Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kenny Loggins? (The Burning Man Story)

So the boys from Eliquate and myself recently hit the road for a few days of rest, relaxation, and quality entertainment provided by rock icon Kenny Loggins. Jamie had arrived early in order to procure better seats leaving Dan, Cosmo, Elliot and I to find out way to and navigate the 278 miles between Santa Cruz and Reno Nevada. We learned the hard way that the Nevada Bad Lands doesn’t exactly have the best cell service. As we drove aimlessly through the desert we discovered that not all the roads in Nevada are paved (an unfortunate lesson at 70mph.) It wasn’t long before their roadside predicament was kindly assisted by a caravan of other fellow Loggins enthusiasts, pulling campers and rv’s bearing the symbol of a man with his hands in the air, what we assumed to be rocking out to “I’m Alright!”

The gang with Fuzz.

            After asking the caravan if they could help us find the show, they answered “follow us, this is the highway to the danger zone.” We knew we were in good shape. When we arrived at the concert I was blown away at how many people had shown up for the Loggins experience. We sat in line for 6 hours, and with each inch we were growing more and more anxious, particularly because this seemed to be the highest production show we have ever been prevue to. We finally arrived at the front gate and were greeted by two very enthusiastic ticket takers who welcomed us home and requested us to roll around in the dust, we obliged being that this was our first Loggins Concert. And entered the campgrounds covered in dust and giddy as children.

"Pass That" Jamie riding spy girl.

            In my life, I have seen some very impressive things, or at least I had thought. As we past by camp after camp of elaborate art structures, neon lights, and painted private parts it became very apparent that we were not in Kansas anymore. It was 12:30pm Monday night when we pulled into the spot reserved by Jamie and our saviors/ good friends Fuzz Patrol. As soon as the car stopped the doors were flung open and Elliot took off running down the road like a puppy with ADD, and quickly realized that with no cell phone, and no sense of direction, 60,000 people covered in blinking lights accompanied by hundreds of multistoried art cars blaring what sounded like a mixture of forks in a disposal, and a prehistoric lazer battle, can be a bit disorienting. Lucky for him Fuzz Parole had spared no expense in making their camp very easy to find, and the band members were all soon reacquainted, and ready to explore this wonderland of visceral experience and intangible expression.

A noble endeavor.

What felt like 20 minutes later the sun was rising and the reality of camp became focal. Sleep was brief as the mixture of an uncovered plastic tent and the Nevada Desert sun made an instant alarm clock that could not be avoided at roughly 7:45 am. Not unfamiliar with these types of performance circumstances, the boys from Eliquate were rested and ready for some adventure. They had been informed that they could play a show at the Center Camp if they so desired, and of course they agreed. Arriving at the show it had dawned on them that they had forgotten a very key piece to the live performance, drum set and amplifiers. So again lessons were learned as it was revealed that it is NOT, in fact, ok to dive a truck through the center of camp on unmarked roads. As Dan attempted to convince the officer that his truck was an ironic art car (a statement about non- conformity,) the crowd was growing impatient.

Live at Center Camp.

            With Jamie and Dan unavoidably detained, Cosmo and Elliot we’re forced to start the show without them. This however proved to be to their benefit as members of the band that played one set prior, Antioquia, joined the two for an epic improvisational performance only made more dramatic by the fashionably late arrival of the other two band members. From then on it was a good old fashion Eliquate show, well minus Tanner and our normal equipment, so in a way it really did feel like an OLD fashion Eliquate show. Never being a group to scorn the enthused feeling of playing a gritty show on shitty equipment and a pit of alkali dust, the group was revitalized and youthful and ready for the insanity that was sure to come. They finished the night with a one time only David Starfire Concert.

             After going to bed at reasonable hour, the gang saddled up and struck out to explore the city. It wasn’t long before the realities of the Nevada desert set in and hydration and shelter became a necessity. The first Mojito bar they stumbled upon happened to be a wise choice as the band that was booked to play at the time was minus one bass player. Cosmo, having capable hands, enthusiastically jumped on the opportunity to fill in, and the 4 of us sat and sipped mojitos in the shade, listening to our good friend proving to a group of fifty plus year olds that he was in fact drunk, and he did in fact know exactly what he was doing.

Fuzz Patrol At Large.

            Rounding off the day back at camp the crew got ready for their next performance endeavor. The idea was that they were going to be playing on a moving art car know as the Nautilus. (I feel like I should explain what an art car is to anyone who has never been a part of such a function that art car may be present. An art car is a car that is altered into a representation of the synapses of the creator, or rather whatever the fuck the driver wants to parade across the flat surface of the playa.) When the ship arrived, the boys and I were greeted by the friendliest crew this side of the seven seas, I mean like, REALLY friendly. The “venue” was the accordion pivot point of a double bus that was literally rotating every time the bus would make a turn. This however did not hinder the boy’s ability to rock out, nor the bus patrons need to get down. This created a bouncing effect that made the whole show seems all the more riotous, and the gang was dropped off feeling exhausted yet victorious. This marked their longest and most trying set to date, four hours of playing on an exhaust and dust filled moving vehicle, with a rotating crowd ranging from two to forty plus of brand new listeners. They were rewarded, however, by good friends, Jack Daniels, red bull, and another one time only David Starfire concert.

Eliquate Live with Antioquia, featuring dust.

            Though the mornings were brutal it was still nice to be up by a reasonable hour, and able to get lost in the chaos before lunchtime. I would spend more of this narrative describing to you some of the amazing sights and wonders the city had to offer but I am sure anyone who hasn’t been has a friend, or rather, a group of friends that will not hesitate to try to recreate the experience for you, weather provoked or not. And if you have been there my description would be useless because everyone sees things differently, and well, you have been there. So as cliché as it sounds and as much as a hate myself for writing this right now I guess the best I can say is, I guess you had to be there.

Lost in the dust, the gang stumbles on a sacred tribute to the king of movie soundtracks

The show Thursday night was yet again another new experience as they played to the open playa (also known as the esplanade) to a crowd that had no restriction to the angles or contortions they found their bodies making. Needless to say, it was a blast. The show culminated with Elliot leading a crowd into a dust circle, then the boys all joined the crowd for a group hug in true Kenny Loggins concert fashion, and sung the last la da da’s of Family Unit in unison. After their work was done it was off to Fractal Nation for a blessing from Beats Antique, with special guest… David Starfire.

a quiet night on the playa.

By Friday, the boys were beginning to feel the abuse they had done to their bodies, it was necessary to rest and get ready their final show of the week. Knowing they would have the next two days off, it was imperative that they gave every last ounce of effort they had left to make this show worthy of missing the David Starfire concert going on two camps down. It was also an important show because it was on our home turf, Fuzz Patrol, and in order to show their gratitude for their generosity, and fired up from watching a 100ft wooden horse get burned down by flaming arrows, they gave it everything they had. Turns out they had a little bit left as we struck out across the playa for yet another adventure. We had agreed we would be diligent about staying together as a group, and within fifteen steps we had lost Cosmo. I can’t honestly say I recall everything that happened to us that night, something about a giant moving boom box, people breathing fire, champagne bottles, and a twenty-foot high trampoline. However concern was growing as the sun was rising and there was still no sign of Cosmo. Dan assured us that we had nothing to worry about, any minute now Cosmo would come walking around the corner with a big grin on his face. Sure enough, no sooner then Dan had finished his sentence, Cosmo came sauntering around the corner, face covered in dust and a smile, hair pushed back by wind. As he sat and told us tails of pirate ships, and drinking contests with a dwarf dressed like a Sherpa, arm wrestling a guy he thought was bass nectar but turned out to just be David Starfire, and a giant penguin named pinky who told him the secrete to telekinesis, he resembled a wise old traveler from the grey he had accumulated due to the amount of dust that had culminated in his hair.

The Schnetz

Saturday was spent getting ready for the main event, Kenny Loggins. After a short bike ride to the center of city they were they came upon a massive statue of the man, rocking out to “I’m Alright,” awaiting its incineration. We sat in awe as the humungous structure spat flames hundreds of feet into the sky. An expression of mankind’s potential for utopia, and absolution of the guilt and evil we assume to be human nature. It was such a spectacle we didn’t even notice that we missed the Kenny Loggins concert. The rest of the night much resembled riding a rollercoaster through a super saiyan battle, wile the track lined the inside of a giant subwoofer, all infused with neon glow sticks… and David Starfire.
What initially started as a restful weekend, turned out to be one of the most profound and intriguing experiences of our lives. We can honesty say it was one of the realest experiences we have ever had, and when next year rolls around you will definitely find Eliquate rocking in the dust of the Nevada desert. Much thanks to Fuzz Patrol, MFC, and David Starfire for helping the week be what it was. And although we never ended up seeing Mr. Loggins, we can honestly say his concert was something no one should miss.  


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