@AndyShore Festival season began and ended as a team effort for Festival Crashers in ’09, but took a couple of individual efforts to pull it all together. Whatever doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger. It was nice to be able to come together for ACL and show all Zack’s new friends in Austin how we do. Zack got one last taste of festival season for his birthday, but I got mine for Halloween at Festival 8. It made me sad to read Zack’s list, knowing that I was not there for many of his favorite shows of the year. It also made me realize many of my favorite festival shows of 2009 are not on his list. Who doesn’t love them some more year end lists?
Andy’s Top Festival Shows of ’09:
10: Earth, Wind & Fire at Jazz Fest
Zack and I both wanted to include this show in our top-10. In a move that can only be labeled as classic Festival Crashers, we looked back only to find out neither one of us ever wrote the review. Thinking back, this is what I remember. From the photo pit, I laughed when I saw the bedazzled costumes that Earth, Wind & Fire took the stage wearing. Their voices still sound as great as ever and that was some of the most fun, funky and soulful music I’ve ever heard live. Adam Deitch of Lettuce was rocking out next to Zack, @samifest and I as we danced in the Nola sunshine. I also caught a dance party that broke out in the middle of the crowd on my Flip. Maybe that’s where the guy got the idea to do it at Coachella!?
9. The Dead at Rothbury
This is number 9, due to a “Space Jam” that simply lost me in the second set. The first set of this show was magic, and it included my single favorite moment of the ’09 festival season and prompted me to write this:
Warren Haynes took over on vocals for a cover of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” The steady swing of the Dead backing Haynes’ sweet, soulful voice had me in awe. @JordanLipshutz admitted to me much later in the night that it’s possible he cried during that song. It was just that good.
8. The Killers at Lollapalooza
The fact that the 8 spot is Lollapalooza’s only appearance on this list says a lot about the festival this year. They just didn’t have the headliners to match the others this year. That being said, the Killers earned their spot on this list.
With time to spare, the crowd cheered the Killers back on stage for an encore. “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” sounded good, but they needed something stronger to close Lollapalooza with. “When You Were Young” was just that. Thinking about it makes me want to pop in Guitar Hero and play through the song.
Wilco falls into the category of bands that I was never that into, that I actually loved at a festival. They killed their set at 10klf. Wilco (The Album) got heavy play from me this year, in no small part thanks to their performance.
6. Matt & Kim at Pitchfork
I don’t want to put this one too high, for fear of gaining some indie cred. I had never heard of Matt & Kim before seeing them at Pitchfork. Their album, Grand, wound up being possibly my most played album of 2009. The show even made hipsters crowd surf, and they played “The Final Countdown.”
Matt and Kim took the stage at Pitchfork a bit late, but who could be mad at the ear to ear grins they were sporting. Kim said she heard the B stage was the party stage. After seeing their high energy set at Pitchfork, I can safely say that any stage Matt and Kim take is the party stage. Nobody appears to have more fun than those two, which says a lot. The hipsters went nuts for this band.
5. Joe Cocker at Jazz Fest
This set was so good, we both weighed in on it for the review.
@ZackTeibloom I knew we’d get one Beatles cover. I hoped for two. We got three. The inevitable “With a Little Help from My Friends,” the classic “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” and the surprise “Come Together.” Each had their distinct Cocker take, each was jammed out with nasty solos by the guitarist and each was drawn out into a both-hands-held-high-above-your-head, ear-to-ear smile, sing-a-long.
@AndyShore Cocker busted out all the stops, aside from the Beatles hits. He crooned to the crowd on tunes like “When the Night Comes,” “Up Where We Belong” and “You Are So Beautiful.” The show was everything I had hoped it would be. A crowd-wide sing-along that left me smiling ear to ear.
4. Them Crooked Vultures at ACL
The supergroup of our generation. A second straight year of Dave Grohl at ACL. I was very drunk for this show, Zack put it better than I could.
3. Umphrey’s McGee (2 late-night shows) at Rothbury
I’m including two shows in the three slot, and taking the favorite child argument. A parent won’t usually admit to having a favorite. They’ll talk about unique qualities that each one possesses. That’s how I feel about these Umphrey’s shows. The lights were incredible for both nights and each provided highlights. My brother handled the reviewing duties for these shows. Check out his review for night one and it’s sequel, Umphrey’s at Rothbury part deux.
2. String Cheese Incident at Rothbury
Phish was not the only giant on the jam band scene to have a triumphant return in 2009. My review does not do the spectacle of the second set justice. There were fire dancers, hoola hoop dancers, people dangling from ribbons on the stage and Pluto-sized beach balls floating over the crowd. The lights bathed the circus with color and I wish my gimpy ankle would have allowed for me to stand up and enjoy it.
SCI took the stage to roars from the crowd. This was a special show, for a band with a massive fan base. They kicked off their biggest show in years with “Roll Over.” It was immediately apparent that the band was rejuvenated and happy to be back together.
1. Phish’s Exile on Main St. at Festival 8
Exile on Main St. is one of my top-5 favorite albums of all-time. This show is not just my favorite show from one of my favorite bands. It was my favorite show of 2009, festival or not. Adding horns and back-up vocals was icing on the cake.
The peak of the set was the fan familiar “Loving Cup.” With the added horns and vocals, it may have been the best version of that song Phish has ever played. The rest of the set is a blur of excitement and awesomeness.