My only note of warning is that tenth-grade Poli wrote this. Tenth-grade Poli's word choice in some spots are borderline embarrassing in some spots. No, I didn't fancy myself half as big of a hippie as this piece suggests, I guess I just kind of got caught up in the moment and I'd like to believe I've since found a happy medium between "far out" and "good day, sir". The conventions of writing, I think, were also quite lost on me then, not that they're all that found now. With that said, it'd be a crime to toil with the writing and I hope you enjoy this time capsle. As always, this is dedicated to Rich and Grebe, who made this day very special.
My smile grows even wider as we stroll towards Randall’s Island. We vibe with some ladies from New Jersey while haggard looking dudes sell cheap looking water for a dollar. Each shout has a rhythm and ring to it. As though they hear the music that we can’t hear yet. We slide inside and see the stage. The fire dancer has started the party without our trio as we find a shady spot to settle and wait for the magic. We take in the scene, a whole lot of food vendors are charging five shells for water, and even be and I explain to Rich the finer points of the jam band flow. Meantime Grebe and I do battle over Phish and Dave Matthews Band for jam band supremacy. Rich feels uncomfortable in his Yankee ensemble when surrounded by a sea of unkempt hair, hemp, sandals and tie dye. He does not stray far from me as Tea Leaf Green hits the stage and slams our senses with a far out blend of Phish like riffs with a country twang. The rumble of the crowd’s roar pales in comparison to the rumble of our stomachs as we cave in and buy some ten dollar gyros and cop a squat on our blanket. Some jerk glides over to a muscular Guido looking guy and asks to purchase some “gardening supplements”. When the man refuses, the jerk’s crew literally throw stones at the man’s girlfriend. I kid you not. The man erupted and a verbal and shoving fight ensues inches away from our awe struck faces. Security is lost in the haze of the music that plays. My eyes stray from the ensuing brawl to catch a glimpse of Grebe, eyes wide, twitching nervously as he hovered over his gyro as though he were an eagle protecting its young. I laughed at this marvel, and even harder as the fools were escorted from the concert area. We saw two friends playing catch with a football. I have to be honest; one friend was not too great at the sport. He would stand straight armed and tense as the ball floated down towards him. He stood rapt with the gaze of a dog waiting for food to be dropped from the dinner table. However, often times the ball would bounce off his hands as though they were bricks. We shared a chuckle at his expense, not something I’m proud of. However, then we saw a blue moon as the 19 year old managed to snag the ball out of the air and proceed to do a corny dance the likes of which even I had never seen before. After he stopped seizing he threw the ball back flimsily to his friend and repeated the process each time Lady Luck smiled upon him. We didn’t feel bad about laughing at him anymore.
The Yonder Mountain String Band was a pleasant surprise. I had never heard of them but their quick honky tonk instrumentals including a distorted upright bass was a new spin on a style of music I was still relatively new to. The closest thing to describe them would be sounds likened to a fuller Grateful Dead, with no horns or vocals. Regrettably, I caught a few Zs as Slightly Stoopid performed. But before my snooze I lent my ears to their first song. It was fly no doubt, but the loud screaming and frequent use of swear words seemed to almost interfere with the laidback atmosphere of the concert. Their enthusiasm for their music was to be admired though and I considered it to be a positive experience. I was roused by the roar of the crowd as Government Mule blazed the stage. I’ve always been so so on Warren Hayes, digging his riffs but not so much on his vocals. His live show was no different as each song sounded the same to me. The monotony was interrupted however, by quite simply a drunken middle aged man chasing after a beach ball as if it were his true love and he could not understand why she was bouncing away from him. Then the real magic began as Bela Fleck and the Flecktones sent a wave of relaxation to the audience with amazingly chill tones that featured the bass styling’s of Mr. Victor Lamonte Wooten. Best bassist ever. Enough said. There was a teen next to us who partied a little too hard a little too soon. He spilled his heart, soul, and a little bit of hot dog on the lawn. The crowd in the vicinity then fell silent. (It was eerie, a wonder I’ve never witnessed until that day, and have not experienced since) as a portly woman unknowingly wandered into the pink puddle. At the point of contact the crowd said OOOO! In unison, ourselves included, almost as though it were instinct. The woman scampered off, with a look of horror on her face. My soul sways to the strum of the banjo and thump of the bassline until I hear another thump next to me. This one makes a squishy noise. Rich jerks his body as though he were in shock and shaking loose the cobwebs. My eyes are drawn to Rich’s brand new white hat purchased the day before. A hat which he had gone to great lengths to protect for the day. A hat which now had a large red glob on it. We had been ketchup bombed. Rich grew angry to say the least as his face changed its color to a hue more like that of his hat’s new stain. Another bomb flew to our left and Rich put his hat down on the blanket to keep it safe. Within moments his plan backfired as the hat was stepped upon by a long haired lanky penguin looking teen who muttered a half hearted apology as he marched forwards towards the stage. I froze in the shock of what has just occurred. Rich is now enraged and spikes his hat in frustration while uttering words under his breath I dare not repeat on this page. I couldn’t understand or hear half of them anyway as I was cackling mercilessly at the fact that Rich’s hat went from brand new to completely ruined in a matter of thirty seconds. Grebe chuckled as well as he tried to calm and console the angry beast. Rich’s temper was cooled as DMB hit the stage and pleased us with melodies and rhythms the likes of which cannot be justly explained. I sent my sober eyes to the skies to see the smoke rise and the stage in a haze. But sight didn’t matter, only the music that formed itself into one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.
As a side note, we actually got pretty lost on the way home. It's a amazing how back then I kind of left that out, but if this happened today I'd probably talk mostly about the drive home with the concert being a footnote. Once again, see you Wednesday.
Song of the Day: Grey Street-Dave Matthews Band
Jazz Song of the Day: Zona Mona-Flecktones (Not jazz, don't whine)