Saturday, April 5, 2014

San Ysidro, Chula Vista, The Grateful Dead and the Sleep Country Amphitheater

City Of Chula Vista Flag
Chula Vista
Hello and welcome back to Old Highway Notes. When we were last together on Highway 101 we were enjoying some coffee and pie after a grueling border crossing returning from Tijuana, Mexico. To see Highway 101 in south San Diego County will require a bit of time travel. Fortunately for us we have the help of a website, AARoads who chronicles the route:
U.S. 101 has been completely decommissioned in San Diego and Orange Counties. Starting at the International Border at San Ysidro, U.S. 101 roughly paralleled Interstate 5 all the way through San Diego County. It began at the southern trolley terminus in the city of San Diego along San Ysidro Boulevard, continued northwest via Beyer Boulevard through the Otay-Nestor community, then entered the city of Chula Vista as Broadway.

Frankly, San Ysidro is a pretty bland town to look at and it had no significant musical history to loiter on so we slowly cruise North. This realtors video has some images of the city as we pass through.

Heading North on the old highway we leave San Ysidro and enter Chula Vista.YouTube gives us a song about the Chula Vista.:

The old highway ran north on what is now Broadway Blvd in the city Chula Vista. Here is a view out the windshield:

Fans of the Grateful Dead may remember the name of Chula Vista as one of the most acclaimed shows of their 1985 tour, It was a summer afternoon, quite hot and the band kicked out a nice show. The song "She Belongs To Me [Live, September 15, 1985]" that was performed here was later included on the compilation album Postcards Of The Hanging: Grateful Dead Perform The Songs Of Bob Dylan. I found you a tasty version of the show to check out on and the show is now part of the Highway 101 playlist. There is also a YouTube video of the show after the Archive links.

AlbumL Grateful Dead Live at Devore Field, Southwestern U on 1985-09-15 (September 15, 1985)

Many years after the Grateful Dead performed their concert in Chula Vista, Universal Concerts purchased an industrial park of 72 acres, and with the cooperation of the city, began building. In 1997 the White Water Canyon (now Aquatica San Diego) water park was opened. The next year, 1998, the Coors Amphitheater opened on the site as well, with the first concert by the Spice Girls in August of that year. A 10,000 seat venue, it is one of the largest concert facilities in the San Diego area, In 1999, shortly aftyer it opened, the Universal Concert chain was purchased by the House Of Blues taking the Coors Amphitheater along with seven other amphitheaters and 11 clubs. In 2006, Live Nation purchased the chain. They would rename the Theater the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in 2008, changing its name again in 2013 with a change in sponsorship. The Sleep Country Amphitheater was christened in what has to be one of the more ill considered corporate brandings I can think of. As I did my research into this post I could not find any particularly noteworthy performances at the venue. YouTube does feature a slew of videos by popular modern performers, but for the most part it seems to be just another stop in the chain of corporate amphitheaters that runs across the country with astonishing cookie cutter sameness, If anyone has memorable experiences from shows there I would love to hear your stories in the comments.

That about does it for Chula Vista, but join us again in three weeks as we continue our drive north on the old Highway 101 and head into National City. In the meantime, stop by next week for some rock and roll history in Miami on Interstate 95 and in two weeks when we continue to explore blues music history in Chicago on Route 66.  Until then, keep your hands on the wheel and the rubber on the road.

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