Reflections on a few bottles shared with rockers on the road.
I have a bumpy history when it comes to enjoying wine with musicians performing concerts. The wine drinkers are usually great to hang out with, have fabulous stories, and love a good time, people, food and wine. They are usually generous, often gregarious, and a lot of fun. Like most wine lovers, they like to plan events for their friends, and never skimp on quantity. Perhaps, that is the problem. In any group of entertainers, there are always a few in active recovery, so maybe that is where the math goes wrong, because the amount of wine involved can be mind boggling.
I have been present at a few dinners, where a lot of wine was consumed BEFORE the concert, which seems like a hard-core rock approach, but was not, in hind-sight, a wise approach.
Eat, drink, and then go out and Party with the crowd. It sounds great, but I have seen it go awry. The last time, after several palate-cleansing beers in the afternoon, we opened up a couple of three liter bottles for the eight of us (but two of the band were in their own version of recovery and abstaining from “anything other than marijuana” for the tour). It gets hard to control consumption when the wines are appropriately mature, 100-pointers. A sign of good wine and impending doom, is the uttering of the words “There’s wine left? We can’t leave until the wine is gone.” Blowing off the sound-check for that last glass of wine, is a stop on the road to disaster.
The concert got off to a great start with the band in high spirits, and the crowd really appreciating their energy. Things were clicking, and after the fourth song, the lead guitarist decided to rev it up. Chad decided to do a stage-dive off the four foot stage while still strumming fiercely. No one got in his way, or broke his fall, and Chad’s knee didn’t survive the landing. Sadly, that brought an abrupt end to the concert. (The band in this case was The Gracious Few, an American group featuring guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey from the 90’s best-selling band Live, teaming up with lead vocalist Kevin Martin and guitarist Sean Hennesy from another 90’s giant- Candlebox.)
So, a more sensible approach for slightly older rockers, is to enjoy the wine after the show, when the work is finished. I was lucky enough to share a few wines with the drinking members of Journey after a recent weekend of concert dates, and we opened some great bottles after midnight, that surprised all of us. These guys rest, get ready for the show with some meet and greet events, put on their show, and then think about winding down with wine and food. Funny how things change as we get older!