I worked my way over towards the AMD stage, but since I was about an hour early for the Wheel, I decided to catch the Givers. They are a rather
young pop act from Louisiana. It was well performed, but I didn't find them particularly engaging.
Asleep at the Wheel
If there's one constant at the ACL Festival it's Asleep at the Wheel opening on the first day. To date there have been 9 ACL Festivals, and the Wheel has played every one of them.
They filled the air with favorites like Route 66, Miles and Miles of Texas and Hot Rod Lincoln. They also played a generous helping of songs from their last 2 CDs, including one of my favorites, the Bob Wills tribute recording, Willie and the Wheel.
I was disappointed to discover that the Wheel will be celebrating a 40th Anniversary Show at the Long Center, with Willie on Nov 5th. Unfortunately, it conflicts with Fun Fun Fun Fest. Will have to see if I can swizzle my schedule accordingly.
One thing I like about these early shows is that the crowd is still sparse, and it's easy to move around. As a result, I was able to walk all of the way up front to the rail in front of the stage, and get some shots of Ray and the band.
I was unfamiliar with this artist, but penciled it in after listening to the samples on the ACL site. This was a very tight band, and particularly liked what I heard the keyboard player doing. Donavon himself was a very good songwriter, and the music fit the mood for the great weather that we were experiencing.
I caught 2 or 3 songs of this predominantly female band. They reminded me of the Ramones with a country twang.
Even though John Popper seems to have an endless supply of Blues Harps, I've never felt this band was particularly
Bluesy. They played their basic
Greatest Hits set. The highlight was local 15 year old fiddler, Ruby Jane, joining the band on stage to trade 4's and 8's with Popper.
Also of note, by mid-afternoon the closest I could manage to get to the stage was behind the sound booth. I had heard that this year, 10K additional tickets were sold. It was becoming apparent that is was a bit more crowded than normal. (As the weekend progressed, it got worse ;(
Kings Go Forth
This was a kick-ass 70's soul/funk band. I wish that I had gotten a reasonable picture of them.
Angus & Julie Stone
I was very pleasantly surprised by this act, and would rank them as one of the best of the festival. They are a brother and sister act from Sydney, Australia. Both are excellent vocalists, and Julia is multi-instrumentalist to boot.
Local favorites Spoon, had one of the early evening headlining slots on the big AMD stage. I'm not sure I can say I saw Spoon, although I heard them. Basically, it was too much of a hassle to get close to the stage. I recognized many of the songs from the ACL taping I attended in July. I also noticed that my friend, Wayne Meyers was playing in their horn section again, on the big video monitors.
The extra 10K people were readily apparent, as it was exceedingly difficult to get close to several of the stages. I have several of Sonic Youth's CD in my collection (purchased after hearing Steve Reich talk about them), but I must confess that I don't really
get them. Nothing about their performance at ACL changed anything for me.
I stayed for the first 40 minutes of Phish's set. Honestly, I'm not a
Jam Band fan, and didn't become one during this show. They did do one reasonable cover of the Talking Heads' song,