October 09, 2007

A Hardly Strictly Followup

Sunset behind the Star Stage on Sunday at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco.

That white-haired fellow on the right is Del McCoury, singing Richard Thompson's Vincent Back Lightning, just as he does in this video, except right there live in front of a few thousand people in Golden Gate Park's Lindley Meadow, deftly transporting the crowd and Thompson's song all the way to Kentucky by way of Bluegrass.

I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of people showed up for the festival this year. Many hundreds of thousands, I'm guessing. Most likely plenty attended all three days, as we did.

Earlier on Sunday I entertained the passing thought than John Langford would induce a heart attack in himself with all his vigorous prancing around the stage as the rest of the Mekons sang a chorus of "this is the end, this is the end," as shown here:

Jeff Tweedy played a remarkably long and engaging solo set to close the show on Friday night. Friday is the only day on which the Festival uses just the one stage. Saturday and Sunday's shows are spread out over five, and there's more good music than one ear can possibly entertain going on all at once all weekend long on those five stages.

Los Lobos played a sizzling set to close out Saturday's show on the Star Stage, preceded by my wife's favorite of the weekend, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, with Victor Wooten and Futureman himself, just like in the old days.

So what if we missed Jorma and the Austin Lounge Lizards and Steve Earl and Robert Earl Keen and Ricky Skaggs and Boz Skaggs, and David Grissman and Marley's Ghost and Gillian Welch and James McMurtry and The Flatlanders and Nick Lowe and the New Lost City Ramblers?

What the hey. We heard more than our fare share of good music anyhow.

Here's a picture of Warren Hellman, the originator of this million dollar bash, wrestling with his banjo, joined by Ron Thomason of the Dry Branch Fire Squad and the fine fiddler Heidi Clare.

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