Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dominican Holidaze Recap

Well, now that the immediate effects of the chemo infusion are wearing off, I wanted to share some pictures and recap of our amazing trip to Dominican Holidaze! (For those of you not familiar with this festival, yes it is actually spelled that way; no, I have not stopped caring about my grammar.)

The resort was beautiful! Multiple pools (with swim-up bars), extremely clean, and our room was spacious. Plus it had a jacuzzi on the balcony, which did not suck, and it was very close to the stage. So, for a few sets we just hung out there and heard everything perfectly!

Here's the view from our balcony, the one day that it rained for a while:

We spent the majority of our time relaxing by one of the two large pools. By Thursday they were having DJ sets at one of them, and unsurprisingly Bryce and I migrated to the DJ-free pool for the remaining days. One of the best parts was that at no time did we ever feel crowded. There were always plenty of chairs in the sun, or thatched umbrellas for shade, so we never lacked a great seat.

Drinks were copious, and it was one of the rare times we branched out from beer (you kind of have to in the Caribbean, right?) The food was mostly disappointing, but at an all-inclusive resort that just seems to be the trend. We eventually figured out what was best and where, and we worked with that.

Overall we were extremely lazy, not leaving the resort once. The company managing the festival offered all sorts of excursions and activities that sounded like lots of fun (Baggo tournament! Catamaran trip! Tennis lessons!). But once we were in relaxation mode we didn't come out of it, and honestly it's fine. When If we go back, we'll be more motivated to try things, perhaps!

The beach was wonderful too...that blue-green Caribbean water we've always wanted to see. It was very windy almost the whole time, so the waves were actually rough. We didn't spend a lot of time in the water, but there was ample seating in the sun and shade all over the beach. We probably spent half our ocean time having our feet lapped by waves as we stood watching the shows.
Bryce in the ocean!

Which of course brings us to the other key part of the experience: the music. (Disclaimer for family and friends not interested in Umphrey's: feel free to skip to the end.)
A look from the resort to the stage

Overall the shows were very good, but no crazy bust-outs or incredible antics. Everyone was just enjoying be on a lovely beach, and UM was playing with relaxed precision. The first night, the Wappy Sprayberry had an extremely unusual placement (coming as the second song of the first set, after the intro music), and it included a Footsteps tease (Pearl Jam deep cut). That was possibly the highlight of the show for me, but honestly it had tight jams throughout. The tease of How Many More Times was fun, as always, and the All in Time was very solid, and as many of you know, having seen that song so often it takes a lot for me to say that!

The second night had a great Stewart in the 2x2, which itself fell abruptly out of Plunger, which went unfinished. I never get tired of hearing Bad Friday, and I have to admit both the Hurt Bird Bath and Higgins in the second set had strong jams (although obviously the song selection was not ideal for me).

The third show they had the early set, and they were definitely feeling loose and having fun. I'm so glad Similar Skin is finally getting taken out for a walk, and the jam didn't disappoint. No Diablo was cute because Jake's son, the inspiration for the song, was in the audience dancing along to it. I loved the next run of songs (Educated Guess, Sweetness, Partyin' Peeps); however, Bryce and I got punked out of FF for the second time in six months! Look, I love Kinky Reggae as much as the next guy, but we've been chasing FF for around 10 years, and both at Indianapolis this July and at Holidaze what sounded exactly like the start of FF seamlessly morphed into the Bob Marley classic. I'm not complaining...I'm just sayin', sheesh guys! For full setlists, see All Things Umphrey's.

But again, we were never crowded. I unfortunately have no good pictures from the shows to really demonstrate how close we were, but we spent most of our time hanging out next to palm trees about 10 feet from the stage. Until we wandered to dip our toes in the water and look at the moon, and then come right back. It was the complete opposite of a usual set-up and situation! Here are my feeble attempts at show pictures:
Our typical spot, in relation to the stage (palm tree not pictured)
You put the rum in the coconut...
It was so nice, we made it through an entire STS9 show for the first time ever (Wednesday), and we even watched a little bit of the Disco Biscuits from this spot on Saturday. Servers wandered through the crowd with beers for the taking, or else we waltzed right up to the bars for something different, all with little to no lines!

All in all, it was a fantastic trip and I'm so glad that we were able to do this! Obviously with all the stress going on, we really needed a true break, and the fact that we finally got to celebrate our honeymoon, nearly 10 years later, is of great importance to me and Bryce! I want to thank everyone who made it possible (Mom, Patty, Kari, Rhys, I'm looking at you!).

Hope to see you soon!!

1 comment:

Rose said...

Sounds like a wonderful time! We have visited a resort once--when our Daughter got married in Cancun--and loved it. Hmmm, sounds like a plan if this winter turns out as long as last year's. I try to keep up somewhat with current music, but I can tell we are different generations, Rose, but I'm not familiar with any of the songs you mentioned:) But I'm glad you enjoyed them and had a great time.

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