We were stuck in the queue for most of the Pretenders set and could only get close enough to the stage to kind of make out the features of the other acts but the jumbotrons mounted everywhere were helpful…still, I could sit at home and watch the concert on tv if this is what it boils down to.
Seasick Steve has a really annoying persona, as if he is trying too hard to be an authentic bluesman which is too bad because he really rocks when he stops telling his contrived stories and plays his sorry assed 3 string guitar or the one stringed diddly bow he had up there with him. The only accompaniement was a drummer and because of that I was reminded of the first time I saw the Flat Duo Jets…the sound was like 6 guys playing their asses off but in reality it was just Dexter Romwebber on guitar and Chris Smith with a single snare.
Ben Harper was okay, but I’ve never been a huge fan of his. Fleet Foxes was boring…it is really too bad because the singer has a great voice that is similar to (but richer than) Paul Simon’s. It is almost like the gods decided to make a band out of all the best things that the Grateful Dead, CSNY, and Phish had to offer but then bollocksed the whole thing up. After an afternoon of really good-to-tolerable music, this was more of the rock equivalent of a Fleet Enema than anything to do with wild life but at least the system had been flushed before the main event.
Neil Young was very good. This was the best live music performance I’ve seen in awhile and I’m glad we braved the rain, sudden temperature drop, the tens of thousands of hammered festival goers, and the lightning to see him.