September 18, 2006

ACL Fest Wrap-Up

Well, the big difference in ACL Fest from 2005 to 2006 was that the parks people made a huge effort to water the grass all summer so that the festival wouldn't be a dust bowl again. Last year was like being in a western, what with all the folks wearing bandanas to keep the dust out of their lungs. Without Hurricane Rita to spoil things, the overall weather was a lot better in 06. Hot, yes, but bearable.

I remember so distinctly last year's Arcade Fire show on Sunday afternoon. It was 108 degrees out, and I had to sit on the ground and let the surrounding people shade me, since standing up made me nauseated and woozy. This year, I had a thermometer I bought for my Costa Rica trip, which displayed the much more tolerable temperature of 93 degrees at the same time Sunday afternoon. Not exactly cool, but still, a whole 15 degrees cooler!

In addition to my thermometer/LED light/compass/mirror gadget, I also carried an umbrella with me all day Sunday. Watching the beginning of Tom Petty, I remarked to my friend Shannon, who also had an umbrella, "Good thing we carried these umbrellas around with us all day. That must be why it didn't rain." Famous last words! At that moment, the skies grew dark and ominous, clouds moved in rapidly, and in 10 minutes, it was pouring with rain. The band left the stage, and people made shift to pack up their stuff, including their handy placemarker totems, put up their umbrellas and stay dry. Friends Sally and Karen had left in search of the bathroom, and had a hell of a time finding us again in the rain and the dark without any of the reference points that are so crucial. It rained so hard that even the holdouts with ponchos decided to get under the umbrellas. The big question, though, was, "Will the Heartbreakers come back and play, or are we gonna stand here like jerks and wait for nothing?" There was an agonizing 45 minute wait, but once the rain had died down, and the electrical problems solved, TP and the band came back out, uncovered their Hammond organ, and played another nearly hour-long set, including "It's Good to be King," "Free Falling," "Learning to Fly," "American Girl," and "You Wreck Me." I reeeeeeaaaallly wanted them to play "The Waiting," and I don't know what was the hardest part, the waiting, or the realizing that I wasn't going to hear that familiar "Ter-chung...dow nee nee now nee nee dow, now" intro, or Mike Campbell's transcendent guitar solo. Oh, well.

The band I was really looking forward to seeing was "The New Pornographers," who together with singer Neko Case have almost singlehandedly restored my faith in American popular music. I crossed my fingers that Neko would grace the festival with her presence, and she did, making jokes about how it was too cold for her, and what did we mean by making her perform in these freezing conditions. I wanted to yell, "Shoulda been here last year when it was 10 below, babe." Ha! Anyway, her voice sounded clear as a bell, and just as beautiful as it does coming out of my headphones. I was grinning and jumping up and down the whole time, singing along. I think I almost cried when they played "Blown Speakers." I'm including the whole setlist below, for archival purposes.

So here are the rest of the bands I caught over the weekend, in chronological order.

Part of Los Lonely Boys
Thievery Corporation
Part of Ray Lamontagne
Van Morrison

The Shins
Kings of Leon
Aimee Mann
The Raconteurs (rocked out)
Willie Nelson (still great at 73--loved his song, "You Don't Think I'm Funny Any More.")
Massive Attack (ehhhh)

KT Tunstall
The New Pornographers (my new favorite band, so here's their set list)
  1. Twin Cinema
  2. Use It
  3. The Laws Have Changed
  4. Jackie Dressed in Cobras
  5. The Bleeding Heart Show
  6. Mass Romantic
  7. Testament to Youth in Verse
  8. Miss Teen Wordpower
  9. These Are The Fables
  10. It's Only Divine Right
  11. The Fake Headlines
  12. Star Bodies
  13. From Blown Speakers
  14. Letter From an Occupant
  15. Sing Me Spanish Techno
The BoDeans--and they played the song "Fadeaway"!
Part of MUSE
Part of G. Love & Special Sauce
Part of Damien Marley
Most of Ween
Patrice Pike
Part of Matisyahu (the Hasidic dub/dancehall/rapper dude)
Ben Harper
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

1 comment:

AustinDefense said...

Did you just now post this review and then backdate it to September?