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Monday, August 25, 2008

Outside Lands Day 3: Andrew Bird is Good, Jack Johnson is Charming, and Wilco Still Plays Too Long

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 8:00 AM

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Words and photos by Tyler Callister

You ever wonder what goes on in Golden Gate Park at night?

I like to imagine that somewhere deep within the darkness of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco hobos have little Outside Lands Festivals of their own. I imagine they light up campfires and have all-night hoedowns under the trees. I imagine they bang on banjos and old trash cans, and the roar of yodels and yips and laughs shoot up into the air like gun shots. They wear puffy down jackets and thick, dirty slacks. They clap their hands and kick up the dust of San Francisco ghosts, and the whole thing smells of smoke and fire and whiskey.

Whatever it is, something magical happens in that park at night, and this past weekend, for the first time in recent history, the outside world got to be a part of it.

The Outside Lands Festival marks the first time a large concert has been held in Golden Gate Park after sundown. Some 60,000+ fans showed up each night this past weekend and indulged in music, booze and magic.

Maybe it was no hobo hoedown, but I think it had the same spirit. Anyway, here's the final chapter of Outside Lands Fest 2008:

Andrew Bird

Mr. Bird turned out to be one of the weekend highlights, using a loop pedal to sample his violin parts and create what sounded like an entire string section. Couple that with a glockenspiel and his bird-like whistling, and you've gotta a pretty uncommon performance.

Jack Johnson

Perennial beach dude Jack Johnson was the closing act of the three-day-long festival. I'm not a huge Jack Johnson fan, and I wouldn't be caught dead wearing board shorts and flip flops, but I gotta admit, he was pretty charming.

Jack played most of his set with a full band which at its worst, sounded like a cheesy studio session band. But the best part was his encore which featured just him and his guitar, plus a duet with Rogue Wave singer Zach Rogue. Jack threw the last bit of sandman sand into our eyes with his romantic solo "Better Together." "Our dreams, and they are made out of real things / like a shoebox of photographs / with sepia-toned loving," he sang.

There really is something sepia-toned about Jack Johnson's music, isn't there? I think it's the kind of music you could snuggle too. And actually, I noticed a lot of couples around me snuggling.

Random Zeitgeisty Thoughts:

- The event was environmentally conscious, with highlights including a solar powered cell phone charger.

- There was a huge tent in which you could play Guitar Hero (why?), get your picture put on an Outside Lands Festival poster (kinda cool), or join in this thing called Crowd Fire which let you upload photos into a collective swirling database of Outside Lands photos (whoa, what?).

- By mid afternoon, the inside of the tents kinda smelled like dirty socks. They should work on that.

- There was a Virgin Megastore tent selling CD's. Wait, what's a CD?

- Finally, props to the main guys behind it, Another Planet Entertainment, for writing a new chapter in the history of San Francisco music.

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Spilled mustard.

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Kinda healthy.

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Ty Callister


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