New Year's Run 2012 in Portland

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New Year's Run 2012 in Portland

New postby Sister Fennario » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:02 am

Well let’s just say that my first NYE run with RRE was all thumbs up. In a way I feel silly even writing a review because when I come up smiling about everything that all comes together, ya just have to wonder, is this person really objective? To which I must reply NOT, no, objective in no way. Easy flight to Portland. Easy meeting with east coast friends and ride from airport into town. Easy check into hotel, nice restaurants, bars and shops downtown near the venue. Everything on time, in time, and on the ball. What else could one ask for? THREE NIGHTS OF RAILROAD EARTH!! Yup, that too. You can read the set lists. We all have our favorite songs, favorite sets and believe me, it was all good. All of it.

What was NEW for me was the bouncy dance floor. It really does have springs, or rollers, or something under there. That Crystal Ballroom holds some history for sure and I enjoyed every moment rocking and rolling there. Up a few flights of stairs and then what to my wondering eyes should appear? Lots of free water and large paper cups! And then the merch table with a place beside to write prayers for 2013 on a little piece of paper. A huge room, a ballroom, with a band in the corner. First night pulled in a decent crowd with all the usual suspects on the rail. Not too crowded though. Another thing I really appreciated what that all the video/streaming equipment was low down and didn’t take up to much physical or energetic space in front of the stage. (I hate it when that happens.) The stage actually could have been higher, for how large the ballroom is and how far back the crowd goes, but that’s a minor detail, esp. for someone who dances with her eyes closed much of the time anyway... What I did find to be quite unusual was the way the dance floor was cut in half by an aisle to separate the drinkers from the nondrinkers. I did not miss having beer spilled on me the first two nights, cuz up by the rail was on the non-drinking side. I did have beer spilled on me NYE but I figure that’s par for the course, so if that’s the worse that happens on a NYE, not bad at all. Second night was much more full, and Fruition really rocked it. I saw them for the first time this summer at Yarmony and i look forward to the next time they’re on tour down in the Bay Area.

Lots of energy mounting (can you feel it?) and then another great night of RRE. New Year’s Eve, they finally got rid of the aisle down the middle and to celebrate i did a few swirls in the dead center of the ballroom as soon as i walked in. The bounce in the floor was better that night too. No opener, three sets and a New Year’s spectacle to boot. The owl that made its debut at Hangtown reappeared just before midnight, and it was accompanied by a host of folks carrying stick lanterns, promenading through the crowd, containing the wishes (the lanterns that is) for the new year that were written the first night. Then there was another procession on stage, most notably a bear with glowing eyes wishing us wonderful things for the new year. There were also some lovely bird-like ladies dancing and swooping with swirly things and body paint across the stage. Both sincere and hilarious at the same time. Heartwarming but not overwhelming. Oh, did I mention Black Bear opened the third set? At some point, as the animals began to appear, the solemn ode to black bear became something strange and yet familiar. Disco Bear! Then back to the jamming in that third set -- ahh, musically, that was, for me, the high point of the run musically. I truly appreciate all the effort that went into the parade, decorations, costumes, musical arrangement etc. for my first RRE New Year’s Eve run. Portland is a great host city and I loved seeing (and meeting) lots of lovely Oregon folks. This was also the first time i’ve seen RRE in Oregon. But it doesn’t seem to matter WHERE i see RRE. I know I will see old friends, make new friends while we commune with and create something that is very special, that we all cherish. A good time was had by all, but it’s more than that. It feeds my soul. Collectively we all benefit from the good energy that goes into the scene -- and that definitely includes those not physically present but whose energy is there all the same. Thank you everyone --band, crew and production folks for all the hard work, congeniality and great music.

Already looking forward to Fillmore shows in March!
Sister Fennario
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Re: New Year's Run 2012 in Portland

New postby DougD » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:55 am

The Crystal Ballroom sounds like a great place to see live shows...I've heard about their sprung dance floor & love bars/clubs that offer free cold water to patrons! IMO being forced to buy bottled water should (almost) be made illegal.

This site (as well as the Earthboard message site) appears to be dying a slow death, so your post & review is especially appreciated! Over the last two months they've played Hangtown, Mexico, & now New Years, but there's very little chatter about the shows & most interestingly of all, only two shows are up on archive. I'm sure tapers must have been in attendance...maybe the band has decided to not allow certain shows to be uploaded to archive & instead want to sell them on ? From a fan's perspective that would be kind of a bummer, but from a business-perspective quite possible a prudent decision.

Back to the New Year's shows, I was excited to hear they brought Scott Law up on stage, but then bummed to learn they only played one song with him...what the #$@%, you get a guy Law on stage (I'm a big fan of his) & then you only play one song?? Homie please...

How were the new songs? And the Mother Earth cover on New Years, how was it? Interesting song to choose to cover on New Year's Eve...not exactly an upbeat or celebratory song for what is typically considered a night to be filled with fun & bacchanalia.

Might fly out for the Fillmore shows, if so first night's beers are on me!
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Re: New Year's Run 2012 in Portland

New postby railroadbill » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:35 pm

DougD wrote:This site (as well as the Earthboard message site) appears to be dying a slow death, so your post & review is especially appreciated!

Agreed. Thanks for the review. Sounds like a great show in a great venue.
there came a time for the old man
when a place of beauty, a lay of land
spoke out to him, said understand,
you should rest now
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Re: New Year's Run 2012 in Portland

New postby Sister Fennario » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:59 am

The new songs were great. Didn't really know they were "new songs" until i read the set lists though. Just glorious, glorious jamming, esp. third set NYE -- guess that would mean in the first set of 2013. Something I really enjoyed about the RRE NYE experience was that is wasn't really a wild night of bacchanalia in the first place, at least from what i could see. Revelry, sure, laughter, lots of it, good energy, for sure. But that crazed San Francisco Civic NYE scene was notably absent, gratefully. I actually haven't gone out at all for New Year's Eve in quite a while (in all honesty, i must confess I think it's only the 3rd one since 1999 -- when i was in Portland for SCI). Last year I was delighted to stream RRE NYE from Denver right into my living room where i counted down with my two kids who thought they were getting a treat to stay up til midnight (Mnt time). Unless there's something REALLY great, i like to stay local and small NYE. This year, clearly there was something really great -- that i actually could go to.

The song selection with Scott Law surprised me a bit too but whatever. Whenever he's on stage, good things happen.

And yeah, about this forum dying a slow death -- like many online bulletin boards and fan sites, it's getting swallowed up by Facebook is my guess -- along with people's attention span and ability to do anything but hit "like" and punch out 5-second sound byte comments. But never fear, I'm going to jam on it in coming weeks i hope, as i warm up and procrastinate for another writing project. I still want to add my thoughts about Hangtown -- though musically it would be imcomplete -- didn't get there until Friday night. As you have probably already gleaned, my reviews are more subjective about the music and just general observations about the venue, scene in general.

Oh, and the Fillmore provides free water too -- it's just that the cups are TINY so you need to bring (or buy) your own (small) water bottle to fill up if you want to walk away with more than a gulp or two. I always love the Fillmore shows.
Sister Fennario
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:47 am
Location: sonoma county, california

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