I am writing this entry on April 12 9:20am, the morning after the concert.
Yesterday was a very long day—in a very good way, that is. As good as the concert was at the end of the day, for me the best part was whatever happened before it; it has been my most “social” day so far in this trip.
Knowing we’re only have to drive a couple of hours to get from Portland to Eugene, we took the morning very easily. I slept in—I think it wasn’t before 10:00am when I woke up. We took a huge suite in the Embassy Suites to host the three of us—Jeroen, Alex and myself; within an hour or so, we were ready to start the day.
And what’s a better way to start the day than standing in line for an hour in order to check‐out a doughnut shop?
Just across the street from the hotel, there’s a doughnut shop called “Voodoo Doughnut”. Walking nearby it the night before, we noticed a huge line‐up outside the store. Fiona mentioned that line‐ups are always there, and that she had never tried any of those doughnuts.
It doesn’t take much to ignite my passion for food. If there’s a doughnut shop that dozens of people render it completely reasonable to wait in line for for an hour, every day and night—I simply have to check it out. What is it that could be so good about a doughnut? I immediately notified my companions that we are not leaving Portland until I get my hands on some of those doughnuts.
Fortunately I found agreement on the listening side.
So anyway, we went downstairs and found a huge line‐up in front of the store. The line appeared to move very slowly, so we figured we’re going to have to wait in line for quite a while. Alex asked me to briefly describe to him the origins and trouble of the Israeli people—which I happily did. Now and then, the guys took some photos:
An hour went by quickly and then we experienced the sensation of importance when we switched from the line‐up outside into the line‐up inside the store. It’s a tiny store, can host around 8 hungry people.
They have an interesting selection:
On display, they had a few interesting items. Look at this huge doughnut:
Another doughnut had maple glazing and bacon (!) on it:
And of course the day wouldn’t be complete without The Weeny—a doughnut shaped to cater for really interesting people. Also the perfect gift for a bachelorette party:
After about 20 minutes in line inside the store, our turn to order has finally arrived. A box of 15 doughnuts cost us just under $10. We rushed outside, I called Fiona and announced “We have the doughnuts!”. The next stop was Umbria Cafe—an Italian‐style coffee place Fiona has been raving about.
On our way, we tried the doughnuts. Nothing special, really.
The entire gang met there again. Took breakfast there—a delicious sandwich and an even more delicious espresso; this place has some great atmosphere, certainly not your usual coffee place. Refreshing decor, lots of space and mouth‐watering dining selection. We spent around an hour there—Fiona, Steven, Alex, Jeroen and myself—chatting, sharing a few laughs and having a great time:
I then got introduced to a co‐owner of the place—a rather nice Italian individual who just got back from a bike ride and had some very interesting things to say. Soccer was playing on the TV screen and so we talked about Italy’s chances of winning the upcoming world‐cup. He didn’t sound too optimistic about it but hey, wasn’t it a surprise last time they took the title?
I decided to make him famous:
On our way out, we encountered Bernie—an interesting and colourful persona that frequents the place. He has a very interesting story to tell, and I really liked his clothing so… why not.
We then left the store. Sunny outside, a bit windy but who cares. Loaded ourselves into the car when Fiona suggested to take a “goodbye Portland” photo (Alex is holding the doughnut box open):
And off we drove to Eugene!
Took us two hours to get into this small town. I crossed it during the last tour, so the name sounded familiar. The concert was scheduled to take place at the Hult Centre of the Performing Arts, so we chose an inn about 500 meters away (unlike Alex, who managed to Priceline a room at the Hilton—adjacent to the venue—for $50).
While passing the time in the room, I got a shout from Ryan Dunne saying he’s in town. I met Ryan in the Jacksonville, OR concert two years ago, and we kept in touch ever since. He attended Portland’s concert and we were going to see him again at the Hult. We all decided on an early dinner before the show, at the Sixth Avenue Grill right across the street from the venue. The entire six‐piece went there, what a great experience—we had a good time. Good food, too.
An hour or so later, my craving for coffee prompted me to suggest some caffeine intake before the concert. As this is a small town and it was Sunday evening, chances of finding an espresso bar were slim to none so we decided to hit a place that we were told open all the time. It’s not even a store—it’s a drive‐thru coffee booth called “Dutch Bros. Coffee”. It’s located in a parking lot. Now how bizarre is that, huh? I’ve never seen anything like it—neat idea. Fiona mentioned that “this is Oregon”.
A decent macchiato costs here $1. Better than Starbucks’ coffee, and for quarter of the price. As my body was absorbing the caffeine, I found it appropriate to head to the venue now. Isaac’s got his coffee, and nobody gets hurt.
The Hult Centre is one great venue. The concert hall itself is absolutely gorgeous and the location has great facilities, lots of space and cheerful atmosphere:
Got the tickets—front row centre, again—and passed the time chatting with my friends for an additional 30–45 minutes until Pieta Brown came on stage.
Someone from the tour’s production—if you read this, please reduce the lights when Pieta is on the stage, no need to waste energy; she lights up the hall herself. I took a couple of pictures; yes, people, her voice is just as sweet:
After Pieta’s performance, the six of us realized that this may be the last time this tour we’re going to be together, so we bid each other farewell and took some pictures. Here’s Ryan:
And Fiona & Steven:
A few minutes later the gang came on stage. Eugene’s a quiet town, much unlike the audience—everyone cheered pretty loudly when the band showed up; I looked back, and this wonderful venue filled with standing, cheering people was a really great thing lo look at.
Border Reiver started the show (as it has so far in the tour), when I finally concluded that Mark tunes his Strat half a tone down (this is a Cm song, he appears to play as if it is C♯m). Interesting. Might be more convenient to do so, I’ll have to try myself.
As in every concert so far, the setlist changed a bit. While most songs remain, the band is trying new things every night. The sound at the venue was phenomenal—similar in quality to that of Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre. It was great to listen to Get Lucky live again, the Marbletown jam session involving brilliant work by Mike and Tim… and then the band surprised us with Mark taking a guitar I haven’t seen yet, as well as a slider. A short yet brilliant 2 minutes intro, and we got an extremely interesting performance of Donegan’s Gone from the album Shangri‐La. The best thing about this performance was Tim’s work on God‐knows‐what‐instrument‐was‐that (a tiny mandolin?). Mark and Tim were having sort‐of a conversation with each other. Beautiful song, beautiful performance.
Telegraph Road boasted an exciting outro guitar solo, and then the encore with the sweet Piper to the End to seal the show.
Wonderful day, wonderful concert—what more could one ask for, really.
Here are some photos taken by Jeroen:
10:38am Monday morning. Today there’s no concert—the next one is tomorrow in Oakland, CA so we’re going to explore the drive along the beach. Sunny day today. We’ll have breakfast first as I’m starving.