Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Styx in the Gorge

I love Styx.  They were one of my very favorite bands.  I listened to them constantly in high school and college.  In the early 80's I saw Styx twice in concert.  Both times they were absolutely fantastic.

Then my kids came along. I got busy with my career and life. There wasn't a lot of time to listen to music, much less attend concerts.  Through the 90's and into the 2000's, my music tastes changed, and I didn't listen to Styx very much.

Maryhill winery amphitheatre

Then in April I got lucky.  Through a local radio station, I won tickets to a Styx and Yes concert.  The venue was someplace called "Maryhill Winery Amphitheatre" located in the eastern Columbia River Gorge.  I'd never heard of the place, but it sounded nice.  The concert wasn't until July 30th, which, back in April seemed eons away.

Roger relaxes on the lawn

But before I knew it, the date arrived.  I packed up my car and headed east through the Gorge.  I met Roger at Biggs junction.  The Maryhill amphitheatre just happened to be a five minute drive from one of his favorite fishing spots, so Roger planned a weekend fishing trip in conjunction with the concert.

Roger and I before the main event

The Maryhill Winery and Amphitheatre was located on the Washington side of the eastern Gorge.  As concert venues go, there wasn't a more beautiful location.  The amphitheatre was a giant grassy bowl facing the Columbia River and the Oregon side of the Gorge.  The views were wonderful.  You could see the steep cliffs and rolling hills of the eastern Gorge, and looking further east, the multitude of wind turbines perched on top of the hills.  We placed a blanket on the perfectly manicured lawn, stretched out, and enjoyed the warm summer evening.  The winery allowed concert-goers to bring in outside food, so I'd packed a cooler full of Trader Joe's goodies for the occasion.


The place, however, did not allow any outside alcohol.  If you wanted to enjoy some vino with your cheese, they did offer several different varieties of wine for sale.  We were at a winery after all!  I checked out the offerings, and gulped when I saw the wine was priced at $30 a bottle.  But I reminded myself that the tickets were free, and decided to splurge on a bottle of Merlot.

Styx takes the stage

What a perfect way to enjoy a concert!  Sitting on a nice lawn, eating cheese and drinking wine, and enjoying the warm summer night.  Roger and I noticed most of the crowd were older people in their late 40's, 50's and 60's.  We laughed about all the "old farts" at the concert until we realized that we fit into that category too!

Sunset on the Gorge

Styx came on a little before sunset, and they did not disappoint!  They performed all of my favorites.  It sure brought back old memories - I felt like I was back in high school.  I hadn't listened to much of their music in years, and it was great to hear it live again!

The place was a-rockin'

The band put on a fabulous show.  People were dancing, singing and swaying to the music.  After every song, the crowd showed their appreciation with thunderous applause and cheers.  We were definitely rockin' in paradise tonight!

The encore

But way too soon, the concert was over.  The next band, Yes, took the stage.  I've never gotten into their music, and after such a rockin' performance by Styx, Yes was too mellow for my taste.  Apparently I wasn't the only one who felt that way, because people began leaving in droves.  Roger and I lasted four songs, and then decided to pack it in for the night.

I dropped Roger back at his campsite, and pointed my car towards Portland.  I blasted my car stereo all the way home, reliving the concert.  Made me feel young again.  What a nice trip down memory lane!

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