Favorite

Riverfest 2009 

May 22-24

NELSON
  • NELSON

Nearly continuous rain on Sunday may have turned the Riverfest grounds into soup, prevented all but two headliners from performing and kept the festival from breaking an attendance record, but it wasn't enough to sour our weekend. In fact, Sunday aside, once we made peace with the masses, it was as fine a weekend of music as we can remember.

But first, more about the masses: It's easy to forget what that means, how several hundred thousand sweating bodies moving, or worse, stuck, together feels. We caught it in passing in the River Market and on the Junction Bridge, which moved at a crawl we wouldn't wish on anyone afraid of heights, and overdosed on it on the Clinton Library grounds. At least on Friday, to approach the stage and Willie Nelson, you had to break through a gauntlet of folks waiting in line to either use the bathroom or get a beer. Lindsey's wife got close, but retreated mid-set. She said she felt like she “was going to step on a baby.”

But with all those thousands stuffed around the Clinton Library stage and the amphitheater, that left North Little Rock relatively manageable for hordes-averse. Friday, we caught the last third of Eclipse Glasses' set in the Arkansas Tent, the local-act focused stage that continued to bring out relatively sizeable crowds in its second year. Be sure and add EG to your to-do list if you haven't yet seen them live. There's no one, locally, sustaining the groove longer. Accordingly, they had babies and grown folks alike shaking it in the tent.

We also peeked in at Gavin Rossdale, who had an enthusiastic, lady-heavy crowd at the Triple-S Alarm Stage, which backed up to the river. We're not good at estimating numbers, but it was the sort of crowd where, if you were aggressive, you could push your way to the front, or more complacent, find a clear perch on the levee. The international heartthrob mixed newer material with Bush favorites and even threw in a cover of “Landslide” for good measure. He couldn't have been more effusive toward the crowd.

Saturday, after strong sets from Velvet Kente and Patrick Sweany, the highlight of the night — and maybe even the festival — was Buddy Guy. The 72-year-old blues man interacted with his audience more than any performer we've seen in awhile. He didn't go so far as to take requests, but he was undoubtedly out to please. He gave numerous shout-outs to Little Rock, and at one point went on a romp through the crowd that led him and his guitar to the rear of the corndog stand at stage right.

One prominent criticism of Guy's live act is that he has a sort of performance A.D.D. — he will interrupt himself mid-song to make a joke or a comment. That tendency was certainly on display Saturday. At one point, he gave something of a musical lecture by launching spontaneously into John Lee Hooker's “Boom Boom.” Yet that spontaneity was what made the concert delightful to watch. Not all of Guy's own material was top-notch — “Skin Deep,” a paean to the unity of man, left us cold — but the energy with which he approached it more than compensated.

Brian Chilson, Gerard Matthews,

Lindsey Millar and John C. Williams

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Music Reviews

  • Cher in North Little Rock

    March 28, Verizon Arena
    • Apr 3, 2014
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers at Verizon

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers took a slightly different musical path to its May induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame than most of their fellow honorees.
    • Oct 31, 2012
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 30

    The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra opened its season Saturday night with a return visit by the 28-year-old violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who had appeared with the orchestra in the Beethoven concerto two years ago.
    • Oct 3, 2012
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Fear 'It'self

    • Bill Skarsgrd comes from a family of actors and they were all born and raised…

    • on September 21, 2017
  • Re: Bumbling Bielema

    • The person named Allen with the canning co just filed bankruptcy, if any one is…

    • on September 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation