While I visited San Francisco pretty often with my family when I was growing up (it’s only about a 3-4 hour drive from Reno), I’d have to say some of my most vivid memories of the city came much later when I would trek back with friends in college for different concerts. We would make big weekends out of it, leaving early on a Friday afternoon after our last class and pile into a car, armed with lots of iPod playlists (ah, remember those?!), ready for far too many pit stops at In N Out (animal style, please!). Outside Lands. Kings of Leon. Cat Power. Smashing Pumpkins. Feist. The list goes on and on.
My favorite concert from this part of my life would have to be when Devendra Banhart played at the Palace of Fine Arts (the amazing building you see above here). My boyfriend at the time surprised me with tickets and true to form, we probably missed a class or two to make it out for a long weekend in San Francisco. We booked a small bed and breakfast just off Lombard Street (The Edward II!) and spent most of the evening just strolling around the Marina, getting lost in (and tumbling down) San Francisco’s many hills.
As for the concert itself, if you ever get the chance to see anyone perform at the Palace, I highly recommend you go! Naturally the acoustics inside the building are nothing short of amazing, but walking around the Palace grounds and surrounding park are actually what made me fall in love with it that very night. Simply put, it’s beautiful. The sheer height and scale of the columns and overhead dome are humbling — we actually were some of the last concert goers that evening milling around, mainly because we couldn’t stop looking up while we were strolling. And we did just that. For hours, well into the night after the concert ended. The city grew still and quiet, the fog coming in like a blanket overhead, and yet there we were, roaming around this beautiful building like our own private playground. I may not quite remember the songs that were played that night and that boyfriend is no longer in my life, but something about it has stuck with me — a very tangible memory of an evening that felt so alive and full of possibility.
And to this day, I can’t help but think of that night whenever I visit the Palace.