So what will Alive After Five feel like out in the middle of Grove Street?
With no little kids splashing in an iconic fountain?
Different. And that’s OK. Heading into its 30th year as a Downtown Boise Association tradition, the community festival is about to get a “new look,” Downtown Boise Association director Lynn Hightower says.
Renovations at and around The Grove Plaza are forcing the free concert series to uproot. It will move a stone’s throw away to the Basque Block when it begins June 1.
“The folks on the Basque Block were very welcoming and open to the idea of hosting Alive After Five,” Hightower says. “The Basque Block has a great energy and feel in an urban space that showcases Boise’s history.”
Kevin Settles, who owns Bardenay restaurant and distillery at 610 W. Grove St., is similarly optimistic. “I think it’ll be fun,” he says.
His sentiment isn’t surprising. Bardenay should be jammed. Alive After Five draws about 3,000 revelers weekly.
Actually, Bardenay already benefits. “We definitely see a nice bump in business on Alive After Five nights,” Settles says.
With Alive After Five front and center, Bardenay will sell cocktails to festival patrons right and left — right? Not exactly. A couple of years ago, the city’s legal interpretation regarding patio-and-street alcohol got stricter, Settles says. So if you buy a beer at Bardenay, you’ll have to keep it on the Bardenay patio. And if you buy a beer at Alive After Five, you can’t take it across the invisible line onto the Bardenay patio. Seems unnecessarily complicated and annoying. Especially for a street festival. Hey, that’s Idaho alcohol law for you.
“It made Jaialdi a much bigger headache last time,” Settles admits. “It caused a fair amount of frustration.”
Nevertheless, every restaurant patio near the Basque Block is likely to be sardine-canned for 14 consecutive Wednesdays from June 1 to Aug. 31.
As for next year?
“We look forward to having Alive After Five return home to The Grove Plaza in the spring of 2017, after the convention center construction is complete and improvements on the plaza are installed,” says John Brunelle, executive director of Capital City Development Corporation.
And what if Alive After Five draws bigger crowds at the Basque Block than it did at The Grove Plaza?
“That would be a very good problem to have!” Hightower says.
That probably won’t happen. Unless, of course, they book a band that draws Boise’s entire population Downtown.
You know, someone like Goo Goo Dolls.
There’s still no word on who the performers will be. I can’t even find a misleading clue online. But official announcements should start to trickle out in the near future.
“(We’re) hopeful that there are going to be some bands that people get excited about,” Hightower says. “So keep your fingers crossed.”
The music scene is heating up at Taco Bell Arena.
▪ Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Taylor will bust out the baby-boomin’ classics — and songs from his solid new album, “Before This World” — on Wednesday, July 20. He’ll be backed by his All-Star Band, not to be confused with the All-Starr Band that performed in Boise last year with Ringo Starr.
Taylor hasn’t gigged in the Treasure Valley since 2007.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. March 11 at Ticketmaster.
▪ Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon and Tesla will unleash an ’80s-rockin’ marathon Wednesday, Sept. 28. British headbangers Def Leppard have rolled through this area a couple of times in the past decade, most recently in 2011.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. March 4 at Ticketmaster.
▪ Vocal group Il Divo will bust out classical crossover tunes at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at Taco Bell Arena.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. March 4 for $49-$125 at Ticketmaster.
Outlaw Field update
Summer concert organizers continue to give us something to talk about.
▪ Bluesy singer-guitarist Bonnie Raitt will perform Tuesday, Sept. 13, at the Idaho Botanical Garden’s Outlaw Field. Her last visit to Boise was in 2012 at Outlaw Field, when she headlined a gig opened by Mavis Staples.
Tickets to the 7 p.m. concert go on sale for $60 general admission at 10 a.m. March 25 at Ticketmaster.
▪ Classic rocker Steve Miller also is coming to Outlaw Field. That concert is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 21.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, March 18, for $65 general admission at Ticketmaster.
Those are the third and fourth shows announced this year at the outdoor venue, which also will host Tony Bennett on June 2 and Paul Simon on May 23. Simon’s gig sold out almost immediately after it went on sale last week.
A Twitter smarty pants asked me, “Should they rename it ‘Over 60 Field’? ” Well, let’s see how the rest of the season pans out first.
I just hope Outlaw Field avoids sponsorship, a la Taco Bell Arena. Geritol Outlaw Field doesn’t have the same cool ring.