Friday the 13th, full moon, with a threat of storms. That combo alone might be enough to make you pull the covers over your head and wait it out. But apparently, Seattle fans aren’t superstitious and for those brave fans who ventured out to the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, a treat was in store for the eyes, ears, and the palette as the Allen Stone Love Train rolled in.
Allen Stone has openly professed his love for Seattle and the continued support he has received over the years, so he and his band wanted to give back and came up with a giveaway for 4 lucky fans + 1 guest to win the “Ultimate Fan Experience,” a pop-up dining experience pre-show by keyboardist and chef, Greg Ehrlich. Greg said, “It’s sometimes hard to find good food when you’re on the road. Being someone who loves to cook, I built a TasteCase (a mobile kitchen), we take on tour.” Greg said he has cooked for the band and for friends in other bands along the way, but never in that capacity for Seattle. So Greg and Allen hosted a pop-up dinner at the Manor House for eight lucky guests, chosen in a random lottery to attend an exclusive three-course meal.
The band recently traveled to southeast Asia where Greg fell in love with the region’s cuisine, which inspired his menu for the evening and featured wine pairings provided by Chateau Ste. Michelle.
As the rest of us drowned our loser status with Ste. Michelle wines, opening act “Sisters,” a keyboard/drum duo comprised of Andrew Vait (singer/songwriter, Eternal Fair), and Emily Westman (drummer for Lemolo, Seattle Rock Orchestra, and shares vocals on this project), performed. Newly formed in February, there’s not much information available on them at the moment but they’re in the studio recording an EP so keep your eyes and ears out for release announcements.
From the moment Allen Stone stepped on stage, the dominant theme was love. Even though the skies were dark and brooding, not even Mother Nature would dare rain on his parade. Allen Stone is the real deal, he talked about his journey from his humble beginnings playing backyard BBQ’s, schools, pizza parties, birthdays, record stores, the street, and everything in between.
He said “An artist should never feel he/she is too big, too good, or too proud to play anywhere no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.” That comment drew a huge response from the audience and you could feel it was heartfelt. He actually seemed to choke up a bit.
Allen previewed a new song called “Wire” off his upcoming album and the crowd was receptive. He then surprised the crowd by bringing up a guy who asked to propose to his girlfriend because their song is, “Is This Love.” The crowd roared when she said yes.
Allen is very much in the moment. After ending one of his songs he said, “My Mother would never believe I’m playing for this many people in Seattle”, as he pulls out a camera and shoots photos of the crowd saying, “Put your hands up Seattle.” It’s those moments that show this guy doesn’t even know what a big deal he is. He seems surprised by his success, which makes you love him all the more.
There’s an instrumental break followed by Allen entering in a red cowboy shirt with white fringe. Says Allen, “I found this backstage and it fit”. What happened next was the gospel of Stone, as he went into a rousing medley of “Celebrate Tonight,” Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good” with audience call and response, and closing with “Satisfaction” off his 2012 self-titled album.
But the rain gods were smiling down on this love fest, and fans were not ready for it to end as they called for an encore. Allen and band returned with guests Andrew Joslyn and The Passenger String Quartet for the song “We Can Figure It Out.” He followed this up with his new single, “Million” off the new album which you can download for free here, and he closed with crowd favorite, “Unaware”.
The crowd left fulfilled and as I sat in my car in the lot to wait for the traffic to thin out, I could hear fans singing in their cars as they pulled away. Maybe it was the wine, or maybe it was Allen, or both, but they left with a smile on their face and their hearts just a little lighter.
News from the Stone camp is that Allen is taking his time with the new album to make sure he’s totally happy with it. He’s not going to rush it and so far, reports are the songs are sounding amazing! There’s some other big announcements in the coming months so keep an eye on Guerrilla Candy for the latest Stone news.
While at Chateau Ste. Michelle I spoke with two winners of the Ultimate Fan Experience get their take on this unique fan experience and here’s what they had to say:
“This was the coolest prize I could have ever won. In short, it was amazing. Not only was the food delicious, the hospitality and gratitude shown by Allen and Greg was extremely heartwarming. Greg told us this meal is simply to say thank youfor your support. Greg’s meal was Vietnamese inspired presenting huge flavors that were never too heavy for the belly. Three courses and six wines later, I found myself with new friends, a full heart and tummy, and a huge amount of gratitude and respect for these musicians, who are some of the most down to earth people you could ever meet.” -Maggie Stapleton:
“I was incredibly fortunate to be one of the lucky winners. Highlights included six wine pairings, devouring what looked like a Pokemon character (incredibly yummy dragonfruit bowel), (see photo), and the most tender Asian style beef tri-tip that I could cut with a fork. The pinnacle though was getting to connect with my ol’ amigos, Greg Ehrlich, Allen Stone, Brent Rusinow, and William Olin and hearing about the new record coming this fall. If Greg ever opens a restaurant, I’ll be there weekly.” – Jason Newmarch: