I noticed a few Los Lobos T-shirts, including mine, but a whole lot of Grateful Dead T-shirts, and the dress style of the day tended toward the hippie. I was wondering about this when I was wandering up close to the bandstand just before Los Lobos came on stage - the concert started at one and it was almost five by then - and then I was approached by one of the Deadheads. He had seen my T-shirt, wanted to know more about Kiko, told me he loved Los Lobos and had followed the Dead for many years. I asked him about this connection. He said the bands were "the same type". I guess they are in a general sense: both down-home "people's bands", both big on improvisation and creativity, both political in their own ways.
Another Dead guy came along and the two started comparing notes.
"Did you get to the one in Vancouver?"
"No, I missed that one."
"Man, that was amazing!"
Discussions about one recent Dead concert that "only lasted three hours" - leaving one of the guys still drunk, having figured he would have plenty of time to wear off the alcohol, improvising himself, picking up stuff from the parking lot, acting like the cleanup crew.
The conversation turned to Los Lobos, which we all three agreed upon: fabulous band. One of the guys said, "Yeah, and you know they've done a lot of good for the community".
The other: "Sure! They got them dancing!"
"No, I mean they help people in East L.A."
"Yeah, they get them out of the gangs and onto the dance floor, dude!"
I talked for a bit to a guy who was sitting next to us, who came down from Sacramento to visit his grandmother. He said he is trying to find work here so he can move, he loves it so much. He is a plastics engineer, he said, so I thought about Specialty Silicone, the place in Paso where I worked briefly as a tech writer, and mentioned that to him. He had already applied there. They weren't hiring but said they could use his talents when they have the room.
I briefly talked to two people I know from work, then never saw them again. One rode in on her motorcycle and also didn't have a chair, both left early, they told me today.
The crowd was big but not too big. The day was beautiful, the music was good, the crowd was friendly. The location was perfect: Pozo, which is as it sounds, pretty much the middle of nowhere, but beautiful nowhere, Los Padres forest nowhere.
Los Lobos played outdoor-concert-style, loud, so I was missing a lot of the intricacies I like so much about them, but I picked up on their rhythms, their instruments, their voices, their friendliness. I'm betting this is more their kind of venue, where they can let loose however they feel, rather than the winery concerts they've done in this area in the recent past.
We thought we'd take the "back way" out of there, head for Arroyo Grande, unlike everyone else. Only neither Paul nor I had ever gone this route. And we didn't this time either, as it happened. We meandered on mountain roads for some time before we ended up back on Highway 58 rather farther east than we wanted to be. We got home shortly before nine. Now I know where that road goes.