Greg Ehrlich is a chef and food enthusiast based in Seattle, WA. When not cooking, he enjoys the mountains, water skiing, making music with friends and napping.

Red Rocks and Walmarts

Red Rocks. Another dream venue to check off the list. Looking up at the Rocks from stage you’re filled with a sense of giddy excitement and awe. We play first, for 40 minutes, and play well. Many bros are in the crowd. They like us. I’m pleasantly suprised.

Andrew and company take stage and crush their set. One of the best shows I have ever seen them perform.

O.A.R. take the stage. It’s a crime scene halfway through- they have whipped the audience into a frenzy. I am unfamiliar with their music but impressed by their energy and presence.

Double encore. All members of all bands join O.A.R. onstage for big jam of “Live and Let Die.” The night is only beginning.

After party commences. Bus call is 2:30am. We have about two hours.

Portable chairs outside the bus are hastily arranged to form a semi circle around an imaginary campfire, the party barely hidden from the public, shielded behind tour buses in a parking lot at the base of amphitheater. You could have found us by the noise. Guitars ringing with drunken musicians doing their best to remember the lyrics of the greats like Petty, Dylan and Rivers Cuomo.

I am reminded there is a God when no one plays a Sublime song.

Coors cans clank to the ground, the distinct sound of victory after a round of shotgunning. Couples cuddle in dim light. Members of O.A.R., Andrew McMahaon and Allen Stone pass Makers, Bulleit and unmentionables, swapping stories, laughs and bear hugs.

2:30am arrives. We bid our friends in O.A.R. goodbye as they are traveling separately. Tomorrow is an off day. The Andrew McMahon and Allen Stone crews are staying at KOA campground with a pool, BBQ pits and cabins. Heaven help the other campers when we arrive.

But first, we must procure provisions for our stay.

Two tour buses rolls into a Walmart at 3:30am. High on thin Rocky Mountain air, the adrenaline of playing a sold out show at Red Rocks, healthy doses of bourbon, and for some, other substances… we storm the gates of WalMart. A lead singer hops immediately inside of a cart, pushed by another band’s bass player, the lead singer furiously swatting items into his cart as he is propelled down the aisle, yelling “Supermarket sweep! Supermarket sweep!” The staff are not pleased. Soon he ditches his cart for a Mongoose bike discovered in the sporting good section and is now flying down the dry goods aisle. Staff still not pleased.

My girlfriend and her new friend Tiffany on the tour decide to try on American flag swimsuits. This is why I like her. Tiffany also decides on a piñata for purchase. I suspect this is why her fiance likes her.

I fly my cart all around the Walmart, and smirk at the realization I am out of place. Some of my friends are buying queso and hot dog buns for our BBQ. I on the other hand am visibly angry upon discovery that this rural WalMart somewhere between Denver and Nebraska only carries one type of salmon- it’s Atlantic and frozen.

I notice Joe from Andrew McMahon and his fiance (the piñata purchaser) a little ways away. I fire my jumbo bag of marshmellows at his head- direct strike! He returns fire almost immediately, the incoming round missing me and instead knocking over a display case. Collateral damage. We flee the scene of the crime.

I fill my cart with heads of romaine lettuce, garlic cloves, lemons, and cheese – Caesar salad, check. I am pleased to discover Walmart carries molasses. Add a bag of brown sugar – salmon glaze complete. Toss in a few animal pool floaties for good measure and my shopping is complete.

I arrive at the check out line to discover previously mentioned lead singer struggling to simultaneously lift and scan his new Mongoose bike at the self check out. Judging by the look on the attendant’s face you can tell she smells the booze as she helps him scan.

Our pillage of Walmart is complete. We exit the store, miraculously not under managerial escort, and file onto our respective buses and begin our drive.

Did you check the forecast?

A small hurricane is moving towards the outskirts of Lincoln, Nebraska. A small KOA campground is in its direct path. Those poor campers dont even know what’s about to hit.

3 Comments
  • Chris
    Posted at 06:35h, 24 June Reply

    Wait…

    You bought the salmon?!?!

  • Nathan
    Posted at 07:22h, 24 June Reply

    What a night!! Keep the stories coming.

  • karissa @withourbest
    Posted at 19:58h, 03 July Reply

    You’re an awesome writer!!! I am so sad you were in Denver and I didn’t even get to see you!

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