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August 21, 2007

KEB' MO' & ROBERT CRAY BAND, @ The Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CA 8.16.07

First of all, a big THANK YOU to my nephew Kevin and his wife, Devon, who gave me two tickets to see Keb' Mo' and Robert Cray at The Mountain Winery for my 50th birthday in April!     I'd never seen Keb' Mo', but Gary has a couple of his CDs and I knew I liked his music.     Gary often reminds me of one of Keb' Mo's lines ... "You don't have to shave your legs for me ..."    I like this guy!!    (Gary AND Keb' Mo'!)    We were both very excited to see him.

Robert Cray ... what can I say?     He's awesome, but I've seen him three times in the past year alone!   He opened for Buddy Guy at the Mountain Winery last year, he opened for Eric Clapton in San Jose in March, and we saw him at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago just a couple of weeks ago -- and now he was going to be opening for Keb' Mo'.   (Or so we thought.)   When I got stuck late at work I thought, "It's OK if we're a little late because Robert Cray is opening and we HAVE seen him three times just in the past year."     Then, when Gary and I decided we were both hungry and we really needed to eat something on the way, we stopped at a great little Fish & Chips place for a quick dinner on the way (I called ahead and our food was on the table for us when we arrived!) ... so we spent a little extra time doing that, but not a problem, because ... after all, we have seen Robert Cray three times ..

We arrived at the Mountain Winery for the 7:00 PM show at about 8:15, just in time to catch the last few songs of KEB' MO'S set!!   AAAUUUGGHHH!!    HE was the opening act ... for Robert Cray!!     (Don't they usually put the main act's name first, in larger letters with the opening act's name in smaller letters second?    Well, the advertisements and tickets and everything else said, "KEB' MO' and The Robert Cray Band.")     Well, enough whining about that ... we weren't sorry that we "HAD" to see Robert Cray, just that we'd missed a good hunk of Keb' Mo's show!



This was not a "Billboard" event -- these were my own tickets, so again, I have photos to share that were taken by a "regular person" in the audience of a concert ... no special access to get up close with my Mobilebeat LG camera-phone.    I think these photos are wonderful though -- maybe I'm a little too far away to see the performers' sweat, but you can certainly see what a LOVELY venue the Mountain Winery is.

We thoroughly enjoyed the last few songs and encore of Keb' Mo's set.  He's a great musician, and his music is "FUN."   Oh, you may wonder what Keb' Mo's real name is ... it's Kevin Moore.   But I'm sure you'll agree, it would be hard to believe a guy named Kevin Moore could have or sing about the Blues.     But Keb' Mo' ... now THAT guy could sure have the Blues!

For those of you who live someplace other than California, I'm sure you have this "image" of California and Californians ...  if you think of some of us as "tree huggers," here's a photo that'll prove it.    No trees were cut down for THIS concert venue ... this tree has a permanent, "best seat in the house," (Row G, Seats 32 & 33) as the bleachers were built right around him. 


After intermission, Robert Cray's set started.    Now as I said, I love Robert Cray.   Just because I thought it was OK to be late and miss part of his set, don't take that to mean I don't like him.     But Thursday night's show was awful!    And it wasn't his fault ... there was something wrong with the sound at the venue.    I know they have problems with "neighbors" complaining about noise and they have a STRICT curfew (I've even seen them PULL THE PLUG on a world-class musician who was trying to get "one more song" in), so I don't know if the sound was too low because of the "neighbors," or because the sound guys were just plain awful.     (Don't you want to SMACK those stupid people who buy a house down the hill from a concert venue -- or airport for that matter -- then complain about the noise?!?)   Anyway, I was sitting there thinking, "I can't hear it!"   Then I heard the people behind us commenting on the volume ... then the man next to me started yelling, "TURN IT UP!!"   "WE CAN"T HEAR YOU!!"    They finally did turn it up a bit, but that didn't really help much as the quality of the sound just plain SUCKED.    The audience started leaving ... well, Robert Cray's music is kind of S-L-O-W -- not that there's anything wrong with that!! -- but it was dark, the music was slow, it wasn't loud enough, and it sounded like we were listening to "Robert Cray on AM Radio."  I said, "The sound on my car stereo is better than this!!" and with that, we got up and left too.     (I'm SORRY Robert!!)    On the way out I stopped to tell every staff person I could find, "In case anybody is interested in why the audience is LEAVING ... it's because the sound is AWFUL!!"


(Taken with no flash, from the "bleachers," at night.)

The Mountain Winery is undergoing a huge renovation right now.   Don't know if the changes in the hillsides surrounding the venue have had an effect on the "acoustics," or if their sound system just ... sucks.    Whatever the reason, this is an expensive venue (our bleacher seats were about $50-$60 each), and if the sound is CRAP, nobody is going to come there anymore.

I think the Mountain Winery is doing music lovers and musicians a great disservice if they're trying to put on concert events when they really should just close until their renovations are done and they're READY to put on a show!  And I think The Mountain Winery owes Robert Cray an apology!!)


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That was disappointing? Sucks when the sound is not good... must have been terrible to leave that early... when it comes to concerts I don't like to be late and NEVER leave early. I never understand those people that leave early, they don't know what they are missing!


We saw them in Calgary two nights ago at a great venue in terms of acoustics. Sound was awful there, too, leading me to think the problem lies in the sound tech. Interestingly, our tickets listed RC first and KM second, leading us to believe that KM was the warm-up .... not the case. We showed up a little late (more interested in RC) and caught the last 3 songs of RC's set!?!?! Come on fellas, let's be consistent with your promotions. That said, and despite the sound issue, we enjoyed the KM set and look forward to seeing them again.


I just saw Etta James at the Mountain Winery, and the sound was fine, and certainly loud enough for us (we were in the back in general admission seats). Maybe there were enough complaints?

Corey Kelly

That 1st pic is pretty cool with all the lighting! Looks like fun!


love the mountain winery!!!!

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