Saturday, September 15, 2007

ACL 2007 Saturday

Day two of the festival and it looks like it is going to be another beautiful day. We find our special parking spot that is less than a mile from the park (it took us 6 years to figure this out?) and costs us nothing. Liz is holding up great considering it is her firstACL . And, she is learning things she never thought she'd know. Luckily, as the saying goes, what happens in Austin, stays in Austin.

The gates actually open early. Okay, not before 11am but 11:12, which may be the earliest they have ever opened. We decide to do some shopping first and then head over to see Willy Mason. We saw him 2 years ago and you could tell he was the real thing. But he was young and his songwriting still wasn't totally polished yet. When we got to the stage we almost didn't recognize him. He has really grown into a man (he really looked almost like a teenager back then). And his songwriting skills continue to grow. You can see it in his second CD and I can't wait to hear the third one. He was really good. The highlight of his show was when he brought his mom out to sing duet on a couple of songs (one she wrote). She is a singer/songwriter also and hopes to someday have a record released. It was such a sweet moment. And the harmonies! It is really hard to beat when family members harmonize together. Their voices always blend so nicely.

Our first risk of the day worked out well. Dr. Dog got moved to the big stage when the White Stripes canceled (they didn't replace them, everybody moved up one slot and they took the opening slot). What a fun band they are. With loads of energy to spare, they proceeded to pound out Beatlesque pop songs with just enough feedback fuzz and furry to give them a winning sound. Throw some psychedelic strains into the mix and serve very hot.

We decided to have an early lunch (1:30) and headed over to the food court. This area is classic Austin. Not just because of the food, but because you actually hear several stages at the same time; all different types of music all at the same time is soooo Austin. We heard a bit of Back Door Slam (sounded really good) and The Legendary Soul Stirrers (from Chicago apparently, but maybe not legendary enough for Liz to know who they are). We also caught the beginning of Raul Malo's set, which started off hot with an old Mavericks song, then moved into his new album of country crooner classics. But, that was the stage we were headed to, so we headed over after a quick meal and caught the end of the show, which, like the beginning, really cooked.

As Raul left we settled in at the front of the stage and stayed there the rest of the day: easy on the legs, a bit harder on the butt. :-) We blew off PaoloNutini (he was fun to watch last year, but the CD didn't do much for me) and relaxed while listening to the fine reggae of Stephen Marley as it blared across the field. Guy and a friend joined up with us just in time to hear a good set from Steve Earle. Steve, played solo most of the show. But when it came time to showcase his new songs, he added a dj , who laid down some bass beats and scratching while Steve played his guitar and sang about the problems of the world. It is a really interesting sound and I can't wait to hear the new CD (okay, I know I keep saying that, but how else can I say it? So manyCDs , so little time).

There was a second microphone on the stage, and we could see Steve's beautiful and very talented wife sitting in the back. Nevertheless, you never know, so we crossed our fingers. Sure enough, AllisonMoorer joined Steve on a few songs, including a beautiful love song that he said he "didn't have to act when he sang it with her". Awww. Great set.

Everyone wanted to see the Indigo Girls and I thought it would be fun to see them with such a large crowd. Also, because of the White Stripes canceling, Damian Rice got moved to the number 2 spot. This meant that it would be nearly impossible to get close to the stage. With that in mind we sat back down and waited. Zap Mama better we worth it. Yep, that was the next band on stage, Zap Mama. And what an interesting show. Not really my cup of tea, but it was fun and we did bounce around to the rhythms which jumped from funk to Brazilian to salsa and back to some world beat that I guess you can call Brazilian soul. The leader of the band is a tall beautiful black woman from Belgium I believe, and she has such a creative way of performing. It was a world beat kind of show with a big beat to keep you dancing. And could she dance, doing a bit of break dancing, and the splits and spinning like a wild woman, all while wearing a formal length dress. Very impressive. Also impressive was her band with three backup singers (one was a lady bass player, another had pipes that were incredible), a very good guitar player, a percussionist, some solid keyboards and the man I'm guessing is the arranger of the band; the drummer. What a showman he was, twirling his sticks as he swung his arms down on the drums. He was very very good. The biggest problem was the timing of the show. The sun was behind the stage and it was impossible to see anything. They really need to close up the back of that stage.
And so we settled back down and waited again. It wasn't quite as comfortable this time as one or two, uhmmm, ladies, really wanted to be on the rail and we weren't interested in giving up our spots. So they got just a bit too close and for the first time we felt a bit squeezed. But it wasn't too bad. The worst part was we could hear Damian Rice just enough to know he was putting on one hell of a show. Damn.
I was really hoping for a band show from the Indigo Girls, but they came out and did their duet instead. About half way through the show they brought out the band that has been opening for them on tour, and played the rest of the set with them. They can rock so hard and have so much fun doing it, I really don't get why they do the duets so much. It doesn't really matter. IG shows are always a lot of fun and this was no exception.

Alas, it was just too crowded to get near enough to enjoy Arcade Fire. We heard a couple of tunes from far away. They sounded and looked great. The stage looked like it was way cool, but we couldn't be sure. It was bad enough that we were so far, but to also have to hear Muse blasting in the distance made it impossible to enjoy them. So, we settled for some good margaritas and Mexican food at a local eatery. And our day was done.


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