JAZZ FEST 2014: Day Two Highlights (Anders + Phish + Pretty Lights)

For our second day of Jazz Fest here in New Orleans me and my crew were very much in-tune with the fact that we needed to get down to the fairgrounds early to stake out a great spot for Phish, even though we remarked to each other that seeing Phish at the fairgrounds was something that hadn’t quite set in yet. This crew will travel for Phish alone, and this crew will travel for Jazz Fest alone, so I think something about the two together just didn’t really register with us until it was time for us to find a spot to plant our flag in the sand. With enough time to find a spot, send a crew to grab a tray of crawfish monicas and a few boxes of beer, we were all set up with a great spot to start the day.

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Anders Osborne took to the Acura Stage right at 2pm and welcomed LIVE favorite Marco Benevento to the stage with him. For 75 minutes the band tore through some good ‘ol swampy jamband selections, a solid mix of jams and twists and turns in each song that really kept the crowd super engaged. I first caught Anders here at Jazz Fest a few years back on the Gentilly Stage and this time being closer helped me follow along a bit better and really see how talented this man is. Super confident working either a small club or a main stage at a festival, Anders really is a treat to have within the scene and I was hoping we’d get a sit-in or two from one of the Phish-y guests hanging out backstage.

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Promptly enough at 4:05pm, Phish finally took the stage for the headlining set and proceeded to launch confidently into “Kill Devil Falls” to get the show going. The first set had some seriously fun moments happening, as “Moma Dance” definitely got everyone grooving and feeling funky with “Rift” really pushing everyone into that classic Phish frenzy that this song always seem to conjure up for me. Highlights for me definitely included the “Lawn Boy” which proceeded my often-called “Party Time” celebration. I wanted that to be the opener but I was close enough to get it as a mid-first set break.

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After about 70 minutes or so (I think) set one came to a close and the band took a quick set break which allowed everyone to get re-situated. “Down with Disease” began the second set and definitely got interesting before it was “ripcorded” to get into “Birds of a Feather”. I felt like I watched Trey just get to the end of the idea and he really did lead the band out of it quickly, which in and of itself is not a simple task as a musician. I think sometimes people assume it’s a mistake, but not every jam can end the same way and Trey is just using a tactic to keep the flow moving. Yesterday it felt like the right choice with a solid “Birds” to lead into “Twist” to get the crowd on their “Woo!”‘s. Loved the second set placement of “Sparkle” and definitely was excited when “Harry Hood” began signalling that the band would be running over curfew by a few minutes (at least). “Grind” was fantastic also.

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After Phish I was determined to make it over to the Pretty Lights show as soon as possible as there was only a 90 minute time window by which I had to grab a bite and find my way to a shower to wash my wookie foot. When I arrived to the Champions Square area right next to the SuperDome, holy my god I was impressed by the size of this arena. Huge festival size stage, FULL Pretty Lights light rig + a full band and a huge plaza by which to take it all in. When he hit the stage around 10pm, it was ON.

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The show was just huge right from the beginning with tracks from Color Map of the Sun getting full band treatment and Adam Deitch was just absolutely crushing this show. They started off with a mix of “old” Pretty Lights tracks too, some of which had been fully redone for the live band setting. Soon into the set we got a few sit-ins from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band before Derek brought up Eric Krasno and let him sit in for most of the remainder of the show. Talib Kweli showed up and delivered some rhymes which seemed a bit to suffer from a technical set back or two, but I’m not sure I would have noticed had I not been flying solo to this. Most of the crew didn’t need the untz that night but I wanted it and I got a TON of it here. The show ended with the strongest “I Know The Truth” you’d ever get a chance to see live, and after two hours on stage the show was over with no official encore.

Off to hit day three; see you in the daquiri line!

Jim Brock’s gallery from day two is below, featuring shots from Phish, Robert Plant, Anders Osborne and more…

Thanks again to Acura for making this trip possible and for all the VIP treatment. Having my own bathroom line and spa water in the waiting area is really making this trip quite special. I only wish I could share it with my entire crew!