MotorCity to Michigan Brewing Company - A Labor Day Michigan Adventure.
I have always wanted to see Steely Dan. For my birthday this year, Julie Claire gave me two tickets and a night at the Motor City Casino (http://motorcitycasino.com/) on the Saturday night of Labor Day weekend.
We got up bright n early Saturday morning to make the most of it. Made to Motor City before noon and checked in. Very, very nice people - great room - lots of casino hub-bub. Gambling is not my type kind, but Julie parlayed her gambling budget of $30 into a $188 win at the slots.
We hopped in a cab to Greek Town for some chow. Stuffed ourselves with sauganaki and other yummy stuff, hopped on the people movcr (http://www.thepeoplemover.com/WE-LL-TAKE-YOU-THERE!.id.2.htm) to the Ren Cen. From there we walked out to the Riverwalk - which was amazing. The Detroit River is beautiful ( we thought it would be all dirty and stinky) we walked in the refreshing beeze along with lots of other folks, watched the kids playing in the fountains, got some ice cream and headed back the other way. People were very nice - folks were happy, even though Michigan leads the country in unemployment and Detroit is one of the hardest hit cities in the nation - you would not have known it from the people we encountered.
Guess what - the Detroit Jazz Festival was going on. (Who knew?) There was some great music coming from Hart Plaza - I saw a older gentleman playing piano on the screen (we were too late for a seat) and then heard the band break into a Dave Brubeck standard .... what? I walked over to check the line-up on a poster - Yup, it was Dave himself playing while we were there.
Back to MCC for Steely Dan. I knew the show would be great, especially since the Sound Board Theatre only seats 1,500 people or so. It weas everything I could have asked for. 4 horn players, 3 back up singers, a killer drummer - Becker and Fagen - and a guitar player from NYC named Jon Herington (http://www.steelydan.com/2kband.html#herington). Wow - what a great two hour show. If you know SD music, you know how complex it can be - The band nailed every note - Fagen's voice was a little strained, but the audience kicked in a number of times and Mr Herington nailed all the CRUCIAL solo guitar work. I got to shake his hand and thank him for a job well done a couple hours after the show when Julie and I were scarfing down burgers and he walked by.
Sunday morning we headed out to Tom's house in St Clair Shores. One the way we toured Belle Isle (http://www.fobi.org/). Wow -I had never been there. What a gorgeous park in the middle of the Detroit River. It has the most incredible fountain - all made of marble - in the middle of the park. Bicycle paths, spots to fish - picnic - all just 5 minutes from downtown Detroit.
Then we were off for boating, beer, and fun with Tom, Diane, and Floyd. Tom and Diane live on a canal off Lake St Clair. Just so happens their neighbor down the canal is none other than Patti Smith - two of her songs ("Gone Pie" and "Persuasion") are constantly on my MP3 player. What a hoot! We drove by, but Patti didn't come out to say howdy. Tom and Diane took us for beer at Jacks (http://www.jackswaterfront.com/) where you can motor right up, climb out of your boat and sip a drink while musicians played on the deck - then Julie piloted the boat some on the way home (we cruised by one of Kid Rock's mansions which is on the shore of Lake St Clair). Not content with mere boating fun - Tom turned us loose on his big two-seater Yamaha wave runner. Whoooo-hoo! Back for burgers and dogs on the grill and we all conked out.
This morning we mosied home with a stop at the home of some of the best beer in Michigan (to say nothing of their killer root beer): The Michigan Brewing Company in Webberville.
Hey - it is Labor Day - and I celebrated with a killer Raspberry Wheat beer and some chicken tenders and potatoes - grrrrrreat breakfast, eh? We were the first ones in - we got there right when they opened at 10. I was glad they were making food.
It just so happens that I was at the Michigan Brewing Co the first week-end they opened - about 14 years ago. Met Bobby the owner and he gave me a tour of the place (it was much smaller then) and introduced me to Heffe Weizen! YUMMY stuff.
We brought home 2 six packs of root beer, an assortment of their brews and I bought a case of their seasonl Pumpkin Ale. Oh - did I mention they also distill vodka and gin? We bought a fifth of their vodka, too. (http://www.michiganbrewing.com/)
Well anyway - we made the most of our great state this week-end. Music, friends, the water, great beer, - it does not get any better than that.