Photos And Review | Outside Lands Day One | San Francisco

Words by: Eric Podolsky and Scott Bernstein

Images by: Joe Russo and Susan Weiand

Outside Lands - Day One :: 08.09.13 :: Golden Gate Park :: San Francisco, CA

Full review below photo gallery!

Joe Russo's Photos From Day One:

Eric's Introduction:

In this modern era of the super-festival, it seems like every year there are increasingly bigger and more epic events popping up. This current festival arms race of sorts makes it a very good time to be a music fan, particularly in the Bay Area, where the wealth of urban music festivals is spoiling its residents rotten with a constant stream of amazing music. With such a competitive festival landscape, some festivals have had their day and slipped away, but Outside Lands is one mega-event that has thrived and grown stronger over its six-year existence. This is in part due to its logistically ideal Golden Gate Park location (the birthplace of all rock festivals), but it can mostly be attributed to the festival's go-big-or-go-home attitude when it comes to booking massive headliners.

[Photo by Joe Russo]

This year, Outside Lands organizers swung for the fences, assembling a top-heavy lineup of heavy hitters guaranteed to please even the most jaded of festival-goers, regardless of the freezing San Francisco weather that plagues the event every year. One can only imagine how much more joyous this weekend in the park would be if it wasn't perpetually shrouded in fog. But no matter, all three days sold out again thanks to a dream lineup. And let's not forget an amazing gourmet food and drink selection (lamb poutine!) that is setting a new benchmark for how festival-goers should be fed. Learning from years past, I completely avoided the Panhandle Stage at the far end of the grounds, as the long trek back and forth wastes both precious time and energy in a weekend where you need every bit of both you can get. With so much music to see, I was still completely worn out by Sunday evening. (If you're not totally spent by the end of this festival, you're doing it wrong.) Long live Outside Lands, in all it's sprawling glory!

Read on for Eric and Scott's highlights from Day One as well as Susan Weiand's photos.

Susan Weiand's Photos From Day One:

Eric Podolsky's Friday Highlights:

Paul McCartney – 7:10-9:55 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Susan Weiand]

Talk about a life experience. It's obvious that there's something utterly momentous about seeing a Beatle perform, but the amount of exuberant energy and positivity which Macca poured into his marathon set of non-stop hits was nothing short of staggering. Paul is comfortable in his shoes, and clearly loves to please: he is well aware of the effect his music has on people, and genuinely cares about showing his audience a good time and making us feel good. It was impossible not to love this man and his unabashedly sentimental love songs. With his road-tested band of pros cranking out the Beatles and Wings tunes one after the other, this set was a whirlwind of sing-alongs and hugs — it was a continual delight and surprise to hear rarely played Beatles cuts like “Magical Mystery Tour,” “All Together Now,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” and “Paperback Writer” delivered with such authentic enthusiasm. Solo acoustic interludes that included “Blackbird” and “Yesterday” completely captivated the audience to a hush, while tributes to Linda, John, and George all tugged at the heart strings. But in the end, it was Paul's still-incredible voice and infectious, boundless enthusiasm which made this incredibly special show a night that everyone in attendance will remember years and years from now.

Chic Featuring Nile Rodgers – 6:05-7:05 p.m. – Sutro Stage

[Photo by Susan Weiand]

Stepping in for the absent D'Angelo at the eleventh hour, Nile Rodgers appeared very happy to be bringing his disco-funk dance party to the park, grinning ear to ear for a full hour. With a set that spanned his career as a disco hit-maker, Rodgers brought hit after hit of wedding and Bar Mitzvah-friendly tunes that turned Lindley Meadow into an old- school dance floor. It was interesting to hear his hits for Chic, Diana Ross (“I'm Coming Out,” “Upside Down”), Sister Sledge (“We Are Family”), and David Bowie (“Let's Dance”) all played in a row, as it became clear that Rodgers' unmistakably distinctive rhythm guitar runs like a thread through all of those songs. Watching him strum away those funk chords, it was impossible not to dance to the right hand that hip-hop was founded on. (“Rapper's Delight,” anyone?) The man clearly has impeccable taste, and it was a pleasure to witness him perform his own songs in his element.

Maria Bamford and Eugene Mirman – 3:45-4:55 p.m. – The Barbary Comedy Tent

[Photo by Susan Weiand]

Set up as an escape from the seething hordes that pervade this festival of 60,000, the Barbary is a circus tent/comedy club of sorts tucked into the back of Lindley Meadow that offers an alternate, well-rounded festival experience, complete with servers taking drink orders at your table. We weren't feeling Jessie Ware's set, so we popped in for a while, only to be surprised and delighted by two hilarious, surreal sets of stand-up. Eugene Mirman's bizarre stories included how he and Michael Stipe of R.E.M. got mugged by Mexican police officers, while Maria Bamford caught everyone completely off-guard with her bizarre act of bi-polar voices and awkward, surreal digressions on mental health (“I can crouch naked in the shower and get real small.”) These sets were an unexpected treat, and offered a welcomed change of pace before we ventured back out into the crowds to catch the next band.

Read on for Scott's highlights from Day One.

Scott Bernstein's Friday Highlights:

Band Of Horses – 3:30-4:30 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Joe Russo]

There's no better sign that you've enjoyed a set as when it's over and you're left wanting more. Band Of Horses's 13-song, one-hour performance flew by in what seemed like a heartbeat and made me crave more from the Seattle-based band. Ben Bridwell and Co. offered one anthemic and earworm-y song after another in front of a huge crowd at Outside Lands' main stage. BOH expertly alternated tempos throughout the set from the powerful "Is There A Ghost" to the bittersweet "No One's Gonna Love You" through to the expected and climactic "Funeral" closer. It's telling that the set only contained two songs from 2012's Mirage Rock and 2010's Infinite Arms, while 2006's Everything All The Time and 2007's Cease To Begin were represented with four and five songs respectively. Let's hope the next album is more like their early LPs than the more recent ones.

The National – 5:00-6:10 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Joe Russo]

I'll admit it - The National's brand of indie-rock never really did it for me. Yet, by the end of the band's set at Outside Lands I "got it." Their dark and moody songs were expansive in concert and fit the setting of Golden Gate Park like a glove. It didn't hurt that they were augmented by the legendary Kronos Quartet at various points and were joined by San Francisco icon Bob Weir for an exceptional set-closing version of 2010's "Terrible Love." The Kronos Quartet helped bring out the nuances in The National's impressive originals, while the always-underrated rhythm work of Weir added a jolt of energy to "Terrible Love."

Paul McCartney – 7:10-9:55 p.m. – Lands End Stage

[Photo by Joe Russo]

When I was in high school I lived and breathed The Beatles. I was a McCartney guy as opposed to many Beatles fans who were bigger fans of John Lennon. Macca's set at Outside Lands was the sixth or seventh time I've seen the legendary performer and he's the rare case of someone who gets better with age. Paul continues to mine his solo, Wings and Beatles' repertoires for gold as his current set might be his best one yet. Highlights were plentiful including a bold take on Wings classic "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five," an amazing version of "Something" which starts with McCartney on ukulele before a full- band finish and of course the pyro-laden "Live And Let Die." The former Beatle even tipped his hat to the Bay Area with a super-rare cover of Jesse Fuller's "San Francisco Bay Blues." The noted marijuana connoisseur bantered often about the smell of weed in the air and provided a light moment when he brought up a few fans to sign autographs on their wrists for what will soon be tattoos. If you haven't seen Paul McCartney in concert, you're missing out.


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