Monday, September 18, 2006

ACL 2006 - Sunday

Things started out a bit weird on Sunday. As we walked to the park, some drunken idiot was riding a bike with another idiot on the handle bars. They were barely staying up let alone near the side of the road. As we looked on, they looked at us
Again it was decision time. I decided I really wanted a good seat for the BoDeans (I've never seen them. Can you believe that?). That meant sitting through Matt Costa and then the Greencards and missing Son Volt (again, the guy on the plane said they were great).

and laughed and then ran into a car that stopped because they were heading right for her. The guy, holding his bent tire started yelling at the woman in the car who was quite shaken by the whole thing. He left and we went over and comforted her. He scratched up and dented her car a bit. Did I mention that was 11am? :-(

And the rain finally came. As we waited for the year late Kathleen Edwards (she got hurricane'd out), the rain came pouring down. Pouring Down. Yes, that was on purpose. It was the hardest rain yet for ACL and a pretty intense one for a Southern California guy like me. But as if Kathleen had a magic connection with mother nature, with 5 minutes to go, the rain stopped and... and... the sun DIDN'T come out. For those of you who don't live in hot parts of the world, if the sun comes out after the rain, you're gonna fry (or at least get one hell of a steam bath). The sun threatened to show up throughout the day and it did make some short appearances, but it never quite made it. That kept the temperature down a bit (not as much as you'd think though).

So Kathleen comes out and first thing says, "Well, I sure am glad I have no performances after this because I'm probably going to get electrocuted". And then she rocks. I was chatting with a guy on the plane today who said that he wasn't sure what to expect from her. He liked her CDs but wasn't thrilled by them. And then he saw her and... Well... she is just something to see in concert. Her band is very very tight these days, and when they rock, they do it really well. And her voice (someone called it a lighter Lucinda) is just so inviting. During her show, she told us the story of someone who mistook her for Aimee Mann; "Sure, Aimee and 10 hamburgers and you get me". That, of course started the Aimee jokes. Part way through the show a group of fans yelled, "We love you Aimee"! She just loved that. When I got her autograph, I asked her to sign it "Aimee Mann". She almost did, signing it, "An Aimme Mann fan, Kathleen Edwards". Speaking of signing, Linda has this thing about a certain phrase and last year got Lucinda to sign her picture, "F Off" (she did actually spell it out). So inspired by Lucinda's willingness, she asked KT Tunstall for the same autograph. KT loved the idea; "First time" she said of the request. I missed KT but Deb and Linda said she was great.

While KT was playing on one stage I wanted to be up close for Jose Gonzales. I felt that his music is so fragile, it requires a small room and no distractions. I was right. Standing at the front of the stage wasn't good enough. His guitar playing is really something to see. He creates these beautiful moods and then oh so softly sings over it. Because of the weather, his seat (he played seated with a mic'd guitar) was half way back on the stage. As you'll see, I could barely get him in my frame. It was a beautiful but short show (only 35 minutes). But that allowed me to go check out more of Patrice Pike's show (where I caught back up with Deb and Linda). Patrice just gets better every year. I was too far away for pics (she had them packed in this year... local girl makes good).

It wasn't a good sign for me when I heard that Matt Costa was a Jack Johnson find (I could be wrong. I know that someone from No Doubt is working with him and in fact he had some No Doubt equipment with him). I don't know what it is about Jack, but everything seems so light and just bores me; especially in concert. And on first listen, Matt did very little for me. Nice pleasant music with some feel of importance that I didn't think it deserved. At the end he had a bunch of friends, including Elvis Perkins, come on stage and play percussion and sing. You would think there would be plenty of energy from this, but there wasn't.

We've seen the Greencards before. They are a fun bluegrass based group with a very talented lineup that now includes a guitar player. They actually are almost a poor man's Nickle Creek. But that's not fair to them. They are very good and fun to watch.

Finally, the BoDeans. Am I an idiot or what? How could I have passed these guys up all these years. This is just about as much fun as rock and roll can be without playing to a lowest common denominator. This is fun solid rock and these guys are tight. Don't know the lyrics to the sing-alongs? No problem, you'll figure them out and you'll want to sing along; the music is that infectious. What a great hour set it was. We were very happy.

The headliner for the weekend was Tom Petty. We decided to leave the park and watch him from the railroad tracks behind the stage. You can actually see the video screen and it is closer than many spots in the park. The first half hour was fun. And then the light show. Not Tom's; Mother Nature's. And then the rain came. And we all covered up and waited. It took about a half hour for the rain to go past and for the stage to get back to normal. Tom continued the show for another hour singing oldies (his and covers) as well as songs from the new CD. I understand they had monitor problems, which may have slowed the pace of the show. And that was my only complaint. Tom was always great at pacing a show; knowing when to bring it down for a while and knowing when it was time to rock. The show seemed a lot mellower than the old days and was not what we expected from him (especially at a festival). But he is still one of the great concert performers and when he finally kicked it up a notch we were dancing around in the mud. It was a great way to end another fun weekend in Austin. Can't wait for next year.


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