Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rock ‘n’ Roll and Wine: Rolling Stones Live and Wine at Proof in Washington DC, USA

Picture: Rolling Stones Show 2013 in Washington DC

My wife Annette Schiller and I had seen the Rolling Stones in the Festhalle in Frankfurt am Main, Germany in the early 1970’s, when we were not yet married, not to talk about children and grandchildren. Now, 40 years or so later, with 4 children and 2 ½ grandchildren (the ½ due any day), we went back to the Stones to see them in the Verizon Center in Washington DC. We started the evening with a light dinner and Riesling at Proof, arguably the best wine bar in town, including a 1976 Riesling Spaetlese Trocken, and concluded the evening at Bistro Francais in Georgetown, one of the few places in DC where you can have a decent dinner at midnight.


Proof is in the Penn Quarter, i.e. in walking distance to the Verizon Center where the Rolling Stones played. I am always debating with myself, if Proof is a wine bar or a wine-centered restaurant. In any case, if you are looking for a more substantial fare along with a premium wine, check out Proof - known for its numerous small plates but also for its eclectic selection of creative modern cuisine. Its wine list is outstanding, containing over 40 by-the-glass selections and 1,000 different bottles, reaching up into the highest price and quality levels. Proof’s wine list is one of the best, if not the best in town. Proof also offers a bring-your-own wine option for a corkage fee of $35.

Pictures: Proof in Washington DC

Sommelier Joe Quinn

Joe Quinn is the Sommelier. Joe was a part of the opening waitstaff at Proof; in the summer of 2010 he became a sommelier at Proof and at sister restaurant Estadio.

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, Christian Schiller and Proof Sommelier Joe Quinn

Ombiasy Wine Tours: Wine and Culture Tour to Germany Coming up in August 2013
Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013

Summer of Riesling at Proof

I had made an early reservation (5:30 pm). Proof participates in the “Summer of Riesling 2013” (Summer of Riesling 2013 and 31 Days of German Riesling 2013 in the United States) and had 3 Rieslings by the glass on the list: (1) Merkelbach, Uerziger Wuerzgarten, Spaetlese, (2) Doennhoff Riesling and Efeste Evergreen Vineyard Riesling. We chose the Doennhoff and the Efeste, both very nice, crisp, refreshing wines, with the Washington State Riesling being the driest wine.

We then had some light food – salumi and a salmon tartar - with our 1976 Riesling Spaetlese Trocken, Meddersheimer Paradiesgarten, Winzergenossenschaft Meddersheim.

Pictures: Light Dinner at Proof

Meddersheim is in the Nahe Valley. There are 5 wine producers, including the large co-operative, where I bought a case of this wine many years ago. The Paradiesgarten is a “Grosslage” combining different single vineyards. Don’t confuse it with “Grosse Lage” – the absolute top single vineyards in the VDP classification.

Picture: 1976 Riesling Spaetlese Trocken, Meddersheimer Paradiesgarten, Winzergenossenschaft Meddersheim.

The 1976 Riesling presented itself as a senior citizen that is still going very strong. Dark golden in the glass, intense notes of honeysuckle and vanilla on the nose, still good acidity, did stay too long in the mouth, but was very pleasant wine. And the history and memories!

Picture: C&A

Andrew Myers

Leaving Proof, we bumped into CityZen Sommelier Andy Myers. I had seen him a few weeks ago at the occasion of a tête-à-tête Dinner with Henri Lurton, Owner of Château Brane-Cantenac, a Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe en 1855 in Margaux, at CityZen. Andrew Myers is one of the great Rock ‘n’ Roll cum Wine Experts in town. Let me quote from an earlier posting: Andrew Myers' sommelier career began at The Inn at Little Washington in 1997. He later returned to Washington to manage the wait staff and the wine department of Restaurant Nora. Five years later, he joined the team at CityZen. At 40 plus now, Andrew Myers remains obsessed with metal. He plays the drums in a Heavy Metal Group and is covered in tattoos that would make most head bangers proud. But that obsession is rivaled by his passion for wine.

Picture: Andrew Meyers, Joe Quinn and Christian G.E. Schiller

Tête-à-tête Dinner with Henri Lurton, Owner of Château Brane-Cantenac, a Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe en 1855 in Margaux, at CityZen in Washington DC, USA

The Rolling Stones Live

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones were formed in London in 1962. I got my first LP – Around and Around (released in 1964) – in 1965. The first line-up had Brian Jones (who died in 1969) on guitar and harmonica, Mick Jagger on lead vocals and harmonica, Keith Richards on guitar and backing vocals, Bill Wyman (who left in 1993) on bass and Charlie Watts on drums. Ronnie Wood (who had been with the Birds, the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces before) joined in 1975, replacing Mick Taylor (who had followed Jones).

Pictures: The Rolling Stones

50 & Counting Tour started in November 2012, preceded by two club gigs in Paris. The Washington DC show was the final show in the US. We paid US$ 941.72 for 2 tickets, including service and delivery fee.

Picture: Ticket

Washington DC Concert

It was a very memorable concert. Sold out. Most of the people, including Annette, were standing and dancing through out the 2 hours plus concert.

Picture: Before the Show

Brian Ives (Radio.com): “So, was it the last time the Rolling Stones will perform in the U.S.?

Watching the band at the last U.S. stop on their 50 & Counting Tour Monday night (June 24) at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., there was no indication that they may pack it in. In fact, depending on your perspective (and your age) their two-hour show either defied or defined what is possible for a band whose members are all AARP age. Which is to say, they are still the best rock and roll band in the world on a good night. And Monday was certainly that: a very good night.
They opened with their 1965 hit “Get Off Of My Cloud”; the audience (of very mixed ages, by the way) responded by getting off of their seats, barely sitting down for the rest of the night. After that, there was a false start — proving that for all their slick professionalism, the Stones aren’t too over-rehearsed — and then “It’s Only Rock And Roll (But I Like It).”

Pictures: Rolling Stones Show 2013 in Washington DC

After that came “Paint It Black.” Charlie Watts, subdued as ever, pounded the drums — but it was all in the wrists. He remains one of the coolest but least attention-hungry drummers in rock and roll. “Gimme Shelter” followed, featuring the group’s powerful backing singer, Lisa Fischer (featured in the documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom, about support vocalists) sharing the spotlight with Mick Jagger. Earlier in the tour, Mary J. Blige and Lady Gaga took the iconic Merry Clayton vocal part in the song, but Fischer proved that she owns that song as much as anyone. She’s a reminder that you don’t have to be famous — or want to be — to be great. (The same goes for the band’s other backing singer, Bernard Fowler.) Meanwhile, the formidable guitar team of Keith Richards and Ron Wood demonstrated how they “weave” around each other, their distinct styles complementing the other’s: Richards’ stabbing at his instrument blending with Wood’s more fluid style.

After “Shelter,” Jagger welcomed the audience, noting that the band first came to Washington, D.C. in 1965, mentioning that back then, First Lady Ladybird Johnson used to come to see the band. “I don’t think President Obama is here tonight,” he said. “But I’m sure he’s listening in!”

Pictures: Rolling Stones Show 2013 in Washington DC

Jagger then got behind an electric piano for a relatively rare track, “Worried About You” from 1981′s Tattoo You. His falsetto might not be quite what it was three decades ago, but the song nonetheless was one of the highlights of a night that had many.

Each night on this tour the band takes an online poll to decide the “fan’s choice” song, and tonight’s winner was “Street Fighting Man.” (For those keeping score, it beat out “Rocks Off,” “Just My Imagination,” “You Got Me Rocking” and “Live With Me.”) That was followed by one of the band’s funkiest numbers, “Emotional Rescue,” and again, Mick’s falsetto did the job.

Pictures: Rolling Stones Show 2013 in Washington DC

The one-two punch of their new songs — “Doom And Gloom” and “One More Shot” — from last year’s compilation GRRR! were next. For the record, the new songs didn’t lead to a bathroom/beer line exodus, which is often the case at concerts by veteran acts (and has been the case with the Stones in the past). Both songs showed that they still have some new contributions to make to their unbelievable songbook.

“Honky Tonk Woman” followed, and then Jagger introduced the band before leaving the stage, giving the mic up to Richards, who joked, as he always does, “It’s good to be here — it’s good to be anywhere!” (Actually, given the chemicals that he’s ingested over the decades, he’s probably not joking.) After an emotional “You Got The Silver,” Richards rocked through “Before They Make Me Run,” a song that features one of his loveliest lyrics: “See my taillights fading/There’s not a dry eye in the house.”

Pictures: Rolling Stones Show 2013 in Washington DC

Most shows on this tour have featured big-name celebrity guests — Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift. They’ve been fun, but they also seem a bit forced. The one guest fans seem to appreciate the most is the one who could probably walk down the street without being recognized: former guitarist Mick Taylor. As he has done for most of the tour, he joined the band for “Midnight Rambler,” an epic guitar throwdown that also saw Jagger blasting through his harmonica going toe to toe with his former bandmate. It’s enough to make Stones fans wonder why he ever quit the band in the first place.

On “Miss You,” longtime touring bassist Daryl Jones plunked a deep groove on the song, bringing it a bit further into disco territory. A sweet moment during the song came when Jagger seemed like he was looking for something and Richards grabbed his shoulder and handed him his harmonica, mid-song.

Pictures: Rolling Stones Show 2013 in Washington DC

A few of their biggest hits followed: “Start Me Up,” “Tumbling Dice,” and “Brown Sugar,” the last of which featured longtime sax player Bobby Keys replicating his original part on the song. As a drum loop from “Sympathy For The Devil” played, the band returned to the stage for the encore. Longtime touring pianist Chuck Leavell took the lead, giving the song a more gospel sound, before Jagger brought it back to sinister territory by hitting the stage armed with a feathered boa cloak and those six famous words: “Please allow me to introduce myself.”

They were joined by the Washington Chorus for “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” giving it the presentation it has always deserved (they select a different local choir at every stop on the tour for that song). And then, arguably their two most iconic hits: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” joined once again by Mick Taylor.

Pictures: Rolling Stones Show 2013 in Washington DC

Could it actually have been the proverbial last time? With Mick and Keith turning 70 later this year (Charlie is already there), it seems like a possibility.

After the show, fans gathered at the arena’s garage exit, watching the band’s black SUV convoy leave the building. As their taillights, in fact, faded down the street, most were no doubt hoping that that wouldn’t be band’s last goodbye. But if it was, they went out on top.”

Pictures: Rolling Stones Show 2013 in Washington DC - the End

Here is the full set list:

Get Off of my Cloud - It's Only Rock'n'Roll - Paint it Black - Gimme Shelter - Worried About You - Street Fighting Man (request winner) - Emotional Rescue - Doom and Gloom - One More Shot - Honky Tonk Woman - You got the Silver - Before they Make me Run - Midnight Rambler - Miss You - Start Me Up - Tumbling Dice - Brown Sugar - Sympathy for the Devil - Encore: You Can't Always Get What You Want - Jumping Jack Flash - Satisfaction

In Washington DC after the Show 

We got back to Proof at 11:15 pm or so. The restaurant had closed already, but there were some people at the bar. Proof, like most other restaurants are closing at 11:00 pm or even earlier. Your best bet in situations like this are: Café Milano in Georgetown, Old Ebitt Grill next to the White House or Bistro Francais in Georgetown (in order of my preference).

You can eat at Café Milano until around 2:00 pm; it varies a bit throughout the week; Old Ebitt Grill is open until 2:00 and serves Happy Hour Oysters after 11:00 pm (Old Ebitt Grill reminds me a lot of La Coupole in Paris, which is open until 4:00 pm); Bistro Francaise is open every night until 3:00 pm.

We opted for Bistro Francais.

Night Comment on Facebook

Annette Schiller: Just got home after the really great Stones concert: what a beautiful evening: a full moon, perfect weather, great wines and food at Proof and the fantastic rhythm of Mick Jagger, Ron Woods, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts. Sometimes it has its advantages to get older.

Picture: Rolling Stones Show 2013 in Washington DC - the End

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