An Electrifying 30 Hours!

Ah, Seattle in September...

Crystal blue skies accented by the Puget Sound's cool breeze. It's a perfect time to visit the Emerald City! And this trip, by design, was a 30-hour door-to-door adventure to see Simon and Death Cab for Cutie.

Just to clarify, seeing Simon and Death Cab for Cutie were not mutually inclusive. Simon is our son; Death Cab for Cutie is a long-popular Indie Rock band. We like them both and thought we'd combine the two events into one fun TourAlong!

Yep! We are smart shoppers!

So grab a cup of the beverage that reminds you most of Seattle and join in on the fun!

And off we go!

Have you ever stayed up way too late the night before an early morning flight? You know, just double-checking preparations? I have...

After five hours of sleep, Natalie and I arrived at the Boise airport and learned that we'd been preapproved for TSA's PRE check-in! Awesome! We didn't have to disrobe! Whew! Besides, it's no fun making other people feel so bad about their bodies.

And off we go!

Whoa partner!... not so fast.....

As we taxied to the runway, our plane made an odd turn and stopped... "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. Because of traffic at SEA-TAC, we're going to hold here for 40 minutes.... I'm going to turn off the engines.... blah, blah, blah..." as my nightmare unfolded: We were going to be held against our will in this asphyxiating claustrophobic hell-tube some people call an airplane for 745 hours!

We've all read the headlines... toilets overflowing, the Cheez-It supply quickly exhausted, the overwhelming stench of body odor, and the captain defying all logic by not going back to the gate where upon passengers could disembark, breathe fresh air, and hug their loved ones once again.

In the end, this trip's traumatic tarmac torture timely terminated after the promised 40 minutes... and the Cheez-It supply remained intact. We'd been grazed by a travel bullet.

AUTHOR'S DIVERSION: During research for this TourAlong, I learned that men can buy Cheez-It boxers and women can buy A-line Cheez-It dresses! Go ahead! Click the links to order your boxers and dresses! 

Just in time for Christmas! Such Fun!

The images above are subliminal. You didn't see them. You're welcome... Your friends at Cheez-It!

And off we go!

Wait a minute! As we flew west a layer of cloud appeared. WHAT? Clouds over Seattle? The weather forecast had consistently predicted a 20% chance of rain. But that meant an 80% chance of the bluest skies you've ever seen in Seattle, right?

No... It meant there was a 100% chance of solid gray skies. At least it wasn't raining!

The light rail from SEA-TAC to Capitol Hill Station costs just $3.00 per person and takes 45 minutes. This is a MUCH better value than a taxi ride, or almost any kind of ride for that matter... even a purge-inducing carnival ride! Have I ever told you the story about the Bloomin' Onion that came back up after a particularly twirly ride? Maybe another time...

After joining up with Simon, we gathered for a midafternoon linner and ice cream with the rest of the Seattle Chavez ClanMarc, Anne, and Diana. Actually, they live in Ballardthe home of many craft breweries, coffee shops, Pilates studios, tattooed hipsters, and some crazy people... like the guy wearing short shorts riding a bike shouting an obscenity-laden stream of consciousness at the nearest person or car. Downtown Ballard is a fun place to chill... but we had other plans....

Hey! Are you ready for the concert? It's time for Death Cab for Cutie!

Since 1997, Death Cab's been a driving force of Indie Rock; their music is as relevant today. Seeing this band in front of a hometown audience was going to be cool.

And off we go!

The forty minute Uber ride to Marymoor Park in Redmond passed quickly, largely due to the uber conversation courtesy of our uber Uber driver, Brian. Though I'm a relatively new Uber rider, I've had uber luck with Uber drivers. Uber!

Marymoor Park, King County's oldest and most popular park, hosts more than 3 million visitors annually and stages a summer concert series in its outdoor amphitheater. And, being the smart shoppers we are, we purchased chair seating for optimum comfort and viewing.

Safely settled into our chairs. Do you like how I make my chin the largest object in my selfies? Skillz! 

The opening band—Car Seat Headrest—was a treat! Originally from Virginia, this four-piece indie band now calls Seattle home. At the top of their set, we headed for the beer and wine tent where we decided $45.45 was an undeniable value for two wines and two beers. Yep! We really ARE smart shoppers! 

At $45.45, and served in the finest plastic cups, these tasted VERY good.

Remember two paragraphs ago when I mentioned purchasing chair seating? It really IS the way to go... sitting in a civilized manner, calmly watching the show. This is how rock music's composers intend audiences to experience the tapestry of angelic harmonics for which the genre is known.

And so it was. Everyone sat politely during Car Seat Headrest's 40-minute set.

As Death Cab took the stage, almost everyone who SPENT EXTRA MONEY FOR CHAIRS suddenly decided that standing up would be a really good idea!

And here's the dilemma: If you also don't stand up, the sound is muffled. And not only that, the view of the band and the synchronized light show is replaced by a view of at least one, if not two or three butts! And sadly, these are typically not Olympic athlete-toned butts!

It's not quite an image of butts, but it's awfully close, and I think you get the idea.

An artist's conception of a Death Cab for Cutie Concert without obstructions.

In the end, we stood up. Inevitably, and regardless of your height, a taller
person will always be standing directly in front of you.

The problem of height differential is easily overcome by simply shifting to the left or right a few inches to gain a new view between heads... unless you're behind a "swayer." Eyes soon fatigue as they try to focus on the distant stage while continuously being thwarted by the swayer's unpredictable motion. Don't believe me? Click the video below to experience just 15 seconds of this nausea-inducing phenomenon.


Despite butts and swayers, Death Cab sounded AMAZINGLY AWESOME!

But remember when I mentioned the weather?

As gray as the skies were, the rain had held off; through Death Cab's fourth tune there hadn't been a drop. But there was a distant flicker of light... and then another... and then...

Before the fifth song could begin, Death Cab's Ben Gibbard told everyone lightning was within eight miles and they had to leave the stage. Ben's announcement was followed by the stage manager asking everyone to go calmly to their cars for shelter, assuring us the show would resume in 30 minutes if all went well.

And off we went!

Car-less, and with rain beginning to fall, we found "The Barn," where park staff was discussing the turn of events. Within minutes the concert was officially cancelled... and a good thing too. 15 minutes into the storm the pitter patter became a torrent accompanied by a flash and an incredibly loud "CRACK!" Lightning had struck the stage canopy.

See the lightning bolt icon just below the word Redmond? That's us!

This storm was unusual for the Seattle area. In fact, an estimated 2,200 lightning strikes were recorded during the event. Not only was the concert cancelled, but the Washington State Huskies' game was delayed for two hours (and they ended up losing the game... Wha... Wha... Wha!). 

Caught on tape! Natalie and Simon react to the concert cancellation announcement...Wha... Wha... Wha!

Sensing that our evening outdoors had come to an abrupt end, Anne called, volunteering to pick us up. Meanwhile, Natalie, at the ready, whipped out a deck of playing cards for a few hands of gin rummy with our new friend Bob, one of the event staff! A deck of cards? Doesn't every hip rock concert attendee pack playing cards? I admit, it was a great way to pass the time. But did you know Natalie tried to smuggle knitting needles into a Sting concert? The confused security detail made us take them back to the car. Nope... I'm not making this up!

There was nothing more to be done than retreat to Simon's apartment...

Warm and dry, and with popcorn and scotch in hand, we did the only thing reasonable people would do: Watch Death Cab for Cutie videos! And so the evening played out...

The journey home began at 6:00 a.m., retracing our route via the light rail, the chaos called SEA-TAC, and the tranquil Boise airport. By 1:00 p.m. we rolled into our garage.

So there you go!

An electrifying 30-hour whirlwind TourAlong is memorable precisely because of a storm!

Ciao! ~ Todd

And now, a brief postscript...

Outdoor performances are "rain or shine" events; you buy your tickets and hope for the best. By the time we rolled into our garage, Death Cab had announced they would refund all tickets. Keep in mind that staging an event comes with substantial sunk costs... and these guys took it upon themselves to absorb those costs. They didn't have to do that, but they did.

Shout out a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Death Cab!

This blog is subliminal. You didn't read it. You're welcome... Your friends at Cheez-It!


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  1. They weren't "sewing needles"! They were knitting needles, because everyone knits at a Sting concert! Cha!

  2. This blog is subliminal. You didn't read it. Your welcome... Your friends at Cheez-It!

    This should be: "You're welcome..." - Council on the Death of the English Language. Your welcome.