On an overcast August evening, on the bank of Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced: pond-o-ray) in Idaho, I came face-to-face with what I had considered to be my white whale. I was about to see a band that, for years, would play a few shows in the Pacific Northwest but, for some reason, those shows would fall on days that made it difficult for me to attend. This night, however, was my night. It was my night to check that band off my list, to realize the dream that had eluded me for so many years, and to spend a glorious evening in Sandpoint, Idaho…an Evening with CAKE.
But enough with the hyperbole. CAKE really is a band that I have wanted to see for the past 15 years, and something had always stood in the way of that, a family obligation, work, or what have you. So when I heard they were playing the Festival at Sandpoint on August 2, I knew that I would never forgive myself if I didn’t go.
After an unsuccessful attempt at recruiting friends to accompany me on my journey, I made the solo trek to the northern Idaho Panhandle. No ticket in hand and no hotel room booked. I showed up to the venue (Memorial Field) right when the doors opened, bought a ticket from someone off the street, and made my way through the gates. One thing that is great about this venue is their extremely relaxed policy on coolers. Basically, you can bring whatever food and drink you want inside, including alcohol. As you might imagine, this ends up saving you a ton of money during the show. At first, I thought this could turn out to be a complete shit show in terms of people drinking too much and acting like idiots. However, the crowd was extremely laid back and there were enough security and uniformed police officers to handle any drunken buffoonery.
CAKE took the stage a little after 7:30 p.m. and delivered two sets filled with all the songs I love. Songs such as, “The Distance,” “Sick of You,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle,” “Italian Leather Sofa,” their awesome cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” and many more. I was firmly planted at the railing near the front of the stage and soaked in every trumpet note blasted, while lead singer John McCrea’s Vibra-slap echoed in the northern Idaho night like the scream of a red-tail hawk.
I truly had a great time in Sandpoint that night and was bummed when it came to an end. There is no doubt in my mind that I will catch CAKE again someday, I just hope it doesn’t take me another 15 years.
Watch CAKE perform Long Skirt/Short Jacket at the Festival at Sandpoint:
CAKE performing Love You Madly at the festival. Shot with a GoPro worn by drummer Paulo Baldi: