee-hah, it was a hootenany of a good time. I went *under protest* because I’m not a country + western music fan (Lyle Lovett being an exception). I parked in one of Santa Monica’s plentiful and cheap parking structures along 2nd and 4th streets, but, due to the huge crowds near the Pier, I picked the farthest one away (between Arizona and Wilshire) and traded congestion for more walking.
Sorry for the lack of camera, but I can report that the Pier was packed (although many people were no doubt taking advantage of the mild weather and were not necessarily there for the music), as was the Pier’s parking lot. I did not get up to the stage area on the Pier, but rather, went to the sand just below and South of the Pier. There must have been thousands of people on the beach, spread out on blankets, with food, drinks (and, based on the smell, lots of pot), and candles. It took a few text messages back and forth to locate my gang. How did people at Woodstock find each other?
So, the music. First of all, if you’re on the beach next to the Pier, the music isn’t really your focus. Although I could see the back of the stage and a brightly lit grandstand up on the Pier, and I’m sure a number of people were dancing up there, no one on the beach was dancing. One medium sized video monitor was set up at the bottom of the Pier, so we could sort of see the band if we wanted to, and the volume was quite moderated down there. I should say, though, that I was pleasantly surprised by the band, whose music could be described as country western swing, which makes sense given that it was part of the Pier’s “Dance Series.” Nevertheless, down on the beach, it was all about hanging with your group and consuming your favorite consumables (note: there were a number of uniformed cops observing the crowd, but I didn’t see them actually do anything except ask us to clear out after the concert ended). Surprisingly, there was no wind that night, the moon was full or nearly full and bright, and it was just a perfect evening.
I’m looking forward to going back again for the final concert on September 3 featuring Patti Smith (maybe we can have a Metblogs meetup there), or perhaps sooner.