First off, I'd like to thank Bob, Ryan, Jeff and Don of Low Down Sound for giving Pat (TB user cheezewiz) and I a warm welcome, and freedom to play anything we wanted to there. They had MTD, Sadowsky, Lakland, Zon, and others for us to check out. Great bunch of guys, and super nice gear. The biggest surprise out of all the gear was the new Gallien Krueger line. Holy crap that stuff sounded GOOD! Here's a shot of one of their bass wall, WOW there's some nice stuff! Me checking out a definite favorite in the store, a sonus 5 We spent a few hours checking things out in the store before the first of two bass clinics started. First up is our very own talkbass pro, Mike Dimin. What a GREAT player. Mike has a book coming out early 2005 I will definitely pick up. From what little he explained in the clinic about the "five scale positions", it has helped me to understand options I had not noticed in my 20 years of playing. What a great player, and down to earth, genuinely friendly person. I bought his CD while I was there, highly reccomended. Up after Mike was the great Norm Stockton, an AMAZING player! Norm covered the art of groove, and with no doubt I can say this man is a master of the groove. BEST tone all weekend IMO was Norm with his 535 through his new GK 1001 RB, and neo 2x10 and 1x15 cabs. Norm was also genuinely friendly, both him and Mike went out of their way to be accomodating to Pat and myself. I also picked up Norm's "Pondering the Sushi" CD which smokes! After the clinics, we were invited to dinner at a nice Italian restaraunt with the LDS guys, Mike, and Norm.....how cool is THAT????? Again, both of these world class players are as friendly and accomodating as it gets. I had Norm hassling me for ordering Steak so late at night, but I survived. I also got to explain to Norm that Faygo is like a Squier Pepsi Great times, it was the highlight of the trip for me! Day 2, we had some time to kill, so we caught "Team America:world police". Great movie! After that was over, we got to the venue a little early, and met Steve Lawson, whom Pat and I have known personally as an e-friend for quite some time on the dudepit. We also chatted with Norm and Mike again before things got started. Things got started with a quick jam by Jacquo lll X, followed by Michael Dimin's brillian Jazz set...tasty stuff, and he played the "most beautiful song ever written" Following up Dimin was young Jon Reshard. HOLY CRAP this kid has chops! Amazing stuff, IMO vic has nothing on him. While his set was filled with tremendous earthshaking thump and tapping, I bought his CD is it also showed a much more musical, grooving side. I look for BIG things out of this youngster, he IS the definition of MONSTER! Up next was Jacquo lllX, with an acompanying vocalist. Jacquo has some great chops, but this set quite honestly wasn't my thing. He also had a lightwave fretless, and it is interesting to see the optical pickup system sees every camera flash as POP! Up next was one I have been looking forward to for a while, Steve Lawson! His set was obviously well planned and performed perfectly (except forgetting the battery in the E-bow....that's okay, the loopers don't get tired LOL) Steve opened up with the title track from Grace and Gratitude, my personal fave from Steve. Incredible performance, and I am glad I finally got to see how all those sounds are made by a bass! Next was Norm Stockton. He again showed everyone why he is a master of the groove. His set was incredible as expected, but I would of liked to heard a longer set from Norm and a few others as well. Norm Rules! Next in the bullpen was Matt Garrison. I have to say, the type of music wasn't really my bag, but man can this cat play! Also very interesting, his set was done in quadraphonic sound. Matt will also be the cover artist of the December Bass Player issue. Closing out the night was Freekbass, who was the only performer to have a complete band with him. I didn't know what to expect from this band, but damn they are tight, and freekbass definitely has the funk! As a graduate of Bootsy, the influence is very apparent. He also has incredible stage presence. This band is cut out to go a long ways, definitely a great live act. A 2 hour ride home listening to our new CD's ended the trip. It was both very fun, and inspiring at the same time. That's about all there is to tell. A great time has been had by all, new friends were made, e-friends met for the first time, and I am really looking forward to getting up there again next year for a great time again. Don't miss it!