Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The first thing I needed to do this morning was find a nice overlook to see the morning sunlight on the Collegiate Peaks and Sawatch Range, the snow fields brightly lit in the early yellow light. Breakfast at the Golden Burro in Leadville after which I drove out to the trail head on the south side of Tennessee Pass. The fresh snow that had fallen these last few days covered all tracks of the group that had gone up to the hut several days earlier. I was reluctant to proceed on my own and waited for the entire group to show up about an hour later

The climb was relatively easy during this sunny and warm spring day. We arrived at the hut, unloaded our packs, claimed our bunks and proceeded to either begin the party around the stove or head out for some easy skiing up to Slide Lake. After resting to catch my breath I put on the skis to do some sightseeing.

Massive cornices topped all ridge lines above the lake. Billowing snow rolled off the ridge and peaks, snow devils swirling on the downwind slope, their columns lit in sunlight. The remnants of a massive avalanche covered one slope beside the lake, clean lines marking where they broke loose high on the mountain. I chose a different route back to the hut but snow conditions were not the best, the warmed and now freezing snow making a crust that was somewhat difficult to make clean turns in.

A fabulous dinner followed by drink and conversation. By 10 PM everyone called it a night and made their way upstairs. But for me the party had only begun

My choice for this evening was Van Halen's July 3, 1993 live performance at the Lake Theme Park in Darien Lake, New York. A very good audience recording that lasted a full two hours. Sammy kept wondering where he was, this outdoor venue being so far away from anything. "Oh man, it's great to be here, its been a long time. I don't think we played outdoors around here. Hey, I don't think so, huh?. We're going to be up here a real long time tonight, you know what I mean? You know how long it took you to get here, we're going to play at least that fucking long!"

From Ian Christe's "The Van Halen Saga":

Eddie Van Halen met Kurt Cobain later that year, and appeared unimpressed by the new breed of rock star. Eddie stumbled into Nirvana's dressing room backstage on December 30, 1993, at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California, and began badgering towering bassist Krist Novoselic, insisting he was so tall he should play basketball. Then Eddie naturally offered the newest sensation their mark of arrival - he wanted to join Nirvana onstage for a jam. "We don't jam, we're not that kind of band," Cobain said. "Besides, we don't have any extra guitars."

Eddie jerked a thumb at Nirvana's second guitarist, Pat Smear of the legendary L.A. punk band the Germs. "Let me play the Mexican's guitar," Eddie suggested. "What is he, is he Mexican? Is he black?"

Then Eddie began sniffing a deodorant bar, leaving white residue on his face. The others in the room didn't see a shy, half-Indonesian Dutch immigrant whose life had been spent half in seclusion with a guitar - they saw a drunken celebrity acting like a huge asshole.

"It was horrible! I was just shocked," said Smear, who counted Eddie as an idol. "I was thinking, 'God, Eddie Van Halen hates me!'"

Pestered by Eddie's drunkenness and offended by slurs directed at his bandmate, Cobain suggested Eddie go onstage by himself and play "Eruption" after they finished their encore - the kind of smartass insult that slides right over the head of square elders, especially impaired rock stars.

Dancing on the outdoor deck under a star lit sky. Feeling chilled an hour and a half into it, I retreated inside where I finished off the show, just barely awake at this midnight hour. I crawled beneath my sleeping bag in the corner of the hut a few feet away from the stove and out went the light.

Download the show here:

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