We spent most of Labor Day weekend in Napa Valley for the BottleRock music festival. I’m not super into music festivals or traveling over holiday weekends, so I’m not exactly sure how I got talked into this one. Despite my crowd aversion, we ended up having a lovely time. We only made it up for Saturday and Sunday because Friday night we were at the Hella Mega Tour back home in LA. Guns N Roses was the headliner Saturday Night and the Foo Fighters closed out the festival Sunday night.
David and our oldest like to get up close and personal with the music. Our younger two and I prefer to find a cozy place somewhere off the beaten path to enjoy the music without so many people in close proximity. Covid policies for the shows were pretty strict. Anyone attending the show had to either show proof of vaccination or negative test results. Masks were encouraged anytime you’d be closer than six feet apart and most people complied. Still, being pushed around in a large crowd has never been my idea of a good time.
While we were mainly there to see Guns N Roses and the Foo Fighters, we also caught bits and pieces of shows from Portugal the Man, Jimmy Eat World, Cage the Elephant, Black Pumas (who stayed at our hotel), and a few others. We did miss out on some shows that we would have been interested in seeing because they were playing at the same time as some of the other groups. That’s always one of the drawbacks of a multi-stage festival.
The food and drinks were all fantastic. We had so much to choose from and everything we had was wonderful. The kids were all excited about the canned water and got into a pretty heated debate over whether Mananalu (Jason Momoa’s water company) or Liquid Death (a company out of Austria) had the better canned water. I personally thought they were both pretty good.
Watching Guns N Roses perform a second time on the same tour was fun. They pretty much had the same setlist (with a few omissions because the BottleRock show was shorter), but Axl’s stories were all new. It was sort of a bummer at the end of the concert though. They closed the night with Paradise City, featuring Dave Grohl, but right at 10pm (and only about half way through the song), they cut the sound completely. David and our oldest were right up by the stage, so while they could tell the sound had been cut to the big speakers, they could still hear them playing on the stage. Apparently the band wasn’t aware the sound had been cut until after they had finished. Can you even imagine the tantrum 1980s/90s Axl Rose would have thrown if that had happened back then? Standing at the back of the crowd, was pretty entertaining, because even though they cut the sound, the big screens and lights were still fully functioning. Even though we couldn’t hear them, we could still see them. It was kind of like watching a silent film in a weird way.
The Foo Fighters show was my favorite of the weekend. Those guys not only put on a great show, but they look like they are having a blast the entire time. David and our oldest were right up by the stage again, while the younger two and I hung out in the food court area where we had a prime view of one of the big screens showing the concert. Since Dave Grohl had been playing with Guns N Roses the night before, he knew how serious the venue was about ending right at 10. He said early on in the show that they were going to keep it moving at a pretty fast pace so they could get through as many songs as possible. They actually ended the show with several minutes to spare. They played all of their fan favorite hits as well as a cover of the Bee Gees You Should be Dancing (as the Dee Gees) and Queen’s Somebody to Love where Dave Grohl played drums and their drummer, Taylor Hawkins, sang (he has an awesome voice).
Our daughter was struggling to stay awake to hear her favorite Foo Fighters song, Everlong. Of course, that is the song they performed to close out the concert. As soon as she heard the first few notes, she perked right up again. It was a great weekend and we all had a blast.