For our last day in the Bay Area, we attended one of those quintessential Bay Area events - a backyard party in Oakland featuring a concert by festival favorites Surprise Me Mr. Davis and local jam-rock veterans Spindrift.
The host with the most was Harry (also known as the man with the plan). He and his partner January have an awesome place in the most unlikely location in the central Oakland foothills.
The guest house in their backyard has an awesome deck that makes a great "stage" for live music. In the photo above, Spindrift was playing in the early afternoon around 1:30.
There were so many sweet spots around their backyard to chill, get down to the music, etc.
Rob says, "One of the best parts of the day was catching up with John Hoey, and reminiscing over the crazy times we had in those heady days right after I moved to the Bay Area."
These days John is a performing poet, and he sits in with several Bay Area bands on a fairly consistent basis, spreading his message.
Invariably, we ran into all kinds of friends from the old days, including:
Robert Levy, owner of the 12 Galaxies music venue/club, where we saw many great concerts. Robert hosted our going-away party at 12 Galaxies three years ago.
Brian, always a good friend who put us up when we were in San Francisco after our wedding in 2005, and who's married to our other good friend from way back...
Big thanks to Freda for styling Rob out with a new hat!
And Noah! (far right, green t-shirt) What a surprise this was, since Noah and Elizabeth live up in Portland, Oregon these days.
The reason for the gathering of so many from so far? The deeply satisfying new band Surprise Me Mr. Davis, which combines long-time cult-jazz-jamband favorites The Slip with vocalist supreme Nathan Moore. The result was some wonderfully soulful music with deep, jazz-influenced jams.
Surprise Me Mr. Davis had the whole backyard party fully engaged and in the groove from the time they hit the stage around 5:30.
We couldn't have ended up at a more quintessential family-friendly Bay Experience as this if we'd tried. What a beautiful spot and awesome party!
Even Rowan had a good time. Every time one of the bands finished a song, the resulting applause would have Rowan cheering like a diehard fan, clapping like crazy and yelling "Whoooo!! Yay!", turning heads, etc. (For some reason we could never seem to get a photo of this, despite several attempts - so here he is picking a "mushroom".)
Just when the party was really getting going, we had to leave and head out over the Oakland Hills for a dinner date.
Out in the suburbia of the far East Bay is Walnut Creek, where we spent our final night in the Bay Area with our good friends Eric and Jubilee.
We had an awesome visit with Eric and Jubilee, and we were styled out with home-cooked dinner and breakfast.
Also in Walnut Creek is our friend Oliver and his family. Again, we forgot to snap a photo, so it's yet another blast-from-the-past photo of Oliver (with Sulana) at our San Francisco wedding party. Oliver and his wife Lori, son Alex (5) and daughter Mia (13 months) joined us for dinner at Jubilee and Eric's house. (Thanks to Jubilee for cooking!) We all had a great time, and it was awesome seeing little Alex speak both English (with Lori) and German (with Oliver) fluently.
After a nourishing stay with Eric and Jubilee, it was finally time to go empty the storage shed and head home.
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