Let’s hear it for Loyal Fans – ACL Day 2

Remember my advice from yesterday about comfy, weather-friendly footwear? Well, perhaps I should have taken my own advice on day two. I got the comfy part, but weather (er, mud) friendly flip-flops are not 😦

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What happens when you wear flip-flops to a music festival…

But let me start from the beginning…

There is a point in every festival where that “start to the fest” excitement calms down and transforms into quiet enjoyment of the amazing music around you.  I arrived at the Austin City Limits music festival on Day 2 right around that time – when everyone was relaxing on the grass or a blanket, lying back, listening to Metric playing on the AMD stage.  The sun was peaking through the clouds just enough to make the hill feel like one giant weekend picnic.

It was game day and, in between bands, the large screens by each stage projected major college football games.  Much to JP’s delight, we managed to catch his Kansas Jayhawks’ historic rival, the Missouri Tigers, continue their SEC conference losing streak against Alabama…

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Missouri v. Alabama

The one predictable thing about a music festival is that it is completely unpredictable.  One minute we were listening to the intro song of Band of Skulls…

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Band of Skulls

The next minute, it was Poncho Time!

Me and my friend, Jeff, mid-downpour

The rain just poured down onto us and, unfortunately, onto the stage, cutting out the amp connected to the lead guitarist.  The show ended only one song in.  But the crowd was full of loyal fans, who stood in the rain, waiting for the roadies to get the equipment up and running again.

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Loyal fans take on the rain

Which they did, and our drowned-rat frowns turned into…

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Post-rain smiles

Refusing to accept defeat, the rain tested the thousands of fans who filled every inch in front of the Bud Light Stage to watch The Roots.

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Rain at The Roots

The Roots put on by far the best show of the first two days of Austin City Limits.  The large band never stopped dancing on stage, even carrying a tuba, and laughed like they were still kids jamming in their parents’ garage in Philly.  The rain didn’t stand a chance and as it faded away, the crowd started to dance and dance and dance.

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The one and only Roots

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The Roots

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Dancing with a tuba

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The dancing blurs…

One of the most memorable moments of the festival was watching the gentleman, who must have been my parents’ age, waving his hand in the air as The Roots covered Guns n’ Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine.  That song is one of my all time favorites and I have so many memories with that song – celebrating with the basketball team after a win in high school, karaoke at a fraternity party in college, driving across country with my sister in law school, and so many more – but watching the joy on this guy’s face fist-pumping and foot-stomping at the same time tops all of those.

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Joy

After The Roots, we trekked through the mud across the park as the sun finished setting.  As we cleared the food tents, getting closer and closer to the throbbing freestyle of Bassnectar, the crowd kept growing and growing.  There must have been 30,000 people from the stage, up the hill, backing into the next stage – everyone moving in unison to the beat.  I had never heard this DJ before, but soon I found myself curling my body around the sound in time with the bass.  The magic of music – making you feel completely alone with the sound and at the same time a piece of the machine of the crowd.

We closed out the night with Jack White.

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Jack White

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Jack White

Long after the band left the stage, the loyal crowd kept singing the chords from the chorus of Seven Nation Army

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