Before I forget to post - here is the Outside Lands 2012 skeleton
Thursday Night Zero
For the first time, we tried out a night show - VERY smart move. We saw PAPA and Of Monster and Men at California Academy of Science. Before they announced the OL schedule, I was worried about missing OMAM. They fit in that category of bands I liked but would lose out to a band I love. Sure enough once the schedule was announced, I saw they were going to lose out to my need to be close for Foo Fighters. PAPA was fun and OMAM were incredible. We got ridiculously close to this tiny stage (especially when you are a band of seven!) I now understand the joy and love people feel towards this band. They have that Arcade Fire/Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros big band groovyness. Where you just dig darting your eyes around at all the musicmakers.
Friday Day One
A couple songs with White Denim, a couple songs with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. We settled in for a nice spot at one of our favorite stages, Panhandle, where we were treated to a glorious Tanlines set. From there we went to watch Reggie Watts do his thing for a bit. We watched the poppy fun for Jukebox the Ghost, but I peeled off to head to Sutro. My second full set was Aggressively Beautiful thanks to The Walkmen. Two of my favorite albums this year came from The Walkmen and Tanlines, so getting to hear both these groups right off the bat was lovely. We then went to watch Beck finish up his set, including the very important "two turntables and a microphone" call out for Where It's At. I decided to swim upstream with the exiting Beck crowd and landed a good view of Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters rock glory. Oh. So. Good. Dave Grohl and the band know exactly what they are doing on a giant stage in front of thousands. That pretty much wiped me out. We stuck with Neil Young for a bit, but decided getting home and sleep for Day Two was more important for an old fart like me.
Saturday Day Two
A couple of Honey Island Swamp Band tunes before a full set of Yellow Ostrich, who was silly, excited, talented and a nice way to get into the groove of the day. We then dug some Animal Kingdom from the back - more chilling than listening. I would like to check them out again. We headed to The Be Good Tanyas which Mary was excited about hearing. I did a couple of songs before heading to some Portugal. The Man rocking. While I enjoyed it, I left the set in the midst of Helter Skelter to get a strong place for Alabama Shakes. They rewarded me my early positioning. Brittany Howard is a force of nature. Sutro crowd was immense, even larger than Foster the People the previous year. I understand why they say you can't connect with this band until you see them live - whoa. We ended up sticking the stage to enjoy the Grandaddy reunion show and Norah Jones, who had the biggest guest of the show that I saw with Bob Weir playing the Dead's “It Must Have Been the Roses.” Norah was so cute - I don't think she is used to playing to such a young group. Once again, we decided to go home for some sleep.
Sunday Day Three
Jovanotti started us off brilliantly - by far the best opening set of a day in my four years of OL. He told us stories and got funky with us - built the tempo appropriately and closed out by coming to sing with us in the audience. Full of that energy, I carried it to getting close to fun. (Yes, the confusing syntax of writing about a band named fun. begins now.) fun. is exactly that. So much fun. First of all the lead singer is ridiculous gorgeous and has a voice that he can bring full delivery on a giant stage. Just like seeing Foster the People last year, I had to see fun. this year. I am glad I did. I go to enough shows throughout the year that I want to fill my festivals with shouting out pop music with thousands of others at every chance. Mary and I decided to take a food and wine break at that point. Fuel up for the close out, which for me was sticking the main stage: Regina Spektor, Jack White, Stevie Wonder. I was very happy that I had rested to prepare for this trifecta of vocal and keys beauty. I grew up a huge fan of the piano, so seeing these three going back-to-back-to-back was quite the treat. Regina has probably the best voice and voice control of the entire festival and she put it on full display. Jack White was bluesy, bizarre and beautiful. All the new stuff has such a great feel and I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I'd lie if I didn't smile the biggest when his guitar ripped out Seven Nation Army at the end. Damn, that man can play a guitar. We closed out with some classic Stevie Wonder - he was preachy, silly, a bit lost and ... well, fucking amazing. He is a legend and his music that night was legendary. I can smile a bit deeper knowing I've danced to Stevie Wonder live.
OK - just needed to get that out. Peace.