Chateau Ste. Michelle is our favorite concert venue. But every year, I have to try to recall what our “routine” was, so I decided to blog it so I can just look it up next time.
Last night was our first concert of the summer, Tears for Fears (TFF). The concert start time was 7:00 pm. We left Bellevue at 2:30 and arrived at the winery by 3:00. The winery has expanded its on-site parking area but now charges $5 for onsite parking. There were maybe 10 cars already parked in the field when we arrived.
Carried our chairs and cooler to the line. The line forms on the grass alongside the sidewalk, most of it in direct sun. (The front of the line has shade.) We set up our stuff in the line, then moved over the deeply shaded grass to relax and read while waiting. (We could see our stuff so no problem.)
Shade, good company, and a good book – nice relaxing wait. During part of the wait, we got to hear TFF rehearsing. (The crowd applauded after one bit, and whoever was on the microphone imitated Elvis saying “Thank you very much”, then the band did a snippet of “Suspicious Minds”, which was amusing.) When they were done, they walked back to the manor, but they could see the line of people camped out on the other side of the taped barrier, and Curt and Roland went up to the tape where a gaggle of enthusiastic fans rushed up, and they all got kisses from Roland.)
We snacked a bit while waiting. At 5, the gate usually opens, but on this day Ticketmaster was late delivering the Will Call tickets so opening was delayed a bit.
Gate opens. Show ticket, get hand stamped. Head for our favorite spot (stage right, with the walking lane directly behind us). Spread out blanket, set up chairs and cooler, sit back and have dinner. Read our books, watch the crowd.
We’re reconsidering our favorite location though, because when TFF began playing, the entire crowd was on its feet dancing – couldn’t see a thing but bobbing butts. At the Chateau, the entire center section out from the stage is roped off with plastic chairs (the “reserved” seating, though who would prefer a hard plastic chair in a sea of chairs to a gorgeous lawn picnic?). We’re thinking for our next concert (Moody Blues), we’ll try a spot immediately by the roped off area on our side of the stage. The downside is we’ll have people on all sides of us, which we don’t much care for, so we’ll see if it’s a worthwhile trade-off for being able to see the stage instead of inebriates “dancing”. (I know inebriate isn’t properly a noun; deal.)
Tears for Fears did a wonderful show, btw. Some of the songs, I knew, and others I hadn’t heard before but really enjoyed, particularly “Memories Fade”.
If you live in the Seattle area and haven’t tried a concert at Chateau Ste. Michelle, I highly recommend it. Dress and pack for a picnic, relax on the beautiful grounds, and enjoy wonderful music as the sun sets.
(When the gate opened at 5, the line behind us was extremely long. Camping in line for 2 hours may seem excessive, but the pay-off of being one of the first ones in the parking lot and in line, getting spot of choice to set up when the gate opens, and not shuffling along in the long line just to get in makes it worth it!)