August 14 and 15, we (Bobby, Kaylee, Nick and I) traveled down to San Francisco for the Outside Lands music fest. While I prefer a small crowd in a bar to being surrounded by thousands of people in a giant park, I’d had a great time last year and looked forward to seeing a number of the bands. And… it was okay. What made the 2009 experience so fun was all about being with Nick and Kaylee, their excitement and their willingness to stake out and stay in a spot close enough to really see the band — I have no interest in either watching a band from far away or viewing them on the big screens along the sides of the stage. This year, they met up with friends — good for them — while Bobby and I checked out the bands from the periphery. Like I said, it was okay.

Phoenix at Outside Lands/Chris Tuite for Rolling Stone

The most rewarding moments were:

  • Rocking out with Wolfmother after My Morning Jacket failed to excite. Love that Doors-meets-Ozzy sound!
  • Cheering for Phoenix’s lead singer as he crowd-surfed during the encore. I love newly famous bands — they seem so excited to be playing for you, still in that stage of amazement at their own fame.
  • Realizing that the press passes allowed us to use the VIP restrooms — way better than the nasty portapotties!
  • Listening to the two drunk women sharing a stall in the VIP restrooms: “I thought you were mad at me!” “I could never be mad at you! I love you!” “I love you, too! You’re my best friend ever!” “You’re my best friend!” “It was all because of Kyle!” “Once you were okay with it, I was okay with it!” “I love you! You’re my best friend ever!” This all took place as a long line of women waited for one of the four stalls in the restroom trailer, so we were all treated to this exchange over the course of several minutes. Many shared looks and rolled eyes resulted.

The really adventurous part came with staying at my brother’s new place in the Tenderloin. His apartment’s great. The neighborhood, as expected, delivered on its reputation. On a late night Thai food quest, we navigated around the drunks, druggies and other random sketchy folks. It was exactly the same during the day. Sirens, car alarms and yelling all night long. But the apartment is great and the generosity appreciated! I never felt exactly unsafe, just very, very alert.