Usually, I write about baseball in this space. However, this time I?m going to write about my Friday night, where I was one of thousands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco for the Outside Lands Festival. After fighting East Bay traffic (because I left home hours after I?d planned) I arrived in time to see one of my idols Beck at the second stage. It was a very fun set with standards like ?Loser,? ?Devil?s Haircut? and ?Where it?s At? to close. In between, he played the title track from his most recent, Modern Guilt, which I like a lot. He also dropped a cover of Dylan?s ?Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat? which unlike most Dylan covers didn?t improve much on the original, at least live ? maybe on the album it?ll sound better. Beck?s label insisted he was hurt, which certainly meant less of his famous on-stage dancing.? As good as the set was, I could listen to Beck all day (and sometimes do on my ipod!). ?
Radiohead, in the midst of their summer North American Tour had the honors of playing the first (sanctioned) nighttime set in Golden Gate Park history. They were simply awesome in a diverse set. They played ?Reckoner,? the up-tempo ?Bodysnatchers,? and ?Jigsaw Falling into Place? from their newest, In Rainbows. They reached for the older and familiar, like ?Karma Police,? ?Exit Music for a Film,? ?Paranoid Android? from OK Computer. Karma Police, played with tender care, was very touching. They played the obscure ?Talk Show Host? off the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. Luckily, I was with friends, among Radiohead?s biggest disciples (who have been to a dozen shows), who explained where that one came from. The band dipped back to Kid A with ?Idioteque? and ?The National Anthem? (a personal favorite) and the perfect closing song ?Everything in its Right Place.? I wondered how radiohead?s music would fit the outdoors atmosphere in the park. Then the SF fog rolled in, reflecting the stunning light show back helping create the perfect feel for the band?s off beat anthems and noises. Great show.
A few bummers: the sound went down twice during radiohead?s set; the Black Keys, who was psyched to see, played at the same time as Beck, so I chose my longtime man crush over the newer band and in doing so missed the Keys; 50,000 concert goers leaving the park at once was a slow, painful process.
I?m fired up for Sunday?s lineup too. What Sunday doesn?t have in the sheer star power of Beck and radiohead, it makes up for with unbelievable depth. I?m hoping to catch all of the following acts beginning at 1PM: The Mighty Underdogs with Gift of Gab and Lateef (brilliant underground Bay Area hip hop), Toots and the Maytals (classic reggae), Drive-By Truckers (Southern Rock), Broken Social Scene (thoughtful Canadian collective), Wilco (alt-country/rock) and finish up with Jack Johnson if I?m still standing.