3:00 pm (more than an hour after the official start time of the festival): my precocious visions of girls and boys of all ages donned in tight clothing and long hair came to fruition – I walked through security and into the amphitheatre amidst a pretty homogenous crowd. With so little time to make some crucial decisions, I was really excited to be greeted with a band line-up on what resembled one of those backstage or press passes that you hang around your neck; it was time to strategize.
3:15 pm: Making ‘Waves’. I had been looking forward to Rogue Wave the most of all the bands because I believed their live performance would prove even more impressive than listening to the albums repeatedly for weeks prior… and I wasn’t let down. The music was light and effortless, made possible by a terrific set of harmonies that are simultaneously undeniably gentle and strong. Playing in the afternoon requires a certain air of coolness that Rogue Wave was able to deliver perfectly – with a bright blue sky above us and an evening full of great music ahead, it was a great beginning to a packed lineup.
4:15 pm: TV on the Radio sweeps. The hype around this band was loud and pervasive, and it should be noted that several of the other bands, one of which was Muse, actually acknowledged TVotR’s performance before playing their own. I never enjoy anything as much when it’s hyped up this way; with that said, suffice it to say that I was entertained. Not just entertained, but I found myself tapping my foot to the beat and smiling at the placement of chimes on one of the guitars. It’s always the little details that stick.
5:30 pm: Little ‘Shins’ surprises. I’ve always enjoyed The Shins’ music, but after seeing them play the same material a couple of times already, I was hesitant to stay at the main stage for another helping of the same. I’m happy I made the decision though, because they played new material. With promise of a new album arriving in January of 2007 (called Wincing the Night Away) and teasers interspersed with very familiar songs, The Shins delivered to an energized audience. The new songs seemed more expansive than the indie hits we’ve grown accustomed to, but they were more than welcomed by their loyal fans. The sun was setting and the headliners’ performances were dawning – we were ready.
7:00 pm: Muse rocks the house. The energy was undeniable as even the audience on the lawn rushed up to get a closer look at the band despite the fact that it still seemed miles from the stage. Muse announced themselves with a resounding presence in sheer volume – they were loud and vivacious, playing the faster, harder, and more popular songs like “Time Is Running Out” and “Starlight,” accompanied by light shows to engage the visual in accordance to the sonic experience. With the drummer stealing my attention entirely, I couldn’t help but sing along with the rest of the crowd.
8:30 pm: Fire-breathing ‘Yeahs’. When Muse’s hour-long set ended and after another short break, I was ready to be blown away by the creative trappings of the subsequent Yeah Yeah Yeahs performance. It would be the first time I’d see their show, and from what I’d heard about previous concerts, I was sure there was no way I could be disappointed. And at 8:30 there she was, Karen O wearing a sparkly green dragon costume and gyrating toward the camera for our viewing pleasure at outrageous angles. And while the music was just OK – the sound of her voice just wasn’t carrying – her theatrics pretty much stole the show. The best part was when she put on the shiny green hat to confirm that she was, in fact, a dragon and not a mermaid or a fairy or an elf. No, that wouldn’t have made any sense.
10:00 pm: Beck goes back. For as long as I can remember listening to Beck’s music, I always thought of him as more of a character or celebrity than a real person – much more than most other artists. So when the hour and the chords struck, images of puppets singing the songs sent me into hysterics. The choice of performing alongside a marionette show of the band performing the same songs was brilliant, as it not only called for increased appreciation but also added supplemental visual stimuli. The show was highly entertaining and the music was crisp and clear as ever, but a friend of mine mentioned being bothered by the shortening of the songs. In a few cases, entire verses were left out, which for my friend ruined the integrity of the music. I, however, was grateful simply for being able to see all these bands play together in one venue on one glorious Saturday; I was more than satisfied.