Sunday's schedule was by far the mellowest of the weekend, and as disappointing as it looked on paper, the crowd needed it. Donna The Buffalo rang out Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire" on the main stage while many All Good attendees simply packed up and left early. The last two acts on the schedule were BK3, the latest project from Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead, and the Grateful Dead Tribute act Dark Star Orchestra. Kreutzmann told JamBase before his set that unlike Bobby and Phil, he tries to take a more creative approach to doing Dead tunes, and with Tara Nevins of Donna The Buffalo on vocals, he gave the old tunes a more modern voice.
|All Good 2009|
With all the neo-hippies long gone, the half sized crowd left to witness Dark Star was more Deadhead than Bisco Kid. It was fun getting to hear Dark Star Orchestra play Dead tunes as accurately as they do, and to be honest, Dark Star's "Bobby" sounded more like Weir on the studio tracks than Weir did himself on Friday night. But there was something off about Dark Star that felt stuck in nostalgia. Even with their own solos, one couldn't help but feel as though there wasn't anything remotely spontaneous about the performance, which, as any Deadhead knows, is the at the core of "Dead Music." That said, if it floats your boat then get after it. While it might not be the most adventurous take on the Grateful Dead, it is certainly a very accurate account, and for anyone who has yet to learn the power of "Dead Music" or just simply wants to relive the glory of days gone by, well, DSO certainly fills that void.
Dark Star provided a mellow end to a sunny weekend that was expected to yield thunderstorms galore. Good weather, great production, and heaps of talented artists made All Good another big success. Unfortunately, certain ghosts of the event's past continued to haunt in 2009. Drug arrests and overdoses have led to a more active role of drug enforcement agents on site, and while varying accounts may differ, it seemed as though 2009 was a cleaner, more peaceful event with less of the dirty-nasty, but it was not void of this element.
|All Good 2009|
Regardless of the activity on Shakedown, the amount of unsupervised children wandering the lot (including a prepubescent doing nitrous and one "mother" leading her son around on a leash made of caution tape) was negligent at best and criminal at worst. Plenty of parents opted for the family camping and had their kids in the tent by sundown and there were clearly plenty of families that had a wonderful weekend, but not everyone was so responsible. Too many children under the age of ten were left entirely unattended in an environment riddled with very adult activities, and in a crowd of over 15,000 you're more than likely to have at least one unsavory individual looking to cause harm. This type of commentary is rare in the recap of a musical event - especially one that was overwhelming positive like All Good - but some things need to be noted. A Jersey based bouncer named Cornelius "Corney" Ealman said that he wasn't opposed to festival drug use as long as you weren't "pushing kilos," but when asked what he would want people to know about the event, he said plain and simple, "Don't bring your little kids. It's just not a good environment for little kids to be in."
Although the weekend did have its shadier moments, they were easy to avoid and anyone looking to take care of themselves and have a good time likely did just that and then some. Whenever you get a big crowd of party people together there will always be a few bad apples, but at the 2009 event, from logistics to weather to crowd to a familiar-yet-eclectic lineup, All Good once again does the name justice.
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