Monday, May 24, 2004
Went to KFOG's Kaboom! -- a glorious glorious glorious fireworks show -- Saturday.

Gates open at 4P, live music starts at 5P or so, food, libations, fireworks at 9P or as soon thereafter as it's dark enough.

We got there about 5P this year. Walked over from Hill with my Ikea bag filled with heavy jackets, blanket, water. The blanket didn't do much to soften Pier 30's asphalt, but the blanket was intended less a pad and more a space marker, intended to keep people from crowding us as much. Last year we'd arrived around 6P with no blanket or other space marker and wound up in a cramped space, which shivered my claustrophobic timbers.

I was hemming and hawing all day. Maybe we should just stay at Hill. We can see the works from there, although not so up close and personal. But there's something about up close and personal when it comes to fireworks, maybe the claustrophobic twitches are worth it. Maybe not. Hem. Haw. Changed my mind. Changed my mind again. We finally went and, yes, the show is worth it. Bring a blanket, though, and make sure to get there by 5P or so. By 6P the piers are packed and just keep getting moreso.

Next time, though, we'll bring something thicker to sit on and food so we don't pay $4 for garlic-parmesan fries and $7 for a philly-cheesesteak sandwich -- unless, of course, we have a hankering for garlic-parmesan fries.

Music this year by Robert Randolph and the Family Band, the Waifs and Train. We sat as close as we could to the water's edge, the better to see the fireworks. As a result we couldn't see the bands, although we could hear them over the loud speakers. A drawback of the location was that as time progressed and the crowd packed and packed in, it got harder and harder to maneuver a way to the food and drinks and portable toilets.

But we were up close and personal with the fireworks and it was all worth it, claustrophobic tendencies and all.

Wanna see? Click here and catch a taping of the almost twenty-minute fireworks show coordinated with KFOG music. (WindowsMedia and QuickTime versions available.)

KFOG's annual KABOOM! is a free listener-appreciation event they throw at Piers 30 and 32. This year's was the eleventh annual.

Three barges (with two tugboats) full of fireworks, live bands, enough security to throw out the drunks but not so much they dampen the atmosphere. The piers were full of oldsters and youngsters and babysters and aging hippies and aging Hell's Angels and the young punk with the 18" spiked multi-colored hair and the tweedy professor with the gray ponytail. What a lovely motley mess of people.

What a show.

Is it any wonder I love these guys?

Afterwards, we walked home by way of the Embarcadero, then up the Filbert Steps. Up until you got to the Ferry Building, the Embarcadero was blocked to vehicles to make room for a hundred thousand pedestrians or more, who were walking home or back to their hotel or off to dinner. The crowd was spilling out of Gordon Biersch. The restaurants along the Embarcadero were all spilling. We decided to eat in North Beach where the crowds might be a little less so.

We scampered (heh) up the Steps, dropped our blanket and jackets at home, walked down to Mario's, grabbed the corner window and ordered their scrumptious cannelloni for dinner with a bottle of red wine. We'd finished dinner and were working on our wine at 11P, the listed closing time, but the staff was willing to stay late to serve the people who were still wandering in. Our server brought over more wine compliments of the house to keep us sitting in that corner window. We finally left some time after 11:30P and wandered back home. Sat on the deck for a while to watch the lights and unwind. What a glorious day.

: views from the Hill

Bertold Brecht:   
Everything changes. You can make
A fresh start with your final breath.
But what has happened has happened. And the water
You once poured into the wine cannot be
Drained off again.

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