- WEATHER - 10 - Originally rated at 8, due to some bothersome wind, it's been re-rated up. The temperature never got above the mid-80s. It was even (dare I say it) chilly on Friday morning during the initial stage set-up. Starting on Sunday, the temps jumped to the mid-90s, and 99 today. Tomorrow is supposed to be hot and thunderstorms. Looking back, the weather was pretty darned good!
- STAGE CREW- 10 - As mentioned earlier, they worked their tails off. I was 2 hours ahead of schedule on Friday. And after the concert, it only took just over an hour to clear the stage, and the whole thing was down within 3 hours.
- PERFORMANCE - 7 - This was not a perfect performance, by any means. There was a full-blown train wreck in the third movement of The Planets (Mercury). Sure, it was the most difficult movement. Sure, it's easy for the brass (most of whom don't play that movement) to criticize. But when one is unsure where they are in the music, they should be looking at the conductor to help them figure it out. Instead, people panicked. It wasn't pretty. It shouldn't have happened. Made everyone a little skittish about the rest of the first half of the concert.
- FIREWORKS - 8 - To be fair, the fireworks were a 10, but their execution hurt. In particular, the finale ended about 30 seconds early. Not the fault of the pyrotechnician, but poor performance by our staff people in charge of cues.
- CROWD - 8 - After the number of years I've been doing this, I've quit trying to estimate the size. If someone says there were 15,000 people there, I wouldn't argue. Our new executive director has some clout with numerous government agencies who routinely photograph you and me from their satellites. He's already put in a request for data, if it's available. Then we might get a truer number. The reason for a lower rating--people are slobs. Garbage, chicken bones, and bottle tops littered the lawn. Despite numerous warnings over the years about no dogs, six people were told to leave because they brought them. And for all the "not MY dog!" arguments, there was still plenty of dog poop to make things unpleasant.
- SOUND - 9 - For an outdoor venue like this, we have to be miked. And for the most part, that was fine. But there were some points where the mics were a little hot.
- BUZZ - 9 - It depends who you talk to about this one. There were many that just weren't impressed (which blows me away...). I didn't get to really talk to the man. I was introduced, and shook hands. Of course, I was in awe. He had a strict schedule, I had work to do, it just wasn't in the cards to have any sort of conversation. As for his narration--he lost the point based on his presentation. He sounded like a career military man reading a script that someone else had written. Which, by coincidence, is exactly what he was doing. This isn't a normal function for him, but he did well. But not a 10.
- CONCESSIONS - 10 - Honestly, I don't really know what there was available, or if it was any good, but Dad came backstage at intermission and gave me a large cup of beer. It was tasty, it was cold, and it couldn't have come at a better time. So that rates a 10 for the entire category!
- PERSONAL INJURY - 8 - This would have been a 10 if I'd done this Sunday night. But I drew blood Monday morning. Not a scrape, but more of a puncture in my arm. Not sure when or how it happened, but I looked down, and I'm bleeding. Add the pain in every joint below my hips, and the best I could do was an 8. Still better than snapping my leg off like last year!
- OVERALL EXPERIENCE - 8.5 - I still stand by this number, even if it doesn't work out that way. I was really disappointed in the train wreck, and irked about the fireworks finale. But if that's the worst things that happened, then I'd call it a rousing success!
Note the blankets already out at 9:00 AM! - Just the center portion of the huge crowd...
Beginning of the concert. Note the kids playing. - We had no idea that we had this sunset! Beautiful!