Reid Genauer, Umphrey’s, New Deal, moe.- Waterloo Village, Stanhope, NJ- 6/7
Preface: ENOUGH WITH THE RAIN ALREADY!!!!!
As we pulled into the Waterloo parking lot which was, really, nothing more
than a big field of mud, one thing was abundantly clear: This was not going
to be all that fun. At 2:00 or so, it had now been raining for the better
part of four hours and when we parking, the rain had stepped it up a notch
and was now pouring down. At that point, there were no more than one
hundred cars in the lot and not many more were pulling in. Reid Genauer,
who would be playing solo acoustic rather than with the Assembly of Dust,
had been pushed back to a 2:45 start time inciting everyone to stay in the
their cars even longer, due to the seemingly ridiculous "no re-entry" rule
imposed by the venue (more on that terrible rule later). So after a brief
trip to Wal-Mart to get some embarrassingly bright yellow raingear (I only
wore the jacket, not the pants), I entered the venue somewhere around 3:30
or so to catch the end of Reid's set, missing virtually the entire thing.
As my friends and I situated ourselves in front of the stage, it was pretty
clear the rain had kept many, many people away. By the time Umphrey's Mcgee
took the stage, it had been POURING for some time now and people had just
flat out given up, staying in their cars to wait it out. I watched
Umphrey's set from the comfort of my trusty umbrella, as many did, which
enabled me to catch the best set of Umphrey's I've ever heard live. All
members were sitting down, and both Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger were
playing acoustic guitars for their first "acoustic festival set". The vibe
was somewhat playful and intimate due to the size of the crowd which
provided some banter between the band and crowd. While Umphrey's
is known for its dueling guitar players, and rightfully so, it was the
band's vocal abilities on a cover of The Doobie Brothers' "Black Water" that
highlighted the set. Not the easiest of bands to cover vocally, I was
prepared for them to butcher the song, however the band did a valiant job
and actually had a rather enjoyable vocal jam at the end, convincing even
this jaded individual.
The New Deal took the stage around 4:00 or so I would guess, but in reality,
I have no idea because I was only concentrating on the rain, and the fan in
front of me laying face down in a pile of mud. Fortunately, he was okay,
and was sitting up right laughing with his friends just in time for the
band's start. The New Deal's set, as usual, was high energy working its way
through several passages, passages which actually had the crowd moving
somewhat, despite the rain and mud. But it was midway through the set that
the clouds cleared, the rain ceased and a large "sigh" could be heard from
the crowd, as the remaining half hour of the band's set was played with no
rain (the band moved into "Deep Sun" just as it stopped raining. The ending
of The New Deal's set was typically high energy, as they used their brand of live house music to move the crowd to dance for the first time all day. They left the stage
to a loud ovation, as much for their set, as for the fact that the rain
seemed to have stopped for good.
It is at this point that I MUST mention that absolutely ridiculous policy of
"no re-entry" to the venue, given the circumstances. Many people had been
standing out in the rain for the better part of anywhere from four to six
hours, beginning around 1:00. Finally, it had stopped raining and many fans
wanted to return to their cars to change out of their soaking wet clothes,
into some warm ones, or just put on the heat for a little while because,
quite frankly, it was fairly cold at this point. Under normal
circumstances, I completely understand not letting people leave. It makes
complete sense to have that policy. But with no more fans coming to buy
tickets at the gate, I did not, and do not see the harm in allowing fans to
go change and get warm. And rest assured, I was far from the only one who
felt this way. Furthermore, clearly nobody advised the Waterloo security
staff that jamband fans are generally pretty nice and courteous people who
don't respond very well to threats and statements such as "if you don't like
it, leave and don't come back." Moving forward, by the time moe. took the
stage, the field has filled up somewhat with fans waiting in their cars, but
virtually everyone there was wet and cold, but more than ready for two sets
from the boys from buffalo.
Going into the show, I had made it very clear I was looking for two songs,
"Hi and Lo" and "Kids" and I wasn't anxious to hear "Meat". That
being the case, of course the band OPENED with "Meat" however they
segued the song beautifully into a slower and more psychedelic "Hi and Lo"
than usual, which then segued perfectly into "Head". The entire band was
perfect throughout the three song segue, but Chuck's guitar work was near
perfect on lead, and Al's rhythm work was equally so. "Tambourine" ensued
but was just a quick run through before the set closing "Not Coming
Down—>St. Augustine", a segue that featured masterful slide work by Chuck,
whose skills with the slide, always great, have only gotten better.
The second set, while not being nearly as good as the first, was highlighted
by a fantastic "Faker—>Kids", the latter of which was my second "request"
of the night. Rob's voice seemed to be a little off on this song, which is
rare for the band. However, the segue into "Kids" and the jam inside the song more than made up for it, including a "fruit salad, yummy, yummy" vocal jam causing fits of
laughter from the band and crowd alike [Editor's note: many of us
recognize this one from the Wiggles- it's tough to get that one out of your head and clearly moe.
is afflicted as well]. It was vintage moe. ala their days in Broadway Joe's. Closing the show, the
band gave a little treat to those of us that were not at Field Day for one reason or another, encoring with Radiohead's "Karma Police" which segued back into the ending of "Meat". I was screaming at the top of lungs when they began "Karma", however it was clear most
everyone in the audience did not know what song it was. Either way, I was
pretty damn happy with the encore.
Despite the obscene amount of rain that had fallen, and the relatively low
turnout prior to moe.'s set, it was a fun day in Jersey. It's a testament
to the power of the music we love so dear. It poured rain, the food was
atrocious and the security was rude and obnoxious. But we stayed, we saw,
and we conquered. I just haven't figured out exactly what yet.