Saturday, July 05, 2008

Stories from the Hatch Shell

Well, we did it. We did the whole "camp out at the Hatch Shell for the 4th of July Boston Pops Concert and fireworks" thing.

It was awesome and much easier than I expected. I showed up at 7:30 am to get in line with my kids. We sat in chairs until the line started moving approaching 9am when the Oval (the grassy area in front of the shell) opened. We got in easily, set down tarps with a great view of the stage right in the middle of the oval and settled in for a relaxing morning.

When you enter the Oval you get a wristband that allows you to come back anytime. I heard they give out 10,000 wristbands so my kids probably didn't need to come so early with me. Wristbands were still available after 1pm.

Alex came down to pick up the kids and I sat under my umbrella in a cool drizzle catching up on Google Reader on my phone. I learned about this: SimplyNoise How cool is that? And I learned about this. I can't wait.

Then came the moment: a low rumble in the column of speakers upon sub-woofers. Pealing into Also Sprach Zarathustra. My sternum began to shudder and quake. It was epic. It was the start of the program for all of us in the Oval.

I left to get my kids and got back in easily at 6:15. The crowd had swelled and was festive. Tents had come down and lights had gone up. Flags were everywhere. Sound checks, tributes and introductions and then the TV show portion began.

The National Anthem and the F-15 Flyover was a highlight.

The Boston Pops were amazing. They did several pieces by Leonard Bernstein that were pulsating with rhythm and very difficult. Hearing live music of this quality is a rare pleasure. Of course the 1812 Overture was rousing.

Rascal Flatts was/were really good. They can flat play.

The lowlight of the evening was biting into a sandwich that I has set on the ground earlier. I noticed a spicy, sour taste as I was chewing the first big bite. I looked down and saw a platoon of ants deployed on the sandwich all around my bite mark. Apparently some of this merry band were missing in action in my mouth. I took evasive action. Luckily it was during the Fireworks so eyes were drawn elsewhere. My kids now refer to this anecdote as "The Ant Sandwich".

Happy Birthday America.

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