Nov 18, 2010

We get coins, we get shirts, we walk a lot of places, get dissapointed with the cab service, and in the end, we complete our quest.

Its over.  Our quest has ended.  We are victorious.

We saw Brandi, and it was good.  But before I delve into a review of the event, I'll do a quick sum-up of the weekend leading up to the concert.

Denver itself is actually a pretty nice city.  And the Lower Downtown (commonly referred to as LoDo, which sounds kinda dumb to me; that would be like calling Old Town Eureka "OlToe", that sounds about as appealing as a bad case of toe jam) is really nice.  In particular, the 16th Street Mall is the place to be.  16th Mall is fantastic.  Its probably close to 8 or 9 city blocks long.  16th Street is closed to through traffic.  In fact, the only vehicles allowed to drive on 16th Street are the free shuttle buses and the police. 

I should make note that pedestrians walking 16th Street need to be very wary of the the shuttle buses.  They hurtle down the street like ballistic missiles, screech to halts at every corner.  On the plus side, if you do happen to get tagged by one, the police seem to patrol this area very frequently, so emergency help is always close by. 

The plethora of places to eat in Denver is astounding.  There are a ton of good places.  Two places we went, and really liked were Rock Bottom Brewery and Macro's Coal Fired Pizza.  Both of them had excellent food.  I would recommend either to anyone who travels to LoDo Denver. 

Two points of interest made on our trip:

1.  The Unites States Mint Denver, CO  -  Seriously, this place was pretty cool.  It was like going through airport security getting in, and the mint has it's own armed police force.  And they follow you through the entire tour.  Once inside, it was a numismatics's dream come true (a numismatic is a collector of coins, just so you know; I don't what idiot came up with that name, but I guess it has more of a professional ring to it than "coin collector").  Sadly we didn't get to see any coinage being made due to the three day weekend.  But I did lay my hands on a sealed case with $140,000 in one dollar coins.  Oh, it was lovely.  The unfortunate thing about the mint: No pictures inside.  No cameras allowed, and cell phones must have the batteries removed.

They did have a gift shop, which I considered myself lucky to have escaped and only spent about $60.

2.  The Miller-Coors Brewing Factory in Golden, CO  -  If you like Beer, this is a good tour.  If you find a little bit of American culture interesting, this is a good tour.  One of the things that struck me more than anything else was the city of Golden itself.  Golden, from all appearances is everything my home town of Eureka wants to be.  Eureka, though, fails miserably.  Golden is small, clean and friendly.   Its downtown area wasn't littered with trash and over run with homeless people.  It was, in all honesty, a nice place to visit.  The brewery, while one of the major revenue makers for the city, wasn't the only industry, as evidenced the various businesses we passed on our trip there.

Go figure, a small town that welcomes business within it's own city limits?  And they appeared to be successful.  I would imagine most travelers who come touring through the city of Eureka generally keep driving. 

One point of.. Confusion?  -  The cabs in Denver had no idea where anything was.  Seriously.  Without the aid of their dash mounted GPS, they would have been lost.  Two examples.  #1 - We got a cab and asked to go to the brewery in Golden.  The brewery is massive.  It sprawls out of a couple hundred acres.  Its also famous. Who, in America (whether a beer drinker or not) has heard of Coors, bottled in the Rocky Mountains?  What did our cabbie ask us when we told him our destination? "Do you know the address?"  #2 - The Denver Performing Arts Complex.  During the time we were there, along with the Brandi Carlile concert, it was hosting the Denver Film Festival.  This appeared to be a huge event.  And people were dressed really nicely.  And again, what did our cabbie ask us? "Do you know the address?" 

So disappointed. 

Now, onto the meat of the post here.  Brandi Carlile, Live with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. 

We arrived at about 7.  The show was scheduled to start at 7:30.   We checked out the B.C. gear for sale out front, then headed to our seats.  Boettcher Hall (apparently that's pronounced "bet-cher") is a fantastic auditorium, with seating completely encircling the stage.  I don't really think there were too many bad seats in the house.  Promptly, at 7:30, the lights went dim and Brandi was introduced.  Her and the band came to the stage, and together they performed for about 30 minutes.  Then they announced they would take a short break while the orchestra set up.  Then they returned and played for about an hour. 

The show was excellent.  I wish I could describe how all the anticipation we went through had paid off in full.  Instead, I'll simply say we truly missed out on the prior two attempts to see her in concert.  On the flip side, we have decided we want to see her again, we enjoyed it that much.

Now as I sit here, I think its sad how easy it was to write about the anticipation; and how a weekend date to wine country had become a personal quest.  And now that its over, I am left feeling like this posting is a little on the anti-climatic side as there are no cliff hanging finishes or suspense filled promises of more to come. 

In stead, our quest is simply over. 

Clearly, we need a new one.

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