Yesterday we went to the Crossroads Guitar Festival which was held near Chicago.
What a long, wonderful day. Here's a local review and another and yet one more.
The gates opened at 9:00 A.M.; the first act went on at noon and the last song ended at 11:00 P.M. The breaks between artists were minimized by a turntable type stage. While the players were playing out front the roadies were roading out back. Next act...flip the switch...lets go. I would say we didn't wait more than 5 - 10 minutes for any of the changes. Here's a quick report card on the day...
Venue - B
I'd never been to a concert at this new soccer stadium before. It's new. The parking was good, the Bridgeview police handled the traffic in and out fairly well which is always a plus. Plenty of concession stands. However, someone badly miscalulated how much water and food would get consumed by all day rockers. They did eventually get some water in there but it was scarce for a while. True to form, the venue did not run out of $6 beers and I would bet there were 4 beers swilled down for every bottle of $4 water. I drank one beer because there was no water and got an immediate headache. I don't really drink at concerts as my beer intake here indicates.
The food was above average. They added some food stands in the guitar village. Among other vendors, a famous Chicago Rib Joint (Robinsons) was there and it was killer good. Food stands were eaten out of house and home at around 6:00 P.M. They once again recovered by bringing in some additional food a little later. Overall, a nice recovery.
I loved the seats we had. At the first Crossroads show in Dallas, the seats are bleachers...not good for the back. This was a modern plastic molded seat with a back! Deluxe.
The staff in the concessions, guest services and security all should be commended. Those concessionaires worked their butts off.
Sound - C
Overall very disappointing. I walked around the venue to check the sound at different locations and there was not a great improvement anywhere. Loud. Yes. Ear protection at times proved very comfortable. I woulda thought with this kind of lineup that the production techs might have done better. Outdoor venues are tough so maybe cutting them a little slack is in order.
Artists - A++ and a gold star
Wow. Virtuosos in all shapes, sizes, genders, races, ages, genres...wow. Bill Murray was really good as the emcee. Pretty good shtick.
Blew me away - Jeff Beck with his 16 year old daughter playing bass. No, not just playing the bass, shredding it like dear old dad does on his Strat. Beck's closing number was a take on the Beatles "A Day in the Life" and I wanted him to play it again immediately. I can't wait to get the DVD so I can see and hear that again.
Derek Trucks and his lovely wife Susan Tedeschi. Derek is virtuoso and Susan is right there. They need to start breeding virtuoso children now!
B.B. King is 81 years old. I have had the pleasure of enjoying BB a number of times. He did great for a guy his age and the crowd had a love fest with this legend. I ate it up knowing that B.B. is getting up there in age and we are lucky to have him at this point.
Albert Lee is just plain fast on those frets. Whoa! The whole "country" set with Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Allison Krauss and Union Stations Jerry Douglas was excellent. EC jumped in on the finale with "Tulsa Time".
Steve Winwood was a treat. I have seen EC many times and the tunes that they did together for the show were highlight material for me. I never knew Winwood could handle a guitar so well. His work on "Dear Mr. Fantasy" glued me to my seat (with the back!). EC was EC and that's always a treat.
Others of note...Robert Randolph...I've seen him do better. The sound sucked for his set. Johnny Winter looks frail. He rocked it though. Sonny Landreth...knows his way around the neck. John Mayer...the real deal...the kid can play.
If you like guitar players, playing or music at all...wait for the DVD and snap it up. If you haven't seen the original Crossroads DVD get that one as well. You won't be sorry. Put on your favorite band or concert t shirt, pretend you paid $4 for a bottle of water and have a good time.
The Great T Shirt Game
My wife, M, and I decided to make a list of all the "band" T shirts we saw throughout the day. Holy crap! Concert goers love dem T's. The list is below. Unbelievable amount of T's
|Dave Mathews Band|
|Guns N' Roses|
|Hound Dog Taylor|
|Jerry Garcia Band|
|John Lee Hooker|
|Little Charlie and Night Cats|
|Page & Plant|
|Stevie Ray Vaughan|
|Stone Temple Pilots|
|System of A Down|
|Trailer Park Boys|
|Z Z Top|
90 of them and there had to be more.