Day two (Saturday, Aug. 13) of Outside Lands Music Festival had me starting late in the afternoon as the public transportation is awesome in San Francisco but because of that reason it is overcrowded and several full buses will pass you before one has room for more passengers. Crazy. I caught the tale end of the Artic Monkeys from the high vantage point of the press area. From here I could see the crowd of 30,000 or more as far back as I could see. This day was sold-out with about 60,000 people in attendance. It was packed! The audience seemed more than happy to stand anywhere as long as they could hear the sexy Brit rockers.
After their set I turned my attention to a brief casual press conference in the media tent with Damien Kulash of OK GO, Chris Funk of The Decemberists and a few local wine and food festival vendors. All these guys were nice, yes all guys no women representin’ here, and they mostly talked about food — as in what they ate on tour before shows and how it affects their performance. It felt a little odd but overall a very freakin’ cool experience and I am appreciative. After the press conference I didn’t move an inch as the next band I wanted to see The Black Keys, (a Grimy Goods favorite) were about to play on the stage I was already sitting at. The duo killed it! Very impressive for two people to entertain a mass of thousands, and they pulled it off with an aggressive loud set. Both front-man Dan Auerbach and drummer Pat Carney were drenched in sweat and rocked the shit out of that field.
After this set I had a quick 30 minutes so I went to sample some of the drink and eats the festival had to offer. The festival did a remarkable job in this department. Not only did they do everything in such an eco-friendly way like all compostable containers and cups, bring your own refillable water thermos and recycling and trash centers everywhere — they also provided us with food and drink from San Fran’s finest eateries. Nice touch. As the temperature began to drop I hit the coffee tent where they remembered my order from the day before (haha … so nice). With coffee in hand I prepared for the closing act, Muse. I expected this set to be epic and my expectations were met. Under a full moon the band came out strong and hard. They just jumped right into hit-after-hit. I know we’ve all experienced having to wait through (what use to be called B-sides) in order to hear the hits, but that was not the case. They opened with “Uprising,” followed by “Super Massive Black Hole,” followed by a jam on “The National Anthem” into “Hysteria,” followed by “Map of the Problematique,” and it just went on-and-on. It made me feel tired to watch all that energy up there. I mean don’t these guys get tired of putting on a near perfect show? The rumor overheard in the press area, “kids had been camped at the main stage all day just to see this band.” Fan dedication and the thousands of people holding up a sea of cell phone lights gave me the chills. I saw a few fire lit paper lanterns released by audience members into the night sky which, although beautiful, did not seem smart in the middle of a forest. Now I am aware of all the Muse haters out there especially in the hipster element of roll your eyes and laugh at other people’s preference in music and to you I say: fuck you. Let people enjoy what they enjoy with out your judgment. An epic show is an epic show. You don’t have to be a fan to know one when you experience one.
Festival Experience by Roxanne Hilburn
Photography by Dominoe Farris- Gilbert
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