Bands seen: Liars, Lupe Fiasco, Regina Spektor, The Walkmen, Cake
Bands heard in passing: Two Gallants, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Bands (regretfully) missed: Devendra Banhart, M.Ward, Two Gallants
Saturday was equally foggy, the entire festival buzzing beneath a pale cloud tent. We were quickly becoming experts at the Bay Area transportation system, but our expertise only extended so far; time management was regretfully still lacking, so I wasn't able to see the beginning of Devendra Banhart's set before catching Liars at the Panhandle stage. Nevertheless, we plundered on and with only a Heineken in my system come 3 o'clock we scooted up near the front of the crowd for Liars.
Frontman Angus Andrew pranced onto the miniscule Panhandle Stage with all the bravado of a much larger band playing an infinitely larger venue. Methinks opening for tourmates Radiohead is due partial credit? Regardless, the band killed it with an energetic show that left my ears in a muted haze. I took a much needed rest during Lupe Fiasco (bass-heavy, sounded distorted; a bit of an odd vibe in the middle of the brightest part of the day) and braved the interminable portapotty line, asked twice if I'd like "herbs" by gentle, well-meaning peaceniks whose half-lidded expressions evinced total and utter global contentment.
We then hustled over to Regina Spektor. The last time I saw Ms. Spek, I had wilted into a sweaty heap on the dusty polo fields at Coachella, taking refuge in the shade of sinewy bodies and wishing very much for a gallon of water. I was finally able to fully appreciate the dazzling spectrum of her talents; from an acappella melody ending in a guttural drag of the throat to the heartbreaking ache of "Samson," the crowd and myself were completely and utterly entranced.
Back to the opposite end of the festival grounds, we caught an entirely excellent set from The Walkmen, whose lead singer, Hamilton, revealed himself to be 1) a fantastic showman, and 2) so adorable I just might enter into a reverse-polygamist relationship with he and Andrew Bird, if both gentlemen are acquiescent to the idea.
And they should be.
What happened next I can only shrug and try to explain the best way I know how. First things first, raise your hand if you can remember a particular band from your formative high school years that you just might fondly refer to as "OMG MY FAVORITE BAND EVER!" Anyone? Third Eye Blind? Any takers for Weezer or Pavement or Eagle Eye Cherry? Stroke 9? Well, that band for me is Cake. Cake of the inimitable talk-singing and drawling sarcasm. Cake of the jangling guitars and chugging beats and satirical lyrical genius. Cake of "Going The Distance" and "Stickshifts and Safetybelts." Yep. That Cake. And wouldn't you know it, that Cake played on Saturday and you can believe, people, that I grooved and sang and clapped and danced my everloving heart out during that show.
At one moment between songs, I crouched down to relieve the crushing pressure in my back from all that nostalgia, and I noticed in front of me something a bit odd. The man in front of me, with his denim-swathed legs and maroon Pumas, was taking a leak. Into a bottle. All over the ground. Two feet away from me.
This fella, we'll call him Peeter, filled the bottle completely, watered the ground entirely, capped up his joy juice and left the tasty bev on the ground before turning his back on THE GREATEST BAND OF THE LATE 90'S TO EVER COVER BLACK SABBATH OMG OMG OMG and walked calmly away.
Oh, not so fast, Peeter. You've been caught.
Now, the video is a bit more difficult to see. In my frenzied disbelief of Peeter's concert faux pas, I accidentally taped it sideways. But if you squint, with your head cocked to one baffled side as mine was, you can see the steady stream of Peeter's Honest Ade watering the grounds of Golden Gate Park.
After excitement like that, I and my comrades were too tuckered out to battle the thousands to see Tom Petty warble, so we decided to cap the night at Chevy's with a pitcher of margarita and some chips and salsa. But like many events taking place this weekend, the stars aligned for a near perfect walk home; Petty front-loaded his set and played his three best ("I Won't Back Down," "Free Falling," and "Last Dance With Mary Jane") tunes while we strolled through the back roads of Golden Gate Park in the fading light, in love with Summer and in love with life and in love with each other.