My sister isn’t really into music, but as part of her “Please get out of the house more, Luna” movement, she bought us tickets for the Bridge School Benefit in the Shoreline Amphitheater. It’s an annual acoustic concert organized by Neil and Pegi Young; the proceeds go to the Bridge School, which helps children with physical or speech impairments.
We went to the Sunday show (Oct. 25) and got there a bit late; I barely caught Gavin Rossdale doing “Glycerine” (sis asked who he was, and I simply replied with, “Pogi.“*) We had paid for real seats instead of camping out on the lawn, which suited our lazy asses just fine – and once we sat down, the great acts just kept on comin’.
First up were Wolfmother, whom I wasn’t that familiar with – but their rendition of “Woman” was just amazing. I’ve always believed that getting a rock band to do an acoustic set is the fastest way to find out if they’re worth anything. The amount of energy Wolfmother put into their set was ridiculous, and very impressive. (YouTube: See for yourself.)
Next were Fleet Foxes, and if I thought Wolfmother were impressive, Fleet Floxes made me curse out loud with awe. They were so indie, meek, unassuming – but the instant they started singing in unison, they blew everybody away. (Hearing “White Winter Hymnal” live, it was impossible not to fall in love with them.) I am totally buying an album soonest!
Monsters of Folk and Sheryl Crow were next, and they were very good, too, but unfortunately we weren’t their target market 😉 We spent this time buying food and beer (overpriced, by the way – $12 for a glass? Really?).
Adam Sandler came up just as the sun was going down. “I know what you’re thinking; I don’t know what I’m doing here, either,” he said. But then he whipped out a guitar and started belting out some crazy tunes, like how he fell in love with a chicken, and how lonely it must be for a seven-foot man with a seven-foot… yeah. It’s Adam Sandler.
And then Chris Martin came on. I’d gotten some flak on Facebook when I mentioned him in the lineup – but honestly, I like Coldplay. I thought the “A Rush of Blood to the Head” album was brilliant, and I was curious to see how Martin would hold up without a full band. And holy shit, hold up he did – actually, I think he’s much better WITHOUT a band. Alone with his piano, he improvised and played the hell out of every song. (He opened with “Clocks”, and it’s not one of my favorites, but he did it so well that I was converted.) Surprisingly, Martin is not as subdued as his music would imply – he acted like he was hypercaffeinated, shaking and grinning all the time. His set was my favorite of the whole night – and considering who came afterwards, that’s a big thing to say. (YouTube: You gotta see it.)
The last set we watched was the band that I’d been waiting for – No Doubt! Everyone in Manila knows I’m a huge fan, more so now than in the 90s because of Rock Band. (Aside from Yeah Yeah Yeah‘s “Maps”, “Spiderwebs” is my other token song to sing.) When the band got on stage and started playing the intro riff to “Bathwater”, I cursed again. I couldn’t believe I was seeing them live!
Unfortunately though, No Doubt’s set was just… okay. They did all their songs just right, and Gwen Stefani’s voice is still amazing and spot-on, but there wasn’t any extra oomph to make their performance memorable. Maybe it was because they were acoustic? (Or maybe because they didn’t do “Spiderwebs” 😉 I’m glad I still saw them, though. (YouTube: Watch them do “Just A Girl”.)
I liked the Bridge School setup very much – one single lineup instead of several stages, so you wouldn’t miss any of the good stuff by running around. There were intermissions after each set, too, great for food and restroom breaks. I wouldn’t mind going again next year if the lineup is just as good, though maybe next time they should post the schedule of bands in advance (we stole it from someone’s Twitter). And we are bringing sunscreen next time, because we totally _burned_. Other than that, I had a great time. Thanks, seester! 🙂