Attending truly great musical performances is one of life’s great joys. It can be both visceral and intellectual, and, when done right, it can leave you feeling high for days afterward. This is why we go the symphony, opera, and rock concert. It is an opportunity to indulge in something rare and special.
It is usually here where I would begin telling you all about how surprisingly amazing the Autumn Sky performance was - about how tight the band was - about the genuine and heartfelt performance that endeared the crowd. It is usually here where I would tell you how simply stupendous Peter Murphy was despite the fact that his bus broke down on the way to Napa and there was a mad rush to get the show going on time. It is usually here where I would tell you that you’d be hard-pressed to find a better theater to see a concert in than the Uptown.
Instead, today, it is rant time. Apparently, Napa has a curfew, and based on what I witnessed last night, it must be VERY strictly enforced. At exactly 10:59 PM, practically in the middle of a song, the concert just stopped. No masterfully crafted crescendo. No five song encore. Just full stop and a quick apology on behalf of Mr. Murphy.
I understand the necessity for noise control ordinances. What I don’t understand is why, on a Saturday night, enforcement would start at 11 PM, and that it seems like there is not one bit of wiggle room when it comes to that enforcement. I appreciate the fact that the Uptown doesn’t want to do anything that would anger the handful of neighbors who live within earshot of the venue, but I cannot imagine that it would cause much, if any, hardship for them.
In a city where the cacophonous racket of leaf blowers, string trimmers, and lawn mowers can be heard at 8:00 o’clock on a Sunday morning, which is music to no one’s ears, it is hard to take seriously the obviously arbitrary enforcement of a law that hamstrings a venue that repeatedly attracts cash paying customers into our otherwise sleepy little downtown. If downtown Napa wants to continue to grow as a tourist destination, it is going to have to do something about some of its small town, small-minded restrictions placed on the businesses that are doing everything in their power to help Napa grow. To quote Benjamin Franklin: “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”