So back in August or so Triniti won two 3-day passes to ACL Fest at a benefit ETB played for the Without Regrets foundation at Threadgill's World HQ. So as the festival neared we both downloaded the ACL iPhone app and checked the schedule.
And unfortunately, neither of us had ever heard of about 90% of the acts... But hey, Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers)! The Black Keys! Neil Young! That should worth the price of admission right there.
Neither of us had ever been to ACL fest. Mainly cause could not afford too. And as I get older bigger and bigger crowds are starting to get to me. Just going to HEB on crowded day is enough to make me want to just leave the cart mid-aisle and just get the fuck out of there. People all standing in one spot and looking in the same direction = cool. People all moving around in different directions and at different speeds and bumping into each other = anxiety. So we took that into consideration, and with a short list of acts we actually wanted to see cemented our decision to not spend a whole lot of time there.
Both days began and ended with much walking and finally cab fare. We live too close to drive and park, but just far enough away to not want to walk the entire distance. So by the time we got to Zilker Park on Friday evening we arrived just in time to catch 2nd half of Patterson Hood's set.
Good shit. Roots-rocky, not as heavy and dark as much of the DBT catalog.
Trying to meet up with Tim Abbott and his wife Tracey proved to be a challenge. Tim's directions to his location seemed less archaic every time we read them, and I had to recheck the texts several times. Crowd was huge, and many were carrying flags or banners so others in their group could see them from a distance. Genius. Made me think of old school Roman battles of something. Insane amount of people. But we wandered around and still no Tim.
Passing the HUGE pecan tree (again) to the right of the main stage, we laughed hysterically at one particular banner: the biggest pair of tighty whiteys either of us had ever seen. This set of drawers could have been rigged to a ship mast and used as a sail. Enormous! Turns out, Tim was sitting under it and hadn't realized it, hence him not mentioning to LOOK FOR THE UNDERWEAR. Under where? Exactly! So we caught up then got into position to catch the Black Keys.
Which we had never seen before, and I was mostly unfamiliar with their music tho have been hearing about them for years. They were good, I dug them, but not enough to go purchase their entire catalog. Maybe I was just tired and done with the crowd at this point and broke from paying $7 per tall boy. We left before the end of their set. Sorry guys...
Saturday it rained almost all day, causing is to stay in and wait out the weather and miss some earlier acts we might have wanted to see. But we WERE going to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse come Hell or high water. And that is exactly what happened. We saw Neil Young, I mean.
The rain stopped and the sky cleared as we left the house to walk until we caught a cab. Got to Zilker Park in time to navigate through the festival-grounds-turned-huge-mudpit-from-the-all-day-rain and the crowd and get a good spot for NY. Thank Crom for Doc Martens. Many were wallowing through the sleep in flip-flops or even bare feet. Blech!
Attempted to get as close as we could, got claustrophobic after 30 seconds and headed back to the outskirts. Yeah, there was the occasional obstruction of the camera crane, but fuck it. We could BREATHE.
Which we did a lot of during his set, or not. It was hard to tell. All I know is that is one of the most moving musical performances I have seen in a long time. I mean, just, wow. Neil's guitar tone was gorgeous, Crazy Horse fucking brought it, everything sounded better than the albums.
Waiting for Neil Young and Crazy Horse to begin
The Man Himself
I hope that I will rock that hard when I am their age. Holy shit, they looked like a buncha old fuckers getting their High School rock band back together, but I shit you not, the passion they brought schooled the Black Keys and kicked their whippersnapper asses right off the stage. SCHOOLED. And so was I. As a professional musician, I was absolutely blown away. "The Needle and the Damage Done" had me moved to tears 3 chords in. "Cinnamon Girl" was heavy as fuck and gave me chills. It would have taken plastic surgery to get the smile off my face the duration of their set. Neil Young will live forever. It is up to YOU if you see him before you die. And we stayed for the whole set.
iPhone video by Yours Truly
Next day we could have gotten there early to catch Gary Clarke Jr and support one of the few indigenous talents to actually play the festival which bears the city's name. But after walking 5+ miles and spending as much on cab fare as we did on over-priced beer, we took the day off. Yeah we missed The Stooges. Yeah we missed the Chili Peppers. I regret missing the Stooges more, as the Chili Peppers haven't released anything that has moved me since Blood Sugar Sex Magic. Fuck it, a much-needed day off. And it was great.
So Austin City Limits Fest recap:
Acts seen: 3
$7 beers consumed: 6 total
Total number of credit/debit cards we found on the ground: 3
First night we found a Platinum Visa Credit Card on the way out. So we called the number on the back and cancelled it for the owner. Yes, good people do exist in this world still. Second day on the way in 2 young shitfaced drunk girls walked by, one of them leaving a trail of debit cards and dollar bills from her open wallet like a trail of bread crumbs. I gathered her wallet contents while Triniti flagged them down and then tried to explain to their near-incoherent selves what was happening:
"Lady, your wallet was open and all your shit is falling out."
"No, I got my wallet right here." (brandishes wallet and spills more contents)
"No lady, your shit is falling out, credit cards, money."
"No, I got my money right here in my wallet." (brandishes wallet and spills even more contents)
It finally took Triniti holding each individual content in front of the drunk chicks face, then placing said item one by one into said wallet, then struggling to close said wallet for said drunk chick before said drunk chick may have finally noticed what was going on. Or not.