Sunday, July 11, 2010

Maryhill Train 2010.

Maryhill Winery has produced concerts along with its wines for years. We enjoyed the 2009 vintages thoroughly, which, we thought, displayed a skill for making a smooth yet complex product. Last night’s 2010 Train Concert did not live up to the higher standards we had expected.

It started great with golden hues and green tints. The colors of the painting-like views from Maryhill Winery change as the sun drops. We reunited with our four friends from the night before and met two new friends, who are Train aficionados, having seen them multiple times. A picnic on the lush lawn amphitheater with friends is one reason to attend a concert at Maryhill. We hardly noticed, and did not care, that the 7:00 p.m. start had slipped to about 7:40. Opening for train was an earnest performer whose show seemed more suited to a coffeehouse than an amphitheater. But again, who cares when friends hang out with food and wine.

Getting into the concert is a bit of a project. Organizers declared the onsite lot full by the time we arrived at 6:00, so ticketholders park down the road, and busses shuttle us in. A rope maze helps to funnel people through the bag inspection table and into the venue. While waiting to get in, one’s nose takes in scents of grasses, sage, and fruit (plus a little dust kicked up from the gravel road).

Although I was not keeping time before and after the music, I think Train got started around 8:20 or so. The sound quality was not great, although we did enjoy many classic notes. These kinds of rough edges – late start and sound quality – should have mellowed and rounded with age. Train played most of their hits, although a few were missing in action, which may have caused the crowd to be surprised when "Elvis left the building" by around 9:40. Rarely confident in my own opinions about concerts (or wines) I consulted with, Paul, our resident Train expert, who confirmed that other concerts he’d enjoyed lasted longer and sounded better.

That’s when things broke down. The journey from the venue to our car took about as long as the concert itself. Perhaps one factor is that longer concerts, with more encores, allow a significant percentage of the crowd to sneak out early to beat the rush. Once people descended into the dark Hell of the onsite parking lot, we were detained behind a fence, next to the gravel road. Winds whipped gravel dust kicked up by exiting cars into our eyes, nose, mouths and ears. After about 30 minutes of patience, people (especially me) got agitated. After another 30 minutes, we pushed and crowded our way onto the bus. When we finally got onto the road, we saw how hopeless it was for people in their cars still in that parking lot. Many probably had another 20 or 30 minutes before reaching black top.

To summarize my review of the Maryhill Winery’s 2010 vintage of Train:

Clear golden hues with green tints. Grassy, sagey nose. Although there were many bright,tasty notes and some full round bodies, the production had an astringent quality. The finish was too long, leaving a nasty mineral taste.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. Not because Jeff is my friend, and we were with him at the concert. (We didn't have a chance to compare notes in the mad dash for the car.) That said, we were one of "lucky" folks who got into parking lot before 6P. That said, Winery folks did not allow us to exit parking lot, for almost an hour, for what we assumed was the bus ritual Jeff described. All in all, a disappointment compared to past events (except exceptional company of aformentioned friends!).
    michelle c.