Monday, August 13, 2012

My First Music Festival - Outside Lands, a review

This weekend I went to the three day musical bonanza that is Outside Lands, and thanks to very generous connections, the wife, the sister, and I all were VIPs for the weekend.  This afforded us two very important things: seating for the main stage and access to clean bathrooms.  While the seating was nice, the bathrooms made the event.

Music - In the Park
The music was good too.

 Friday: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Fitz and the Tantrums, Beck, Foo Fighters, Neil Young and Crazy Horse

On Friday afternoon, we caught the very end of Dirty Dozen Brass Band and then walked around to see what was what.  We ate some fantastic lamb meat ball on a stick from Outside Lambs (get it?) and then settled down in the VIP tent.  We were able to snag a table and chairs  for Fitz and the Tantrums, who were really impressive, Beck, who is just about as cool as you can be, Foo Fighters, who are truly rock, and Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

Foo Fighters - VIP Viewing Area

Neil left something to be desired in my book.  Neil is very mad at the world and you would think he would find some peace...but you would be wrong.  We held out for about an hour but it was getting really cold and windy, and Neil was yelling at me.

Saturday: The Be Good Tanyas, Alabama Shakes, Explosions in the Sky,  Big Boi, Norah Jones and Metallica
On Saturday we arrived and got a pretty snazzy field spot for The Be Good Tanyas.  They had a really smooth, blue grass feeling that was prefect for lying on a blanket.  So that is what we did...until the crowd from Alabama Shakes took the Sutro Stage.

Alabama Shakes crowd
As you can see from this picture, it was packed.  We were about halfway to the front of this group too.  I highly recommend listening to the Alabama Shakes.  They are great, even better live, and totally deserve this type of support.  Funky, smooth, jazzy, jam-band, rock...with a raspy signer. A win for all with good taste.

After working our way through this mad house, we heard some of Explosions in the Sky which was nice for that part of the day; their heavy yet relaxing jams were a nice way to gather myself together to get all the way to Big Boi which was about as ridiculous as the lines for the port-o-potties.

Big Boi from the VIP section at Twin Peaks.
We went back to Sutro for some Norah Jones, and then for the final event of the evening we got some METALLICA!

Metallica, I do not like.  However, it was extremely entertaining and there were great pyrotechnics.  That was a win.  Again it was getting cold and we had listened to about an hour and half of Metallica, and had not heard a single song we knew, so we went home. 

Sunday: A little of Jovanotti and Allen Stone, fun., Trampled By Turtles, the end of Franz Ferdinand , Regina Spektor, about 20 min of Rebelution, Dispatch, and Stevie Wonder

And this was the pay-off.  We started the day off with an epic speed-brunch at Solstice at California and Divis.  As always the food was good and the drinks were plentiful. After a quick bus ride to the 5 stop, we got lucky and onto a shuttle bus that took us directly to the entrance at 25th and Fulton.  We heard about 10 minutes of Jovanotti and Allen Stone respectively as we got organized to head over to the VIP field area for fun.  

But first we took posed shots in the VIP tent:
Sister and me pulling a serious elbow bump pose.

The wife and me in the VIP tent

fun. lived up to its name and was clearly excited to be preforming for a lot of people (it was kind of cute).  The Polo Fields area was completely packed and the sing-alongs were epic.  fun. reminds me of pretty-boy 1960s rock bands with a sharp touch of 80s pop flavor.  In truth they were one of the top performances of my Outside Lands.

fun. on the main stage.
We all wondered over to Trampled by Turtles both for their music and to celebrate their fantastic choice in name, came back to the main stage for the end of Franz Ferdinand, and to set up shop for Regina Spektor, who is just wonderful.  I was talking to my sister about this show trying to figure out into what genre Regina fits. But she really doesn't and that is what makes it so lovely. 

At this point the three of us went to eat some delicious food stuff at the Food Truck area. We got a burrito from a Filipino place, very good, and a burger, fries, and tacos from a French place, also very good.  The truffle aioli didn't hurt either.  For the record, neither place served food from their stated regional influence. A side discussion could be dedicated to the fact that all street food is the same...but that is for another time. 

Then it was time for Dispatch.  I got there really early so I could get close to my favorite band.  In doing so I got to enjoy Rebelution's set.  They have a easy-to-enjoy reggae style.  Worth having in the background while jamming on the grass, which was what I was doing as the wife and sister went to get dessert from ChocoLands.  Then Dispatch took the stage and it was fantastic.  I sang along to every word, jumped with the masses, and took it all in.

Thank you Dispatch.
Dispatch did a thorough job reminding me why I love this band. Even though this was the furthest away from the stage I have ever been from a Dispatch show, they rocked out, worked the crowd, and knew exactly how to finish the set, with the song every one wanted to hear.  The General played us out, and let me tell you the jumping around that took place made my entire weekend. 

Stevie from the VIP bleachers.
We then went over to listen to Stevie Wonder who, in his new found freedom, was a bit pervey.  However, it was Stevie Wonder playing for about 10,000 people outside, in the fog, and that was just something you don't forget. He hit all the hits and played for a solid two hours. As, Superstition, and Isn't She Lovely were all exactly what you wanted to hear, and we heard them. 

There are about a million other side stories to be told, including the time that my co-worker almost jumped out of her skin when a gofer poked its head up next to her on the grass, or when I tried to walk into the artist area like I owed the place when I heard the security guard say "art instillation."  There was our friendly bar tender who had serious issues with math and the public transit experience is a whole other conversation.  

But the most memorable aspects of this weekend, that I will take with me forever, are that having a connection is the best and VIP bathrooms remind you that you are human.

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