On our last night in town, Deer Valley Resort set us up to go see Michael McDonald of Steely Dan fame at one of the Concerts at the Park at the base of the Snow Park ski lift. Admittedly this type of event is not something that any of us would typically think we wanted to go and do (we are more the adventure-y, outdoorsy types), but since the resort kindly hosted us we decided to go check it out.The resort’s PR office told us ahead of time that we’d have tickets and picnic baskets reserved in our name at the concert, but somehow we didn’t quite realize that this meant we’d get the full VIP treatment. We thought we’d be sitting on the grass, so we packed a rather garish assortment of blankets (two of which were Christmas themed with penguins, Santas, and “ho ho ho” all over them), a bottle of wine poured into a Nalgene, jackets, and a few other odds and ends. We had just completed yet another epic day of mountain biking on the Mid-Mountain and Crest trails, so we were really looking forward to any excuse to sit down and put more food in our faces, so we packed extra food in case the picnic baskets weren’t enough for us bottomless pits.
Little did we know that we had reserved seating (complete with lawn chairs – swanky!), a separate entrance, and gracious escorts to show us to our seats. We were stoked! But when we arrived we found that instead of three tickets and three baskets, we had two tickets and four baskets, which translated to lots of food but nowhere to sit. Let me tell you, though, the staff at Deer Valley are all over things because the VIP concierge quickly produced another ticket in about ten seconds flat, right next to the first two which was actually kind of a miracle. We still ended up with four full picnic baskets though, so we made quite the spectacle tromping to our seats laden down with four baskets, three silly-themed blankets, a cooler, a bag, and a bottle of wine (in addition to our wine-in-Nalgene-bottle). As we sat we were overcome with the giggles as we are really not very pretentious or stylish people, and our just-completed-thirty-mile-bike-ride-hungry-enough-to-eat-a-horse look combined with my co-Geargal’s newly obtained bike-induced cuts and bruises, our tacky blankets, wine in a Nalgene bottle, and general cluelessness contrasting with the classy picnic baskets and swanky environment made us look…interesting, shall we say the least.
Said bike ride had made us all ravenous (are you noticing a theme with these Park City posts?), and we quickly dove into the baskets to see what goodies awaited us. Now, if you ever get the chance to go to a Concert at the Park at Deer Valley, I highly recommend getting a picnic basket because it really is great, and full of enough food for two (unless one of you is my boyfriend, who can really eat like there is no tomorrow). Each basket had a filet of either beef or salmon, a plate of antipasto, a piece of lemon pound cake, a chocolate raspberry tart, a baguette, a sliver of brie, an apple, a bunch of grapes, and plate, napkin, and swanky faux metal flatware to eat it all with. Way too much for one person to eat and for whatever reason we had four of them for only three of us. It really was overwhelming and we ended up sharing quite a bit of our food with event volunteers and people sitting around us. This was fine with us as an excess of food is a GOOD thing after a 40+ mile mountain bike day.
We didn’t know what to expect from the concert itself, as none of us knew that much about Michael McDonald’s own music – all we knew was the Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers era stuff. He played enough covers to give our ears some familiar sounds, though, and he really must have sparked something in the audience because the crowd went from a reserved and dignified zero to a shouting, dancing, clapping, celebrating sixty in about five minutes. At one moment there was sedate rhythmic clapping with a few audience members dancing on one of the grassy lawns, and the next about 90 percent of the audience was on their feet, dancing like crazy.
There were people running down to the front of the stage, shaking their designer jean-clad hineys and waving their arms in the air, and one woman even performing a faux strip tease (sexily removing her red fleece vest, revealing a starched cotton shirt and yet another pair of designer jeans). It really was the most hilarious thing, seeing the wine-sipping, haute couture crowd really getting down and funky. The venue was great, though; nothing can beat the open air. The concert was kept to a reasonable hour and 15 minutes which is enough time for everyone to get all excited but not so long that weird things start to happen. The fleece vest strip-tease was enough weird for me.
After the concert we were pleasantly surprised to find that our VIP status got us into the afterparty, which was a hopping affair that featured a salsa bar, beer and wine, and coffee. And more Park City people watching, which I have to say was a highlight for me. Of course I had to make an idiot out of myself one more time; no night is complete without it. The VIP gate guard was solicitously advising the party ahead of us to watch their step on the perfectly manicured, very gently sloping lawn, so I took it upon myself to wisecrack when she turned to us, telling her “don’t worry, we’re not hammered, we can handle the lawn” at which time she pointed out that the woman in front of me was injured and using a cane, hence the need for careful stepping. Nice job, me. Duly humbled, we carried our Christmas blankies in to the VIP party to do some people watching. The crowd had gotten so into the concert that we were sure the party would be a good scene, and we were not disappointed. It lacked the dancing, but retained the energy and the crowd was still on its Michael McDonald-induced high.
As I waited in the drink line (we got two free ones, and I must say that being a VIP is definitely the way to go), I decided to learn more about Park City by engaging with the locals. Let’s just say that Park City is pretty fashion conscious. It’s evident just by looking around that people spend a LOT of time on their appearance. I figured this was my in, so I commented that I liked one woman’s boots and she said “They’re Frye” in that tone that meant that duh, I really should have known that, touched with a bit of sadness for me that I was such a fool as to have to ask. This backcountry girl from Alaska who wears no makeup and has only had hair extensions once in her life (in order to dress up as Lara Croft for Halloween) really has no idea what Frye boots are , nor do I understand the sort of enhancements that Park City women seem to be really into. Lots of women here also seem to go to the same hairdresser for the same highlights and swishy, fashionable layered haircuts. After three days of Outdoor Retailer, at which no one really even wears makeup and most women have sports-induced bruises and broken fingernails and drink beer out of the bottle, it was a study in contrast to come back to an event in Park City where no woman (um, except me) leaves the house without perfect highlighted and/or extended hair, manicured nails, designer clothes and sunglasses, full face practically stage-ready makeup, and pretty much perfect everything. Believe me, if something is not perfect, it is starched, molded, colored, or surgically enhanced to force it to be perfect. Though, if you ask me, there is something weird about seeing 55 year old women in Ed Hardy shirts and sparkly Guess tops and jeans with spangled rear pockets. I was having a bit of a Freaky Friday moment.
The guy behind me in the drink line was so enamoured of the Frye-boot-wearing woman (who really was very pretty), and pretty much any other good looking woman (which was all of them; this town is the motherlode for good looking, well-groomed women) and was so vocal about his views on such topics that I finally had to get involved with his ogling and tell him that if he went up and asked her if she was wearing Frye boots he might be able to strike up a conversation. I was really hoping that he would do it so that I could have even more entertainment during this already really amusing night, but he had no balls and wouldn’t do it. I even told him directly that he was sackless and he just said sadly, “I know.” And sad it is, really, to be reduced to staring openly at women but lacking whatever it takes to go and talk to them. It’s just kind of unfortunate in general to be over forty (oh, even, over TWENTY) and be so focused on appearance that an actual conversation or interest in someone’s personality seems out of reach. Just a little observation I thought I’d throw into this review. You see, reviews of human nature are so rarely published; perhaps I should change the focus of this site. But testing human nature is not nearly as fun as testing gear and checking out travel destinations, so, hmm, I think not.
But before I get completely off the subject of human nature, I want to mention that another thing I noticed about the Park City crowd is that they don’t feel compelled to clean up after themselves. I was pretty appalled to see the trash, bottles of wine, and general detritus left all over the lawn for the event staff to pick up after the concert was over. This is not classy behavior, Park City, and you should clean up after yourselves because other people are not here just to do it for you. Or, maybe we are, because my party ended up helping pick up used picnic baskets for a while because we are just that way and don’t like to see things left a big mess. I really should have taken a picture of the mess, but I wasn’t supposed to take pictures, according to the signage. How did I get the pictures shown above? Er….
Local-shaming aside, the concert was a highlight for us. We had a blast. We enjoyed the VIP treatment very much and I would advise concert goers to spring for the reserved seats; they were very good and provided great sound and view of the stage. I also highly recommend the baskets. They aren’t really cheap but you get a TON of food for your money and we were really happy to have them after our long mountain bike excursion. Even as hungry as we were, we could have done with two baskets between the three of us. We were happy to be able to share our food bounty with other concert-goers. Still, the concert would have been really enjoyable even without the accoutrements; outdoor concerts are great anyway and this small, intimate venue was really well suited to a nice experience. If you are a fashion maven you will be in heaven, and if you are not, you will definitely feel immersed in a foreign culture. And isn’t that a big reason for traveling?