Watching Joan Jett At The Mountain Winery

Joan Jett Unvarnished 2013I’ve been teasing my friend about going to see K.C. and the Sunshine Band and the Village People at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga next week, as KGO-Radio (810 AM) was giving away tickets for a week (his response was “No!” and “Hell no!” to seeing the 1970’s bands). When I checked the ticket prices, I noticed that Joan Jet & The Blackhearts was playing on Saturday, 9/7, and found a pair of reasonably priced tickets. We didn’t hesitate to see her play this past Saturday.

I was never a big music fan growing up. My older brother and his Fleetwood Mac albums got kicked out of the house when I was still a young child. My mother bought me an old record player and a set of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley 45’s from the Goodwill Store. My father’s truck only had two radio stations, country and talk. That didn’t help me as a confused teenager in the early 1980’s, listening to the Beatles when everyone else was listening to Michael Jackson, Duran Duran and Boy George. I did pick up Joan Jett’s single at the time, “Crimson & Clover,” but I didn’t become a fan until I heard “Bad Reputation” in the first Shrek movie.

Getting to the Mountain Winery was a special challenge. Although the directions for getting there from the 85 was clear, it was less clear once we got into the mountains above Silicon Valley. We caught the right turn from Highway 9 that was a sharp U-turn on to the road that went past the winery, but missed the similar left turn into the winery that was also a sharp U-turn. That became obvious when I drove past a sheriff cruiser and the uphill drive went downhill from there. After making a wide U-turn at a four-way stop, we drove back through the entrance to start the steep climb with multiple turns on a narrow road. This was rough driving for my 1999 Ford Taurus that caused the engine to overheat and the coolant to boil over.

The Mountain Winery is literally on top of the mountain with a spectacular view of Silicon Valley. More so after the sun goes down and the street lights turn on to surround the tall buildings of downtown San Jose in a brilliant sea of orange street lights. Despite the views, we couldn’t escape the wildlife. Flies aimed for the eyes and nose to lay their eggs. As the evening cooled down, a bat came out to eat the flies. Marijuana smoke and alcohol fumes whiffed through the air.

The opening act was Survival Guide with Emily Whitehurst and Jaycen McKissick. Their music was quite different with a techno beat. Jett dived into a set list that featured a selection of songs from the new album and the classic songs she acknowledged that we all love and know so dearly, performing 18 songs in 90 minutes almost non-stop. The audience was mostly baby boomers who outgrown being young punks. A memorable performance.