Saturday we decided it was TOO DANG HOT to arrive early, so we got to ACL about 3:30 when the day became manageable. The crowds were obscene. You couldn’t plow through any section of the park without weaving through a throng.
Los Lobos put on a decent show–a mix of old favorites with some of their new songs. We lay in the blanket in the sun, happy and pleased to be outside and listening. We had discovered Charlie Sexton via the Itunes ACL download giveaway and his live performance was also outstanding. Kurt liked Calexico; I was only lukewarm on the sound, which is sometimes described as alternative country, but I found to be sort of jazzy mariachi, at least in the sets they played Saturday.
We met up with Ivy at the South Austin Jug Band show, although she disliked the music and the lack of jugs. I love SAJB, so we were grooving within good sight of the band at the small stage. We made a brief stop by Explosions in the Sky before unanimously declaring their mix too painful to endure. James had joined us by then, and we immediately made our way to the bar tent to plunk down $4 for beer and $6 for wine.
We all started at Massive Attack, but Ivy and James couldn’t handle them either, so they made off for Willie Nelson. Kurt and I managed a few more songs and took off ourselves, fired up for Day 3, since Day 2 had been so much more manageable.
Then came the rain. We arrived on Sunday at 4 p.m. to find Rebecca STILL in the line for KT Tunstall’s autograph. (She later was threatened with arrest after failing to get an autograph for Muse and refusing to leave–go Becca!) The ground had dried up from the noon showers and the sky held most of the day. We saw a solid show from Matisyau and a surprise delight with the highly entertaining antics of White Ghost Shivers and their x-rated lyrics. Hooray for the Banana Song!
We all sat around listening to the Flaming Lips as we waited to split again–Rebecca, Ivy, and James to Muse and me and Kurt to the Bodeans. I have to say the Bodeans ROCKED! I remarked to Kurt a number of times that people around us during the festival didn’t seem to be having fun. They were like, enduring, like they were just managing the crowds and heat and shuffled from one show to the other like zombies. But during the Bodeans, everyone laughed and danced, like a music festival should be! I so have to get one of their albums now.
Tom Petty was about what I expected–solid, low key, a mix of popular songs and things I didn’t know. He talked and sang sort of softly, a subtlety you find in his music, and I found that this did not translate well to a huge open field with tens of thousands of people. Crowds around us kept shouting “turn it up!” but obviously it wasn’t possible. People singing around us were drowning out the music from the stage, and one song we couldn’t hear even when everyone got quiet. So as the rain began half an hour into the concert, about 2/3 of the crowd bailed. I caught a blurry rain-enhanced image of the night stage.
The good part of that was we got out our ponchos and moved up where we could hear him more clearly. Bad part: had to wait 45 minutes before he came on again.
So, looking back over the three days–Los Lonely Boys were definitely the best show. The Bodeans a close second (they SOOO deserved a bigger stage). I definitely plan to catch White Ghost Shivers locally some time as they were just so fun, and I’m never ever going to a day at ACL without my handy pool blanket that wicks water away and folds up into a tiny bundle. We didn’t have it the first day and sitting in grass is icky–witness my 25 ant bites!