Meeting Allen Stone in Amsterdam
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to my turntable…..
My older sister got married, and her husband was from Chewelah, WA. A small town, about one hour north of Spokane, WA. They were big time winter sports enthusiasts, so I started to learn to ski. I had a lot of fun up at the Mt. Spokane and 49 Degrees North Ski Resorts.
What does this have to do with the blog? Not much. I’m just trying to find a segue to start talking about today’s musician story. 10 years after I was skiing outside of Chewelah, an amazing musician was born there. Allen Stone. I have no idea if he skis, but he sure knows how to sing!
2015 to Present
Speaking of skiing, we own a little ski condo up on Snoqualmie Pass, WA. Part of The Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Resort. One hour out of Seattle. My little slice of heaven. The spring of 2015, I started to see advertisements for a music festival coming to The Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Resort; Chinook Fest Summit. I WAS ECSTATIC! 3 days of music and over 30 bands. In my mountain backyard. The Friday night headline band was XAmbassadors. I had heard them on the radio. The big headline name for the entire festival was the final band on Saturday night. Allen Stone. I had never heard of him. But everyone kept raving about how great he was. I looked him up on YouTube, and immediately fell in love with his music. A fun funk and RB sound. This was going to be a great music festival!
July and Chinook Fest Summit finally arrived. I was ready to ROCK it in the mountains! I had not attended a lot of local shows at that time, so did not recognize the band names. But that’s what I love about Chinook Fest Music Festivals. They work hard to bring the best of the best in the local music scene. Because of Chinook Fest, I now know who I want to see when I am down in the Seattle area. Since it was a brand-new festival, it was not crowded. Both Friday and Saturday night, I ended up standing right next to the stage.
When Allen Stone came out onstage with his band, I suddenly felt this whole exciting vibe rippling through the crowd. Welcome to The Church of Allen Stone. I had SO much fun dancing and moving to their funky soulful sound. His interaction with the audience was authentic and powerful. I felt like I was at a soul revival. The organ style keys, backup singers, his whole dance/ strut across the stage…I was hooked.
When he announced his 2016 tour, I was initially disappointed that he did not have any shows in the local Seattle area. Then I noticed he was doing a European Tour. One of the shows was going to be in Central Amsterdam. I’m a flight attendant who works the Amsterdam flight every month. Done deal. Ticket bought, I was going to see Allen Stone in Amsterdam!
I have no problem going to concerts by myself, but it is always more fun with someone else. I asked my friend, Kristy, if she wanted to go with me. She trusted my music judgement and said sure! Another music adventure waiting to happen.
It’s time for our trip. We leave Seattle and arrive in The Netherlands. Since we worked the 10-hour flight over, a short nap was necessary. We then headed into Central Amsterdam and stopped for a beer with the rest of the crew. The concert was being held at The Paradiso; an old, converted church in The Museum District. According to Henny, the owner of the bar we were at, The Paradiso is known for its excellent acoustics. Apparently, The Rolling Stones rent out the facility for a private show, whenever they start a new tour. That was some interesting local trivia to learn.
Kristy and I arrived at a packed concert. But we managed to get all the way up front, on the side. What a beautiful venue. It was time for the show to begin, and out came Allen and his band. The floor was filled, and people were going wild! How cool. A local Washington native, being so loved all the way over in Europe. The music starts, and once again this whole positive vibe starts rippling through the crowd. It was time to dance with the rhythm, sway with the soul. Welcome again to The Church of Allen Stone. A phenomenal concert.
After the show was over, Kristy and I were hanging out and enjoying a post-concert beverage in the main room. I was SO surprised to see the band come back out and to start break down their instruments. Okay, at what point do professional musicians stop doing that? We started talking to them, and explained that we were from Seattle and that I had seen them at Chinook Fest Summit. Super friendly guys and great conversations. But we needed to let them get back to their work.
We went out the back door and saw their big tour bus and trailer. Other people were waiting around to see Allen. So, we looked at our watches and decided to wait until midnight to see if we could meet him. Right at the stroke of midnight, out he walked. Completely warm and friendly to everyone. Giving hugs and attention to all. What a nice and genuine guy. It was fun to tell him that my brother in law was from Chewelah, and that we were from Seattle. It was time for us to head back to the hotel, so we grabbed a quick photo before leaving. What a fantastic evening!
I continue to watch his tours, and am SUPER lucky this summer. I get to see him twice! First down in L.A. as the acoustic opening act for Hall and Oates and Tears for Fears. Then, his own full band concert at The Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, WA. I’m looking forward to that one.
And just think. It all started at a small music festival in the mountains, where I was standing right next to the stage. That’s why I love to support local music. You just never know who you’re going to hear perform.
If you haven’t heard his music before, check it out on YouTube, ITunes and Spotify. Very soulful and full of rhythm and blues.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE