We missed the Felice Brothers, but I was sure to be set up well before Drive-By Truckers took the stage. I’d try to be objective here, but its not possible. I love this band.
DBT usually plays shows that run over two and a half hours, so seeing them for only 1:15 was a little strange for me. They split the set between their new album and some classics, closing with a ferocious “Lookout Mountain.”
As a photographer, they’re great subjects. With a stage usually sporting a number of Jack Daniel’s bottles, and Patterson Hood’s dynamic presence, they’re never dull.
While the last echoes of DBT rang out, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood took the West Stage.
This is one of my favorite photos of the weekend. Part of what is great about watching MMW live is seeing how they communicate and observe each other. As I watched the band, I noticed that all three of them were intently focused on John Scofield.
This guys was painting MSMW while they played their set. His take on the scene was unique, I think.
Up next was one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend, Levon Helm’s Ramble on the Mountain. Levon has been holding small, private concerts on his farm near Woodstock. For Mountain Jam, he decided to take the show on the road.
From the opening “Ophelia” we were treated to a fantastic set of Band covers and pure Americana. An unexepected bonus for me was looking up and seeing Jimmy Vivino there. I am a huge Vivino fan, based on his remarkable work with The Fab Faux and seeing him with Levon was a real treat.
Finally, we come to the weekend closer, Bob Weir and Ratdog. If I had had any expectations of this set I would have been very disappointed. I’m not a big Bobby fan, and have never been impressed by Ratdog in the past. Sunday’s performance didn’t help.
Starting off the set in an auspicous manner, Bob Weir could not remember the music, nor the words, to “Help on the Way.” For me, the only highlight of the first set was Warren sitting in on “Loser.” We left at the setbreak. I hope that the band in next year’s anchorman spot is more compelling.
So that’s it, three days of music and beverages. If you were there, what were your thoughts? We’re already looking forward to Mountain Jam 2009 (the fifth annual), and cannot wait to see what WDST and Warren Haynes do to up the ante for next year’s festival.
As I’ve mentioned a number of times, the setting for Mountain Jam cannot be beat. Upstate New York is one of the underrated areas of our country, lush and green. We did some hiking on the way home on Monday, and wanted to leave you with a couple of shots from the trail.