Alaska is a whole different country. Emily and I spent a couple of weeks up there in 2000. We got to do some amazing sight seeing and visiting of friends. This recent trip was mostly about the people of alaska. The main thing I remember was how excited the people were to have music come into their town. This recent trip was no exception. Well, except for fairbanks. They didn't seem to care much.
But fairbanks has some wonderful folks that I met and truly hope I can see again. Anchorage really surprised me with 1100 people in attendance. The venue was a movie theater/brewery/concert hall. The promoter (dan) was truly cool and took me to his place outside of town, on a hill with a beautiful and serene view of the water. I was looking out for bears and moose but came up short. After sound check, we had to remove all the speakers and instruments off the stage so that they wouldn't block the screen. The movie theater still shows nightly movies which is sweet.
After the movie, we simply set everything back up. The next day, dave (our promoter and part owner of the denali venue: salmon bake) drove us the 4 plus hours from anchorage to denali. Denali was the original name of the tallest peak in north america. Then, the man came in and changed the name to mount mckinnley or something white like that. Cool people indigenous to the area still call it denali. It’s big. 20 plus thousand ft. and apparently growing 3/4 inch a year. Crazy. It’s got its own weather. The view of the mountain is blocked by clouds about 75 percent of the year. I didn't see it when I was there in 2000, but damn, as you can see in the picture, it was out in full force, smacking you in the face while we were there. That picture was taken about 50 miles away.
The other picture was taken just outside of the village. I've never seen a sign like that anywhere much less in the middle of the alaskan wilderness. We had to stop. Those dudes were really cool and excited about the show. The venue is an old, foundation-less building that has a little slant in the floors. Every time I walked around the place, it felt like I was drinking on a boat. Old wood and short ceilings made for good sound (at least on stage). The place is well known for their food as people regularly line up and wait for tables. Real deal king crab legs and halibut. I heard a local story of a giant 350 pound halibut that had to be shot before being pulled into the boat. That's a big ass fish. I played to the amazing energy of 300, from 10:45 till about 2:30. Last call was 3:30 even though they can legally serve till 5, however, they say the place has better luck when they stop serving at 3:30. People party there. Hard. Very hard.
The next day, dave drove us the short but beautiful couple-hour drive to the blue loon in fairbanks. I opened for leftover at this venue in the year 2000. The venue is a quonset hut, a long rectangular half circle, a couple miles south of town. The back of the place has a covered stage and a nice, mellow slanted hill. That's where the leftover show was in 2000 with tye north on bass, jeff sipe on drums, mark van on banjo, and of course vince herman and drew emmitt. This time tho I played inside. It too is a movie theater but we pulled the seats out so that the super mellow fairbanks crowd could slightly get their groove on. The next day, me and lou went over to his friend Cliffs house for lunch. There I met a bunch of folks that I hope I see again. Ahhhhhh alaska. Thank you.