Off the Air

A collection of press clippings, special projects or appearances including Garrison Keillor.

Summer Love: Up the Coast and Over

August 30, 2010

PHC staffer Nic Vetter is on the Summer Love tour with Garrison, Sara Watkins, Fred Newman and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.

We've been to California and across Oregon since the last time I wrote, and that feels like forever ago, but only points to the powerfully relaxing effect of the west coast.

California made it very hard to leave. The venue settings in San Diego and Saratoga were idyllic; we were right on the water and on a mountaintop, respectively, two perfect representations of those cities.

The three shows in Oregon gave us the (north) Western flavor. Jacksonville is a historic old gold mining town with all the original buildings from the 1850s, now converted into luxury boutiques and cafes with black truffle almonds and organic soaps and European espresso; stuff the hardened pioneers in their mining camps wouldn't know what to make of...

The people of Eugene lived up to their reputation and were a wonderful laid back audience. Fireworks went off right at the end of the show behind the stage. Although they were going off for a city festival, it felt magical.

There's much to be said about Portland. It's painfully cool and young, making the show somewhat of an anomaly, but a big success. The venue was at the Oregon Zoo, and some of the crew and performers got to take a behind-the-scenes look at the animals, feeding giraffes and petting rhinos. I myself was off exploring Powell's, the largest used bookstore in the country, and tasting one of Portland's many delicious microbrews.

We're at the Denver Botanical Gardens at Chatfield at the moment, a pretty preserve among the grasslands with the hogbacks of the Rockies in the distance. It's a great turnout, with some real Colorado people representing - men in spiffy rodeo-casual with long ponytails and shiny belt buckles. I'm sure we'll see a lot more of that ilk tomorrow in San Antonio. Then we're back in Minnesota, which is hard to believe. I think everyone has lost their sense of time and space on this whirlwind tour. As Fred Newman often says after getting off the plane in the wee morning hours in his native LaGrangian tongue, "This isn't right. This is a dream sequence."

It's been a blast getting to spend so much time with these incredibly talented and truly genuine, funny, and kind people. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.

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