Dave Matthews At The Gorge 2014

When I started putting together this post I thought for sure I'd written a post about our adventures to see  Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge Amphitheater Labor Day weekend 2013. 

I didn't find a post but you can check out how I documented the trip in 2013 in Project Life® here

Last year was my first time traveling to the Gorge ( ended up there twice last year) and my first time seeing Dave Matthews in concert. 

It was all Aaron's fault. 

I think he's been to the Gorge five or more times now and seen Dave at a couple other places as well. He's an experienced fan and man do I love getting to go with him.

Here's a look at our adventure via iPhone photos:

Word art on my photos are all available here in my new shop: Half Circle Sentiments No.1Messy Daily Boxes,So Long SummerBeautiful Fantastic Imperfect and Alrighty Then

It's a long drive from Eugene to the Gorge in Washington. Think 6+ hours depending on traffic. We drive up to Portland, head East along the Columbia River (what I usually think of as the Gorge before these trips), cross over into Washington at Biggs Junction, and then head north towards Yakima and then Ellensburg before reaching the Gorge Amphitheater outside George, Washington. 

It's totally a long haul but it's a really beautiful drive. 

We left early on Friday morning in order to make it there around 1pm before the opening-opening bands started at 3pm. 

At the Gorge they have a few different camping options and we go for what's called The Terrace. It's an upgrade but so totally worth it. It's quiet ( meaning people go to sleep vs. staying up all night in some of the other areas). Each site includes grass and a picnic table. There are showers and toilets without super long lines. There's a shuttle that drives you over to the venue. And they have coffee and doughnuts in the morning. 

Coffee and doughnuts for the win of course. 

After getting all settled in we headed over to the venue to check out the bands that were playing before Brandi Carlile and Dave. 

First on my personal agenda was to check out the merchandise. I was hoping for a new hat and was freaking-out-happy to find this blue trucker hat. 

I really need to stop this craziness with using the flip around feature on my iPhone (lower resolution that way). 

Maybe it should be brown eyes for the win.

As you can see, there weren't a ton of people hanging out to see these opening-opening bands. 

Aaron was totally into one of them called  Moon Taxi

I decided I needed a temporary tattoo for the weekend adventure and happened to have this one from  Kal Barteski. She's got some of her awesome script phrases available as tattoo's and she's getting ready to re-launch her shop soon. Follow her on Instagram for all the latest details on when that will open again (think neon). 

I imagine if I was ever to get a tattoo that would be the place I'd get it and it would be some sort of life-reminder phrase or word. Maybe length and width or open

When the opening-opening bands were done we headed down to the main stage to catch  Brandi Carlile. She opened for Dave all three nights and I loved, loved, loved hearing her sing a cover of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain. So good. I also loved her song Keep Your Heart Young

One of the magical things about the Gorge is the changing light throughout the day. 

And then there was Dave. Each night they started with an acoustic set as the sun went down. 

Before meeting Aaron I was already a Dave fan - but definitely not a super fan. I listened to him most when I was in college. And then a few years ago - probably before Anna was born - Chris and I happened to be flipping though the channels and came across a Dave & Tim acoustic show on PBS - I think it was Live At Radio City Music Hall (you can see some of those videos/songs on you tube here). I remember it so specifically how I was mesmerized again by his music - one of those take-my-breath-away-because-it-was-so-awesome moments. We ended up staying up super late because it was so great.

Life is crazy people. 

I'm telling you. If you ever get the chance to experience music in this place you must do it. 

Okay, forget about Dave, check out that sky. 

Back to Dave. He plays different songs all three nights, which is pretty great because you almost always get to hear what you might want - and that's why we go all three nights. 

Now I'm sure there are a lot of you out there who totally don't get this Dave love. Like I mentioned above, I liked him before but I like him even more now after seeing six shows (three last year and three this year over the course of the two Labor Day weekends). And it's not just him (but man, it's him - the words, oh those words) - it's the other guys in the band too. I have a much greater appreciation for each of them as musicians from watching them at the shows. Boyd with his violins. Carter on the drums. Stefan on bass. Jeff on the sax. Rashawn on the trumpet. And Tim on guitar.

I like that fans talk about them like they know them.

And these guys look so darn happy up there. Big smiles between all of them and I enjoy watching how they communicate together on stage.

Again, this is all Aaron's fault. 

Favorite Friday night songs | Oh, Stolen Away On 55th & 3rd, and Crush

Photo I wish I had | Aaron in the trucker hat. He never wears hats and I don't know why because it looked so great on him. 

On Saturday we slept in and then spent most of the day lounging and chatting with our camping neighbors. 

We had reserved seats on both Saturday and Sunday nights in section 203 (center section, left side). It's a great spot - the only thing I missed was being able to look back up and see up into the general admission/grass and the sea of people in the dark. Next year we need to get tickets to the right of center to be able to get that view when you turn around to see all the thousands of people up on the grass (the Gorge holds 27,000 people). It's so awesome. 

Favorite Saturday night songs | One Sweet World (this was actually a new-to-me song), Sister

We hung out Sunday morning around the campsite again and then headed over right at 3pm to catch the opening-opening bands. 

I might of had a few fantasies about being a music photographer as I watched these guys capture the action. 

The line-up today included  David Ryan HarrisDumpsta Phunk (who rocked - they are in that photo above), and Blind Pilot (an awesome Portland band - photo below). Seriously, just clicking over to these bands sites and seeing some of the photography - so rad. 

Took this shot of Blind Pilot with the panorama feature on my iPhone. Why don't I use that more? 

So yeah, we were in the front row dead-center for the opening-opening acts. Here's the story about that: I was buying a beer and the woman at the counter told me that supposedly Dave & Tim were going to show-up and play on the smaller stage in just a few minutes. You better believe I hustled back over to Aaron and told him we needed to get up to the front immediately. Unfortunately that ended up being only a rumor but it spurred Aaron and I to action to move ourselves right up to the front which wasn't difficult because there weren't a ton of people there at that time. 

It was so fun to watch both Dumpsta Phunk and Blind Pilot from the front row.

I gotta make that happen for Dave one of these years. 

After we finished up with the opening-opening acts we headed back over to the main stage for some more Brandi and eventually, Dave and his band. 

The Sunday night show was the best of the three. 

He played a bunch of my personal favorites including Loving Wings, Crash Into Me ( which he didn't play last year), Lover Lay Down, Grey Street and The Stone. 

The one song he didn't play that I love is #41. Aaron really wanted to hear Laying In The Hands Of God. 

So good. So good. 


On the way home we talked about what we wanted to remember. 

Aaron calls them "micro stories" - those little stories that make up the one big story of our shared experience. 

I sent him a text message last night and asked him to remind me of what he wanted to remember. A few hours later he sent me a message that was so awesome I got weepy. He gets details. He pays attention (even when I don't think he is). He gets moments. He collects them just like I do - even if he doesn't say them out loud. 

Here are some things from our combined list of things we want to remember from this weekend at the Gorge:

  • Our wonderful campsite neighbors who came all the way from Maryland - Chris & Ruth. Part of what we've enjoyed both last year and this year is meeting people at the event whether they are our camping neighbors or our seat neighbors during the concert. Chris and Ruth were the kind of people we wished lived a whole lot closer. It's so great to just sit around and talk about our lives at home and Dave and music and kids and what we hope to hear and all that good stuff. 
  • Experiencing the box seats on Friday night to try something different. It was pretty cool but I think we both prefer to be even more in the action. You miss a bit of the intensity of the crowd when you are in your own little space. 
  • Having awesome seat neighbors and great conversations before the music on both Saturday and Sunday. We know this isn't always the case. 
  • Front row for the opening-opening acts on Sunday after the tease of Dave and Tim.  
  • Dave singing Loving Wings. "My heart was made of broken bones // My Soul's a bag of stick and stone // And out along this dusty road // You have come my love to take me home"
  • The wind. Whoa. Watching the lights sway on the stage. Seeing it blow through everyone's hair. It was intense. 
  • Meeting Rachel and her husband on Sunday. Hi Rachel!
  • Hearing our seat section roar and cheer on Sunday night each time Aaron tried to throw one of his many glow-sticks at a glow stick spider hanging from a pole about 15 rows ahead of us to the right (between Dave sets). Then happening to bump into that guy later on when we walked back to the campsite and realizing that he was the guy we had walked back with the night before who had gotten one of Carter's drum sticks at the end of the show on Saturday night. 
  • Aaron wearing the trucker hat. Aaron liking wearing the trucker hat. 
  • A conversation about being "that guy" over lunch at Burgerville on the drive home. 

See you next year Dave. Thanks for sharing your creativity with the world. 


My thought for you today is to invite the people you love to contribute to your memory keeping, to your details of life collection, to your photo taking. They might just surprise you with the things they notice and the things they want to remember.  

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62 thoughts

  1. mtercha says…
    09/04/2014

    Really awesome experience. Great photos. Great idea. When my husband and kids came back from vacation, I couldn't go, I asked them to write down their very favorite memory of their vacation. They also wrote a couple of stories. Dad took some great pics, plus I have something in everyone's handwriting. Thanks for sharing your very cool weekend. Michelle t

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. bytesprite says…
    09/04/2014

    I am an avid Dave fan too. Have been since 1999. I would love to have been there. The venue looks awesome! Thank you for sharing the pics. I really enjoyed seeing them. BTW...My fav...American Baby!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. littlelamm says…
    09/04/2014

    I saw DMB at Woodstock 99 and it was incredible. I am not a fan of concerts in stadiums with people packed around you. This would be a dream. Thank you for sharing! I can just hear the music. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. ME4050 says…
    09/04/2014

    'Been reading your blog for SEVERAL years.... maybe since you started it, actually... and this is one of my favorite posts. So descriptive that I can almost imagine myself being there.
    Since I'm in FL, we don't see landscape like that (and the farthest west I've been are TX and San Francisco), so I especially appreciated those photos.
    THANKS SO MUCH for sharing! 'Glad that you & A had an awesome time together - and that you're taking time out for just the two of you alone. Very necessary. ;)

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. busywoman139 says…
    09/04/2014

    Love, love, love DMB! Been a fan for a looong time and seeing him in concert is definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing your experience, it looks amazing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. ccledbetter says…
    09/04/2014

    Sounds like an awesome experience! Camping is the way to do the Gorge. I've been there twice, once to see Alanis Morrisette, another time to see Metallica. Trying to get out of there after a show is a nightmare (at least it was 10+ years ago)!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. MaggieR says…
    09/04/2014

    My hubby and I are huge DMB fans. We just got to see them at the shows at the Greek in Berkeley the week before and I was psyched when you mentioned you were going because I knew you'd post about it, and I'm so appreciative of you sharing your experience!

    Seeing them at the Gorge is a bucket list item for us and we totally should have gone before we had our three year old because it seems a few years off at best. I so love you sharing your thoughts and pics! Makes me feel (even a tiny little bit) like I was there.

    Gosh, I just love those guys. <3

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. MaggieR says…
      09/04/2014

      Oh, and Loving Wings is one of my very favorites. We used that as our first dance song at our wedding.
      "So I give to you my everything
      Because you've given me these loving wings
      And angels have all gathered round
      To hear me sing my love out loud."

      So fitting, since my dear grandmother had just passed away and it felt like it was written for us the way it touched our hearts and souls -- as so many of Dave's lyrics do. That man is a genius. And being drop dead sexy doesn't hurt a bit, either. ;)

      Maggie

  8. roseburgirl says…
    09/04/2014

    Loving your photos of this trip! My husband and I saw Keith Urban and John Mayer perform at the Gorge in August 2010 (amazing). I have been an Oregonian for almost 25 years and couldn't recall making that drive until then. It was gorgeous! I remember the weather being perfect for a road trip, and there was lots of stopping and taking photos along the way. Some of them hang on my wall today. I was hugely pregnant with my third child and remember thinking I couldn't make it up the hill at the amphitheater. Good times. I would do it all over in a heartbeat. Just reading this post brings back lots of good memories. :-)

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. jlkeehn3 says…
    09/04/2014

    I have loved Dave since 9th grade!! Love reading about your trip and experience. Also you are so lucky to have a partner that loves him too. My husband does not get it :( Someday I will take him to the gorge or Red Rocks to see him though..dreamed about seeing them there since I can remember. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. jennshurkus says…
    09/04/2014

    love this post ali :) the photos are beautiful!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. dptuffy says…
    09/04/2014

    Love Dave Matthews. After reading your post, I've added seeing him at an outdoor venue to my list. Sounds amazing. As always, thank you for the inspiration. Really going to try to get more thoughts of my loved ones onto paper and into my albums. Also going to hand the camera over to my daughter a bit more too :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. jamaica says…
    09/04/2014

    Sounds like so much fun. I never thought about the fact that if you see him for 3 nights you're almost guaranteed to hear your favorite songs. Of course! Some of yours are mine too... Stolen Away and Crash Into Me.*sigh* So rad. The Gorge is on my bucket list... maybe next year I'll venture north and cross it off. : )

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      Stolen Away is a new favorite for me - so good.

  13. kiminia says…
    09/04/2014

    LOVE how you recap events!!! Keep on sharing!
    I read through bloglovin' but since you upgraded, I get the title in the tab but your site won't open. Now that I know its you I go back to the bloglovin' feed & scroll until I find you & open your blog in another tab. anywayyyyyyyy I wanted you to be aware that bloglovin' isn't playing nice with your upgrades...

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      Hi! I know for me it opens in a new window (vs. opening with a bloglovin tab on the top). Is that what you mean?

  14. mr415 says…
    09/04/2014

    I was there on Saturday and Sunday. I've seen DMB so many times I have lost count but Sundays show was one of the best. Loved your recap here! Might try terrace camping next year, stayed at a hotel in Ellensburg this time.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      Awesome! Sunday was so great - if he would have added #41 in there it would have been even better ;).

  15. YolandaL says…
    09/04/2014

    This post was so rad. So wide open. I think this is the first time we have gotte to hear Aaron's voice. This may be the least guarded I've sensed you being about him in your writing. And as someone who has Ben reading your story for a long time, now, I'm just cheering for you. Because no one should have to apologize for being in love, having fun, and moving forward. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      I'm totally not apologizing. I think I'm just more protective of him coming into this story in the middle and that he should have a say in what he wants and doesn't want communicated publicly. It's a balance and a dance and one that we are learning as we go.

  16. Eheim says…
    09/04/2014

    Love this post, Ali!! Brings back so many good memories for me...saw Dave at the Gorge back in like 2004 w/ a big bunch of friends. So much fun!!! We were some of those rowdy ones...over in the campground where people don't sleep. The area you stayed in, seems much more my speed these days. Definitely need to get to a show there again someday...it's just so beautiful! Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      I totally would have been one of the rowdy ones back in the day. We like walking through their after the shows to get a snack and see all the craziness and then we like walking back to our nice quiet spot to sleep!

  17. jlhufford says…
    09/04/2014

    so love dave-- it's been a long time since i've been to one of his shows (like college) but my siblings go EVERY YEAR to both shows- it's the biggest concert weekend in indy. maybe i should go with them next summer!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      You should go - so fun.

  18. AmberCA says…
    09/04/2014

    Wow, so totally great! I love how much detail you documented. Those views from the Gorge! Sick!Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      I took a long time to write it all up, but I'm so happy I did otherwise I forget it way too quick.

  19. COEngrGirl says…
    09/04/2014

    Ali - now that you're a super fan, :-), you and Aaron need to put a trip to Denver to see DMB at Red Rocks on your bucket list! I'm putting hte Gorge on my list! Red Rocks is an amazing venue!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      Totally on our list!

  20. nvarner says…
    09/04/2014

    Ali love this post! Outdoor music festivals are the absolute best!! Awesome pictures too :)
    Quick question- what don't did you use for your journaling below/above the word art in your photos? Thank you!

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      That one is called Cooper Hewitt.

    2. nvarner says…
      09/04/2014

      Thank you!!

  21. dptuffy says…
    09/04/2014

    Ali, not sure if this is the place to leave this comment but I wanted you to know that your new posts, after 8/28 that is, are not showing up in my Bloglovin' feed. It still shows that I'm following you but it does not indicate that you have any new blog posts after this date. Thought you'd want to know :)

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      Hi! Yes - totally want to know. You might need to unfollow and then follow again. I can see them all: http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/1954075

    2. dptuffy says…
      09/04/2014

      Thanks! Tried that and it worked. Should have thought of that myself so as not to bother you :)

  22. teacherlisa says…
    09/04/2014

    micro stories...I love that :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. ashleymoseley says…
    09/04/2014

    Awesome! I feel like I want to add this to my life list! : )

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. ktr97230 says…
    09/04/2014

    I'm tearing up reading comments from DMB fans and having his show at the Gorge on their bucket list...feeling so fortunate to have seen him there three different years! xoxo (p.s. LOVE ME SOME BOYD!!!)

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. carringtonl says…
    09/04/2014

    Okay, the Gorge--I must go to a concert there now--wow, what a beautiful place. Love Dave Matthews, but it's been a while. I'll check out the songs I don't recognize and listen to my favorites again. And, I have to tell you, I really love your storytelling / journaling / photography and positive, real life, down-to-earth perspective on things. I have followed your blog for eons and rarely comment but had to respond to this today. Thanks for sharing all of this with all of us.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      09/04/2014

      Thank you - and thanks for commenting.

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