It was an exceptional year for live music. I am lucky enough to live in a city where music is a part of the lifeline, like matzoh ball soup and a good reuben, as much as we love to hate our mayor, and collective groans when the MTA hikes their fares. Here is to 2010. May we all have a healthy, prosperous and musically exceptional new year!
5. Roger Waters, The Wall, MSG October 2010
Runners Up (I couldn’t fit them all in the Top 10):
- Deep Banana Blackout, Late Night, Gathering of the Vibes 2010
- Phish, New Years Eve 2010, MSG
- Les Claypool, Vibes 2010
- New Mastersounds, Mountain Jam, June 2010
- Furthur, Radio City Music Hall, February 2010
- Xmas Jam: Warren Hayne’s Band and John Bell Acoustic, December 2010
I woke up to the most glorious, beautiful day. The sun was shining, the sky was that perfect not-a-cloud-in-the-sky blue, the lush green off the mountains were vibrating. I was ready to shake on the mountain, and I was able to find iced-coffee to boot. Fabulous! I was in for 8 sets of music today. That ice coffee would help.
Weather: Beautiful. Sunny, warm, a bit sweaty. I kept saying all day, “I can’t believe the weather is so gorgeous.” Last year’s Mountain Jam was cold. I was in flip flops the last night, it was 37 degrees cold. This Saturday it was bikini weather.
The day started off with a bit of London Souls. These guys are incredible. They have a shredding, Led Zeppelin sorta, old school rock n’ roll thing going for them. They rocked out, and dancing has commenced. Again, if they’re in your area, be sure to catch them.
Drive By Truckers: They were a nice warm up to Yonder Mtn. String Band. I’ve never seen them before, and that was my first impression, with their rockin’ guitar riffs. They were solid. I was wandering through the vendor area while they were on stage,
Lettuce is probably my first personal highlight of the day. Because of the schedule change with Dr. Dog, we were blessed with 2 sets of Lettuce on Sat. Lettuce’s core members are Eric Krasno, guitar, Neal Evans, keys; Adam Deitch, drums; Jesus Coomes, bass and The Shady Horns, Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis.
Kofi Burbridge comes on and plays pretty much for the full set on his flute. Eric shreds his guitar, Adam Deitch going all Animal on the drums, and Jesus Coomes on the bass, yeah… these guys are really tight. Then there is Neal Evans. I don’t know what to say about this guy except he is amazing, I always become absolutely blown away. I remember thinking, “oh yeah…I know that nasty key playing sound. Oh yeah, silly me, how could I have forgotten.” Then, one by one, in this short 1 hour set, on the small stage on Hunter Mountain… well, it got kinda craaazy. Nigel Hall walks in and starts wailing soulfully into the microphone, like only Nigel does. Oteil Burbridge comes on stage with that beautiful bass of his. Derek Trucks comes on to shred a bit with Eric. Susan Tedeschi comes on stage to sing along with Nigel. By the end of it there were about a dozen people on the stage, raging out, people on the mountain were bouncin their heads to the same beat at the same time, we all got all sorts of funked up, and it got hot and steamy. The heat had nothing to do with the sunshine. The heat was radiating from the stage. Oh my my my.
To slow down the pace a half a beat (or more), Yonder Mountain String Band, joins the main stage for some bouncy bluegrass string ‘ole time plucking. I do love the Yonder, and if you like bluegrass at all, I’m sure you’ll like them too.
Dave Mason: No recollection at all. Unknown.
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band: So excited to hear these guys. Between Derek’s shredding of the guitar and Susan’s incredible voice, the Brothers Burbridge and Brothers Trucks on the stage… yeah. No words. The talent in this band is palpable, it kind of oozes off the stage into the crowd. They have so much fun playing together you can feel it and the crowd’s energy bounces off the band. A wonderful cycle.
The band: Derek Trucks – Guitar, Susan Tedeschi – Guitar & Vocals, Oteil Burbridge – Bass Guitar, Kofi Burbridge – Keys & Flute, Tyler Greenwell – Drums, Duane Trucks- Drums & Percussion, Mike Mattison – Backing Vocals, Nigel Hall – Backing Vocals
Highlights: Love Has Something Else to Say (Susan belts it) into Midnight in Harlem (my newest favorite song, getting good rotation in my iPod lately…gosh I love that song) into Susan screamin her way through Love Was All in My Mind. I’ve never heard this song before, but the jist of it was this woman loved this guy, stood by all his crap then she finds him hangin w/ another chick. Susan belts this song like Etta James and Aretha put together. Incredible power. Mike Mattison and Nigel Hall on background vocals turn this into a hard core blues explosion. I laughed, I danced, I stood and just watched her. I need the lyrics to this song. Loved it. Good lord almighty. Check the video below.
During Nobody’s Free, Derek literally destroys his guitar. 3 strings, gone. He keeps playing though, odd sounds bouncing around, the band keeps up with him… kinda. Finally Derek just goes off and hits those strings in “Trucks’ Time” and phewwww. Susan says, “I don’t know how he did that with 3 strings, or something…. destroy that guitar, honey.” She’s a great front woman for this band. Look Around was another highlight, Derek shredding, Susan wailing, Oteil getting really low with his bass, a great blues song. These guys are a great blues band, but then they go funky with Serve it Up. Insane keyboard playing by Kofi Burbridge, jammin out with the great beats from the drummers and his brother Oteil, then Derek goes off, whooo boy. Hot stuff.
At one point in I’d Rather be Blind, Crippled and Crazy, I believe the mountain went silent. I’ve been at DTB shows where the audience literally goes silent before, and it happened during this song. I love that stuff. Warren joins the stage and sings with Susan on Comin’ Home, the whole stage, the whole mountain… bounces. Into Drums. Yeah, Derek’s little brother Duane can play is an understatement. Tyler Greenwell is a force to be reckoned with as well They end the 90 minute set with Joe Cocker’s Space Captain. And I floated away…
Set Break: I had lost my posse during Derek and Susan, and I was on a mission afterwards to make sure I had a beer for Mule. As I settled into our homebase near the Karma Wash I see one of my buddies from Boston just standing there. Alone. I ended up hanging with him the rest of the set and enjoyed every moment of it. I also found my long lost cousin whom I only happen to see at shows. Fellow music lovers unite!
Mule: Did I gush about Mule in Day 1 enough? No. No, I did not. 3 hours of Mule. Mostly crazy cover set with incredible special guests sitting in. Derek Trucks, Eric Krazno, Matisyahu, Kofi Burbridge, Sam Kininger, Ryan Zoidis, Jackie Greene. Uh huh.
Woodstock, played near Woodstock. Yep, it felt right. Broke down on the Brazos ROCKED. That song gets better and better every time I hear it. Sad & Deep as You with Kofi. This rendition was not quite as drippingly sad as it was at Wanee, and yet was so
beautiful. Kofi’s flute makes it all that more tender, he makes the flute flutter… damn. Flute + Mule = Sweetness. Kind of Bird with Derek. They shredded guitars in pure Allman Brothers style. Fast, loud, yes please. Blind Man in the Dark, I love this song because of its slow rolling nature to crazy riff endings. The Mule was on fire.
The Joker what? really? Yeah, Steve Miller with a reggae beat. Warren began the sway, singing as he told us that we were going back to Jamaica. Matisyahu comes out and taunts the crowd with this one, schooling us for what was to come with his Day 3 set. I laughed my butt off as I shook my hips and tried to bounce on the mountain. 10 something pm on a sloped hill, 2 days into a festival, yes, this takes skill by this point. Zeppelin’s D’yer Maker – no need for words, just amazing. Rockin’ in the Free World, Neil Young cover. If you know anything about me, you know my love of Neil so, you could imagine my happiness. Hendrix’s Machine Gun rocked me away, total instrumental guitar insanity riffs holy hell.
These guys were relaxed, enjoying themselves, and the Mountain once again was bouncing and swaying then we went back to Rockin’. Um, wow, a 15 minute Rockin with Machine Gun thrown in there. Amazing. Warren says “ohhh, it’s about to go down.” And Eric Krasno comes out with the Lettuce Horns for the Stones’ The Spider and the Fly. Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis show us how they throw down those saxophones while Krasno decides to shred his guitar up there with Warren. “my, my, my, don’t ya tell lies…” yeahhhh…. beautiful.
Things get fuzzy by this point – Jackie Greene comes up and plays 2 songs and then for encore Mule throws out Pearl Jam’s Black. The posse had come back to the Karma Wash by this point and we all raged to the Pearl Mule Jam that was going down. Aerosmith’s Train Kept A Rollin’ kept us rollin’ on. Yeah. MULE. See ya next year, on the mountain.
Lettuce/DSO (late night set) I have to admit, Mule blew my face off my head so I have no set list. I have nothing except the Lettuce was crisp, and by the end of late night, about 2 hours later, the Lettuce was Shredded. God these guys were so damn hot, the place was packed, I was dancing, laughing, my buddies were all around me, the posse went up right to the front and I stayed back. I needed my space to groove. And then I went into music schizophrenia mode because I really wanted to see a bit of Dark Star Orchestra.
I ran up the mountain to hear Goin Down The Road Feelin Bad. Then I ran back for Lettuce, looked for my friends-couldn’t find them, closed my eyes and shook my ass to the rage that was Lettuce. Gosh, it was going DOWN in the Colonel’s Hall. I must have ran back up the hill to catch DSO again, because the notes say I was there for The Eleven>Shakedown Street>Tangled Up In Blue. I guess I couldn’t leave DSO while they were playing Dylan.
Evening into Morning: As I said, it gets very fuzzy around this time. I do know I ended back down at the Hall because I ended up with the posse, walking back to the campsite, and then hanging out in one of the VIP tents on the mountain until the sun came up. It was nice in that VIP tent, they had couches to relax on. And we were hanging with the Karma Wash Crew. It is nice to make sure your Karma is clean, and it is nice to have people to clean it for you. As the Tiny Rager and I walked back to the house it started to rain. Which was fine. We had beds, which were waiting for us all warm and dry. I slept like a baby for about 5 hours.
Ed note: I am grateful that Ross McKillop let me use his pictures, instead of my grainy whacked out photos. He reminded me to shout out to two great photographers who have incredible photos and prints, and capture the most amazing musical moments: Dino Perrucci and Allison Murphy. Check ’em out, check their work, and pay respects. Thanks Ross!
Pre-festie: Going to a festival without a car is like going fishing without a fishing pole. It’s weird, a bit offputting and I had a lot of bags to schlep. After a subway trip out to the last stop in the Bronx, my girl and I were picked up by our buddies and we were off. Goin’ to the Country was playing in my head, very apropos since Hunter Mountain is very close to Woodstock, NY, and I always associate Country Joe with Woodstock. I spent time up in “Upstate NY” as a child – so, this was like going home, very familiar terrority…with the tribe. Wow, I love Mountain Jam.
Showtime: Dr. Dog canceled at the last moment so there was a shifting in schedule. Toots and the Maytals were playing Friday, and a second set of Lettuce was to follow on Saturday. Not so bad, except I missed Toots. And Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. A real bummer. However, after all was said and done, I made it to The Avett Brothers, Gov’t Mule and Les Claypool/The New Mastersounds madness.
Mule: Oh I love me some Mule. Love Warren, his talent, the shredding, the band, Jorgen Carlsson on bass makes Mule even that hotter. With Matt Abts on drums and Danny Louis on keys…. well, the whole band just rocks. I realized that the reasons that people may not like Gov’t Mule (“It’s very heavy.” “too hard”) are exactly the reasons I love Gov’t Mule. To me, you can never be too heavy, too hard – fast guitars, wailing keys, a heavy beat bringing the noise tumbling down through your body and your brains? Yeah. That’s Mule, and that’s why I love them. Outfrikkinrageous.
First Set: Raging. Dead on raging. I stomped my feet on the mountain, I shook my head side to side, eyes closed, shook my behind so hard and kept my balance on the slope of the mountain. Yes. I felt it in my bones. We had arrived. Mule was on stage. The weather was gorgeous. Bliss. They ended first set with Thorazine Shuffle. Whooo damn, it was just first set! My friends laughed at me and said, “yeah, that’s right girl, this is all you – Mulehead.” Yeah, well… some things are true.
Second Set: They started with Pink Floyd, the same two songs they played at Wanee (One of these days and Fearless). Wanee memories crossed into Mountain Jam reality and I laughed out loud. They broke out some Hendrix w/ The Wind Cries Mary (loving it!) and then Les Claypool joins in on the fun and the banter between Les and Warren go a bit like this: “We’ve been practicing this song for a while… “so don’t F it up Warren.”
As if Warren would do such a thing!! Next up, Abts goes crazy during the drum solo and brings out timpani sticks and just beats the drums like there’s no tomorrow. We slide into Wishing Well into Raven Black Night, and I heard a flute up there. I look up and it is Kofi Burbridge blowin’ on that flute, it sounds like dancing. Twirling dancers. Then we fly into a Fleetwood Mac tune Gold Dust Woman with Grace Potter wailing like only Amazing Grace can. Phew boy, Night 1 has begun!
Set 1: Intro, Stay With Me, New World Blues, World Gone Wild, Time To Confess, The Shape I’m In, Monkey Hill >, Monday Mourning Meltdown, Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Thorazine Shuffle
Set 2: One Of These Days >, Fearless, The Wind Cries Mary, Greasy Granny’s Gopher Gravy (Part 1 & 2) > (w/ Les Claypool), Drums, Wishing Well, Raven Black Night > (w/ Kofi Burbridge), Gold Dust Woman (w/ Grace Potter) Encores: Inside Outside Woman Blues, Any Open Window >, Steppin’ Lightly
Late Night Show: The New Mastersounds. Stop right here. Go to this page and find a show near you. They are a London based band, heavy funk, heavy soul oh good lord. Kofi Burbridge showed up again and played a couple of songs, the room rocked. You could feel it. These guys rocked me. Rocked my friends. Rocked the house. They could be my new favorite band. Go see Live Music!!
I experienced the first of my schizophrenic music behavior on Day 1 – running between the Colonel’s Hall with Mastersounds, and running up the mountain for Les Claypool. I had left a very very steamy set going on in the Hall and knew I was going to see Les at Brooklyn Bowl on Tuesday when I get back, but still wanted to get some Les in. I was trying to figure out what to do, so I finally just stopped and stood on the mountain for a second. I took it in, felt the Mountain energy, looked up at the stage and listened to the deep bass plucking from Mr. Claypool. Ahhh. Then I bolted down back to The Mastersounds. I heard I wasn’t the only one with schizophrenic music behavior that evening.
Stay tuned for Mountain Jam- Day 2.
Lost Vortex #3: You knew it was coming, right? Things happen in threes. Sunglasses. Gone. Sheesh.
Back to camp, hangin’ with the camp family with coffee in hand, we hear flute sounds coming from the Peach Stage. 10:30 am, it was time to boogie. I went down to see the goings on with my girl. Her brother was playing with the Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio this morning, and we wanted to get up there and see the music. The Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio was lovely morning music, nice and jazzy with shredding rock, a flute here and there, keys, killer. Yep, just beautiful. After the show, we were told that Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings were stranded in Iceland because of the volcanic ash, so they were gonna re-jigger the schedule around and there would be a jam session before Johnny Winter. I laughed out loud, I love Wanee impromptu jams, they are so sweet… heh, we are in for a treat later today.
Spirit of the Suwanee Magical Moment: I asked my friend to call my phone, one last time, maybe someone will pick up? She looked at me crazy but appeased me. The next thing I know she’s saying “Hello? Hello?” The person on the other side says, “Wow, I just turned the phone on this second and it rang.” Yes, that is what I’m saying…magical. He found it in another campsite, in the dirt, two days ago. Wow.
Went back to the campsite, chilled with my camp family and waited for Dr. John. The Peach Stage and the Mushroom Stage’s schedules had slipped because Sharon Jones couldn’t make it, and my timing was getting off. The dilemma: Dr. John vs. Robert Randolph vs. Dumpstaphunk. I decided to go see a bit of Dr. John, then go see Dumpsta, then go see Robert Randolph and the Word. I was feeling a bit schizophrenic, to be honest. I had total “I’m gonna miss a really great set” anxiety going on. I had camera, notebook and earplugs. I left the camp and started on my journey.
A Family Affair with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk is on stage. Wow. Good lord they threw down. A Sly set, holy schmoley. It was a breezy hot afternoon, people were raging out, the sax and the trumpet were loud and strong. Ivan’s keys were screaming, bass low and groovy. Whooo, out of control funky, and now I can hear The Word with John Medeski, Robert Randolph and the North Mississippi Allstars from the other stage. So, I decide to run over to the Peach Stage after Everyday People to see Robert and the Word, but still can hear Dumpsta and want to get back there to that crazy rage. See, schizophrenic.
I did run back to the Dumpsta craziness. Danced hard, my legs now were beginning to ache, serious ache in my calves, but it didn’t matter, I can’t stand still. Legs and hips had a mind of their own, cuz this was going DOWN. One of my personal highlights of the festival. Phewwwwww.
I went back to my camp for hydration purposes, and could still hear The Word featuring John Medeski, Robert Randolph and North Mississippi Allstars playing from the other stage. They sounded so sweet, Funk + Southern Rock… Rage. Yes, it was raging.
So now, the next dilemma I had was The Black Keys vs. The Funky Meters. Yes, it was getting insane. So, I decide to get to the hammock and listen to the Funky Groove of the Funky Meters before the Wanee Family Funk Jam that was going on. And, wow, did it go on.
Wanee Family Funk Jam: If I thought Dumpsta and the Funky Meters brought it in….I was wrong. I mean, Dumpsta was way insane, way amazing, way fun, but this Funk Jam stuff. Hot. Way hot. Way deep. Damnnnn. Let’s see – Dumpstaphunk and The Funky Meters, Cody and Luther Dickinson, Oteil and Kofi Burbridge, JoJo Herman, Bobby Lee Rodgers, Matt Grondin. Yep, that’s what I’m talking about.
Day 2 starts with a little 7 Walkers w/ Bill Kreutzmann and Papa Mali. It was sweet, but have to admit, it wasn’t the highlight.
No, that would come after with Oteil and Kofi Burbridge w/ The Lee Boys. Um, that was some incredible funky stuff going down on the Mushroom Stage. Way high energy, like stamp your feet in the sand, shake your head, oooh boy this was good stuff coming off the stage. They played an hour and it was incredible. I’ve never seen the Lee Boys, from South Florida, and good lord! they were steaming in that little forest called the Mushroom Stage. Oteil kept that bass grooving fast and low, Kofi’s keys screaming through the shredding guitars, -screaming pedal steel guitar played by Roosevelt and the pounding drums… Oteil scats, oh yeah. Fast, funky, fun.
Hear the craziness on Archive
Spirit of Suwanee Magical Moment: Run into another friend in the immense crowd of people shaking and dancing, and she led me, holding my hand to connect with another friend. Yes, I felt the Spirit.
Then no break for the weary as I heard Stephen Stills in the background as I wandered the venue with a buddy on a shopping trip. We bought sunglasses and these hemp rope sandals as Stephen played from the Peach Stage. Things now get a little crazy, with all the things to do, people to see. I was running back and forth from each stage. My friend went one way, I went another, and some how, miraculously, we kept bumping into each other in a crowd of 23,000 16,000. Seriously, how does that happen?? Spirit of the Suwanee Moments all around me.
So, to cool down from that bit of crazy, I went for a walk and heard North Mississippi Allstars while wondering around. They rocked, it was a bluesy kind of southern rock thing, but raged. Hard rock, shredding guitars, the sun was beaming down. So beautiful, danced so hard. Smile beginning to hurt my face. Listen here at Archive
JJ Grey and Mofro. 2 horns and they jam some funky stuff. My notes say: Raging guitar, voice like the Black Crowes, Raging, Shaking head, dancing, shaking ass, dancing. Um. Well… hah. That says it all, doesn’t it? Again, another band to put on the list to see again and again. Listen here at Archive.
Hot Tuna no recollection at all. Unknown.
Widespread Panic. At this point my friend and I split and I went to the Peach Stage to see Widespread. Damn, there was a lot of people there and I started to flit around the field. I was trying to scope out a place to dance, as well as find my Orlando camp family, but to no avail. But WSP raged! Continue reading