Riverfest recap: Introducing the masses | Rock Candy

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Riverfest recap: Introducing the masses

Posted By on Sat, May 23, 2009 at 12:21 PM

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Willie. Photo by Brian Chilson.

On day one, the clouds parted, the temperatures dropped to somewhere close to perfect and the masses swarmed. It's easy to forget what that means. How several hundred thousand sweating bodies moving, or worse, stuck, together feels. I caught it in passing in the River Market and on the stairs of the Junction Bridge, which move at crawl I wouldn't wish on anyone afraid of heights. But as promised yesterday, I skipped Willie.

My wife, however, without any special pass, but ever the optimistic sort, was set on meeting him and managed to talk her way backstage, where she got as far as a wall of unmovable, burly volunteers. She moved back into the crowd to watch the show, but ended up leaving, she said, because she felt like she "was going to step on a baby." That, I'm guessing, is how a full on confrontation with the masses feels.

I roamed mostly. As usual, my schedule didn't take off as quickly as planned and I missed all of Frown Pow'r and most of the Moving Front, but I did catch three or four songs from Eclipse Glasses, who had babies and grown folks alike shaking it. Then, I walked over to the Triple-S stage, which is conveniently close to the Junction Bridge and the Arkansas Tent, to see a bit of Gavin Rossdale.

He was in the middle of "Machinehead" as I walked up. The crowd was strong and enthusiastic and heavily female. He was talkative and seemed genuinely happy about being here. Gwen was nowhere to be seen. I left when he started playing an acoustic version of "Landslide."

En route back to the B-52s, I caught a bit of Cool Shoes. There was a small, but enthusiastic group of young folks dancing. I think 607 was a no show.

The B-52s packed in the amphitheater, but I got a Tweet from Chris King that said that he easily managed to get up front. Maybe the folks around me were indicative of the broader crowd. Everyone was sitting — until "Love Shack" came around. There were clearly a lot of folks who'd sat for an hour waiting to hear the song.

Best things seen/heard:

Frantic young woman to man trying to calm her down, "I'll be fine just as soon as I've got a beer in this hand and a cigarette in this hand!"

What was clearly a mother and daughter dancing while singing and texting.

At least three dudes without shirts who'd clearly either left their shirts in the car or at home.

Tips:

You're not supposed to carry beer over the Junction Bridge.

There's no one, aside from maybe Buddy Guy, who's going to attract huge crowds in North Little Rock. The Arkansas Tent and super-retriever series are there. It's a nice place to escape.

More pics after the jump.

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Willie. Photo by Brian Chilson.

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The B-52s getting down. Photo by Brian Chilson.

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The B-52s . Photo by Brian Chilson.

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