Summer Music Highlights: The Stuff You Didn’t See
What an amazing summer I’ve had, filled with live music, festivals and 100 percent humidity. And while it may be coming to an end (the season, not the music!), it doesn’t mean we can’t look back on some highlights that you- our dear readers- didn’t get to see…
Phish @ Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO. – 9/4
OK, so I didn’t really go to the show, but my friend and I attended a live stream of the webcast at the Roy Arias Theater in Times Square and it was AWESOME. Every phan knows that half of the reason Phish shows are so fun is because of the vibe in the crowd. So when you pack a small theater with a bunch of hippies and let them freely blaze, drink beer and dance, it’s not hard to feel like you’re right there in Colorado with everybody else.
There was a large screen on the stage of the auditorium projecting the concert, and because it was a webcast put on by the band, the cameramen were filming them so closely it was as if we were standing right there onstage. Even the set-break felt like a set-break at an actual Phish show, with people commenting and analyzing the songs that had just been played, and trying to call what the second set opener would be. When the show was over my friend and I legit felt like we had just gone to a Phish concert- it was a truly magical experience. Who says hippies don’t like technology?
Umphrey’s McGee @ Brooklyn Bowl – 9/6
First of all, Brooklyn Bowl is one of the coolest venues I’ve ever been to (not surprisingly, it’s located in Williamsburg aka hipster capital of NYC). Any place that you can go bowling while simultaneously watching live music is going to rank high in my Book of Rad Things. Combine that with a 4-night run from Umphrey’s McGee, a very popular “progressive rock / improvisational” jam band, and you’ve got sheer awesomeness. Which is why, despite not even being that familiar with the band, I went to check out the first show of the week. And boy am I glad I did, because on this night they opted to bring out Bob Weir (from the Grateful Dead, duh) and play “Not Fade Away.” People cheering, singing, dancing and bowling at the same time? Really doesn’t get much better than that. (Check out a vid from the surprise appearance here.)
The Levon Helm Band & Emmy-Lou Harris @ Summer Stage in Central Park- 7/18
I’d never been a huge fan of The Band, but I’ve always been a huge fan of music, so I knew I’d have a good time watching Levon Helm and his amazingly talented band perform at Summer Stage in Central Park. And who can deny the babe-a-licious Emmy-Lou Harris who was also on the roster for that evening? The set-up of Central Park’s Summer Stage was a very cool, sectioned off little area of the park, complete with beer tents, a few vendors, and porta-potties which my friend and I kept taking turns smoking my one-hitter in. The weather was hot and humid, and the beer was cold and refreshing. When it finally started to downpour about 2/3rds of the way through Helm’s set, it was a welcome temperature change. The rain also brought about the best part of the evening, which was a bunch of middle aged The Band fans yelling to all the umbrella-wielding peeps in the front row, “PUT YOUR UMBRELLAS DOWN!!!!! PUT THEM DOWN!!!!!!!! WE LOVE YOU LEVON!!!!!!!!!!”
Paul McCartney @ Yankee Stadium – 7/16
Who can forget about Sir Paul McCartney’s stellar performance at Yankee Stadium the weekend of July 17? With a nearly 3-hour long set list, complete with Beatles songs, Wings songs, and some newer stuff, this man’s energy is ridiculous. Especially considering the fact that he’s 69 years old! (Hehe- 69.)
When McCartney sang the politically-fueled tune “Sing the Changes,” and the huge screen behind him illuminated a giant picture of Obama, I couldn’t help but think of how disgustingly American the whole thing was: I was standing in Yankee Stadium watching a rock n’ roll icon perform a song about the president. There were several heart-wrenching moments like that throughout the show (“heart-wrenching” aka I was openly weeping), but the real clencher came during the encore when he brought out BILLY FREAKIN’ JOEL and they played “I Saw Her Standing There.” *Takes out Bucket List* Check!
For more pictures and videos from Angela’s musical excursions, check out our Facebook page where we are constantly live-blogging festivals and concerts.