Stevie Wonder, Trey Anastasio Band, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, moe. and More Highlight The Hangout’s Final Day
Last night, Stevie Wonder brought Gulf Shores, AL’s The Hangout to a close with a two-hour hit parade on the festival’s namesake beach stage. His mix of R & B, pop, funk, soul and rock appealed to all of The Hangout’s musical factions.
After opening with a take on Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” Wonder charged into a mix of his signature songs and choice covers. The reggae-groove he established on the show’s second song, “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” cemented the show’s beach party-vibe. His tributes covered a wide range of ground. Early in the night, Wonder offered a version of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” and told the audience to forget about what his old friend “looked like” and “what he did or did not do.” Later in the show, he nodded to Bob Marley with a take on “Is This Love,” saluted The Beatles with a stretched out take on “Day Tripper,” teased a bit of Parliament’s “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)” and slowed things down with a new arrangement of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Of course, Wonder has enough hits of his own to fill a festival set, and he gave fans “Higher Ground,” “Living for the City,” “Sir Duke,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” “My Cherie Amour,” “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and “Ebony and Ivory.” He also dedicated a heartfelt version of “Isn’t She Lovely” to his daughter and backup singer, who recently got engaged, before flashing a view of her ring on the festival’s massive screens. At the end of he night, Wonder showed his jamband chops on an extended, over 10-minute take on his signature hit, “Superstition.”
Several musicians saluted Stevie Wonder during their Hangout sets earlier in the day. Indie pop princess Karen O, who provided direct support for Wonder with her band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, screamed how excited she was to see the living legend and remarked that she can’t “wait to get [her set] over with” so that he can take the stage. She possessed a rock-star presence herself as she led the Yeah Yeah Yeahs through tracks like “Sacrilege,” “Gold Lion,” “Mosquito,” “Phenomena,” “Under the Earth,” “Heads Will Roll,” “Soft Shock,” “Runaway,” “Maps,” “Cheated Hearts,” “Honeybear,” “Pin,” “Miles Away” and “Zero.” MTV personality Sway, who MCed a variety of shows during the weekend, described Wonder as a “national treasure.”
Trey Anastasio paid his respects to Wonder, too. The guitarist—who likely turned a portion of the crowd to Wonder’s music through Phish’s cover “Boogie on Reggae Woman”—joked that “Stevie wants us to hear one more” before he encored with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.” He also mentioned how excited he is for Wonder and that he planned to check out his set.
In certain ways, Trey Anastasio Band functioned as the day’s second headliner. The group played in front of a sprawling crowd on the Chevrolet stage on the opposite end of the beach right before Wonder’s set. They captured the festival’s beach vibe early on with a show-opening “Cayman Review” and kept their set’s vibe light with well-selected covers of The Five Stairsteps’ “O-o-h Child,” Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” Gorillaz’s “Clint Eastwood” and Bob Marley’s “Small Axe.” He also nodded to various eras of his own solo career with tunes such as “Gotta Jibboo,” “Pigtail,” “Burlap Sack and Pumps, “Dark and Down,” “Valentine,” “Shine,” “Money Love and Change,” “First Tube,” “Simple Twist Up Dave,” “Scabbard,” “Frost,” “Let Me Lie” and “Push On Til The Day.” His swing arrangement of the Phish number “Magilla” rounded out the evening’s setlist.
Dance music continued to prove one of the festival’s biggest draws. EDM stars Steve Aoki and Porter Robinson ruled the Boom Boom Tent while dance-influenced indie buzz acts like Bloc Party and Ellie Goulding played elsewhere. Grouplove and Baauer also drew sizeable crounds.
With Anastasio serving as one of the day’s marquee acts, The Hangout also booked several more traditional jambands earlier in the day, including Galactic, The Revivalists, Moon Taxi and the jam-embraced roots act Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit. In addition, moe. turned in a well-attended 60-minute set on the Letting Go Stage. The band opened with “St. Augustine,” before moving into “It” and an interesting sandwich of “Moth” and “She Sends Me.” “Dr. Graffenberg” and a version of “Hi & Lo” that segued into an appropriate version of “Water” closed the set.
The Hangout’s promoters have already confirmed that the festival will return in 2014. Pre-sale tickets are now available.