Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Alice In Chains.
When you think of jazz, those are four names that quickly spring to mind.
It turns out that jazz isn’t really the operative word in the Montreux Jazz Festival though; festival is.
It’s a giant party with all different styles of music providing the soundtrack.
And it’s definitely a party.
We pulled up to the hotel in Montreux at 6:00 A.M. and there were about five guys standing out on the sidewalk.
They were clearly still up from the previous night, and one of them in particular was swaying and weaving and struggling just to stay on his feet. But they all looked happy.
We had a day off, and even though it was overcast and rainy, most of the band and crew went walking around at some point.
Montreux is beautiful. Like seriously, ridiculously beautiful. Like quit your job and move there and start life over beautiful.
When your hotel room looks out over Lake Geneva and you’re surrounded by the Swiss Alps, you occasionally need to call housekeeping to come clean the drool off your carpet and send your shorts out to be dry cleaned.
I’m not sure what Montreux is like during the remainder of the calendar year, but for 2 ½ weeks in the summer, it feels like Mardi Gras, only with fewer boob flashings and more French being spoken.
There’s an esplanade that stretches along the waterfront for what seems like forever, and once evening rolled around, it turned into an absolute sea of humanity.
The weather returned to sunny and warm, there was music blaring from all directions, and shows and concerts were going on in venues all over the place.
Alice In Chains played The Montreux Jazz Lab, and for the first time in years, they played an all acoustic set.
And for the first time ever, they played When The Sun Rose Againlive, which is something I’ve been waiting for since they recorded it 9 years ago.
It ended up being a really cool and memorable night, topped off by Jerry, Sean, our tour manager & myself diving into the madness and going in search of food on the esplanade at midnight.
I won’t say it was a giant mistake, because the guys met a bunch of really nice and appreciative fans, but we seemed to be about 20 years older and about 15 drinks more sober than the majority of people filling the walkway.
It was still fun in a weird sardine can kind of way, but shortly after finding some food, I broke free and went back to my room and took it all in from the safety of my balcony for a while.
Montreux turned out to be an absolute corker.
An amazing city, a killer show, and an experience that none of us will forget.
These are definitely the kinds of days that make you appreciate what you do for a living.