I just got in my car and drove. Saturday morning, I was up early. The first solo road trip sinceâ€¦ well, that walkabout I took to Mojave a few weeks back. This was different though. Mojave was about the songs of nature and this was about the rock, acoustic style. I made great time to Sunnyvale, picked up a key at the desk that was waiting for me, dropped my stuff off and played some guitar until J and D arrived with food. It felt so good to be out. Iâ€™d been to Bridge a couple of other times, but if the beautiful drive up was any indication how the day was going to go, I was set.
Rolling with J [sic] is the best way to do Bridge. He works for Neil, so we enter through the artist area. Neilâ€™s old black Cadillac is parked next to the gargantuan tour bus. There were many buses. J rushes to the stage to place Devendraâ€™s pedal. Heâ€™d left it at the hotel and J grabbed it on the way out. Devendraâ€™s a smelly hippy, but a very gracious one at that. We wandered around backstage before the show. Oh look, itâ€™s Dave Grohl and thereâ€™s Elliot Roberts, Chris Shiflet â€“ check, Jeff Ament â€“ yeah, heâ€™s here, hello Ben Gibbard, etcâ€¦ Iâ€™m not boasting, just calling it like it was.
Devendra Banhart â€“ Iâ€™ve never been much of a fan. Itâ€™s the warbley vocal thing he does. Reminds me too much of Tiny Tim. And fuck me, that group of guys needs a shower and some deodorant. I was impressed with the performance though.
Gillian Welch and David Rawlings â€“ What I wanna know is why the hell doesnâ€™t David get billing. Heâ€™s heâ€™s one of the most incredible guitar players on Earth. Gillian is a country music goddess. Her songs are a throwback of countryâ€™s finest roots and is always impressive. When Neil came out to play with her â€“ WOW !
Death Cab For Cutie â€“ I watched them from the side of the stage for a few songs and was wondering around a lot of the set. They tend to bore me a little, but they were in top form and put on a great set. I think they even made some new fans (in their 50s) that had never heard of them.
Trent Reznor â€“ I was probably most impressed with Trentâ€™s performance. He told a great story about how when he was asked to play, he was honored and aceepted immediately. What he didnâ€™t know was that it was an acoustic show. He got some musicians together and arranged an entire set with acoustic strings and him on piano. It was so beautiful. Heâ€™s such a talented guy.
The Foo Fighters â€“ They know how to put together an awesome acoustic show. Petra Hayden and Pat Smear in the ha-ouse! Seeing Pat Smear on stage is a treat. He always looks like heâ€™s the happiest person in the world when heâ€™s up there. The highlight of their set was seeing Dave play â€œMarigold,â€ which was originally recorded when he was in Nirvana and only available as a b-side on the â€œHeart Shaped Boxâ€ single. Nice to see him breaking this one out.
Brian Wilson â€“ Incredible. The crowd was more into him than anyone I had seen all day or night. His band is absolutely stunning and they never missed a beat. Like David, the one complaint I had was â€œJohnny B. Goode.â€ Oh, and the fact that they played too long, but wow were people happy when he was performing. I smiled a lot during the set.
Pearl Jam â€“ Wow. Just wow. I havenâ€™t seen them perform in years and it was awesome. Eddie was totally on it. I didnâ€™t have a reference point, but â€œCrazy Maryâ€ was really powerful. The sincerity emanating from the stage during their set was impressive. Seeing Neil come out for some â€œMirrorballâ€ material was a real treat.
Dave Matthews Band â€“ Say what you will about DMB (which Iâ€™m sure wonâ€™t be good), but they always put on an impressive show. It was the third time Iâ€™d seen him play and while I donâ€™t care much for the music I have a lot of respect for the guy. All his players are tops and he sounded great. Neil came out for an impressive performance as well.
Neil Young â€“ I was so exhausted by the time Neil came out, I wasnâ€™t really all that into his set, but when everyone came out for â€œRockinâ€™ In The Free World,â€ you couldnâ€™t help but sing along. Two funny side notes â€“ 1) Devendra didnâ€™t know how to play it, so J taught him. He wrote the chords on his hand so he could play along. 2) Grohl felt weird about going out there and J caught him back stage. He grabbed him by the collar and literally pushed him out there.