The winner of our New American Music Festival giveaway, Kevin R., was kind enough to send us a trip and concert report, and even a few pix of Mr. D., who closed out the show on August 9th. Thanks, Kevin!
Kevin here, the winner of Dreamtime's NAMU Festival tickets giveaway.
Have to say we had a spectacular weekend in Pittsburgh. The weather was gorgeous and comfortable (a rarity for August), and the Festival itself was pretty well put together. This festival was put together by American Eagle, and as they were the main sponsor, your tickets for the show also came with a supplementary ticket redeemable for a Festival t-shirt and water bottle. On the grounds of the main concert area, near the gates, there were water coolers that you could fill up your bottle at throughout the event. This sort of foresight -- aiding the concertgoer instead of gouging them for necessities -- was much appreciated by this concertgoer, and it's a practice that should be considered by any major music festival.
This was a 2-day concert with two stages chockful of bands ranging from groups we hadn't heard of (French Horn Rebellion, The Depreciation Guild) to bigger acts like Gnarls Barkley, Spoon, The Raconteurs, and Bob Dylan and His Band. The concert site was Pittsburgh's South Side Works, which happens to be where American Eagle's headquarters are located.
Late in the program on Saturday, August 9th, festival curator Anthony Kiedis spoke briefly to the crowd about getting to pick what he referred to as his dream lineup. This seemed like it was going to be a big deal in Pittsburgh - such a wide range of acts under one banner hadn't been seen here since the touring days of Lollapalooza. As an ex-Burgher myself, I was a bit dubious about this festival's ability to carry it off at said location, which really isn't a concert venue but more a public square type of place. That being said, I was wholly impressed at the Festival's organization and facilities, and would definitely attend a future version of this event.
Mr. D arrived onstage after 9pm on Saturday night, the Festival's second day, to close it all down. We knew he had to be done around 11pm, as it seemed there were curfews negotiated with the South Side's residents and businesses.
The band came, and they came to play - most of the crowd were ecstatic as they recognized the opening number, "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35". Bob stood at his keyboard the whole set, and the band were tight as always. Having seen a few dates of the Never-Ending Tour in the last decade, it once again was tremendous fun playing "name that tune" with our friends as each number started up in an unfamiliar fashion. Personal highlight for me was "Summer Days," as it was a glorious one that night, and it happened to be my birthday to boot. While this wasn't a full-length set, the band did leave the stage after closing with "Ballad of a Thin Man." The time had ticked slightly past 11 at this point, and the stage lights went down.
Stage lighting came back up as the band reassembled. Then that CRACK of the snare that the world recognizes as the start of "Like A Rolling Stone" burst forth as Bob's giant logo banner fluttered down from the rafters. The audience members hoping against hope for an encore got one of the best songs of the night. All told, the band was hot and Mr. D's voice was a little bit croaky this evening... but the entire experience made for a fantastic night.
Thanks very much to Dreamtime and the New American Music Union for making this weekend possible. For more info and Festival highlights, check out the videos at the NAMU site: