According to the schedule, Saturday had the potential to be a huge day. It would also mean that there’d be a lot of walking, hitting all corners of the park. First up was David Gans at the Camping Stage at noon. Some people know David from his creation and hosting of the “Grateful Dead Hour”, which started back in 1985, and others know him as the host of “The Golden Road” on Sirius radio. Others know him from his various books, which include Playing in the Band: an Oral and Visual Portrait of the Grateful Dead, and Talking Heads: The Band and Their Music. He’s also an accomplished musician and songwriter and musical institution in the Bay Area. David played some Grateful Dead songs, such as New Speedway Boogie, Ship of Fools, Terrapin Station and Bird Song, as well as his own songs, The Bounty of the County, Down to Eugene and The Minstrel, which he dedicated to Jerry Garcia.
After that, we wandered over to the Moonshine Stage to see our old friends, Family Groove Company. They had brought a horn section along this time, which added a lot to fill out their sound. As always they attracted a huge crowd of enthusiastic fans, several of which were sporting the iconic “What Would Janis Do” t-shirts, referring to FGC’s bass player, Janis Wallin. As they were winding down their set, we hit the VIP tent to refresh ourselves, and there we ran into Wavy Dave from Cornmeal and Vinnie Amico of moe. who were refereeing a beer pong tournament. Caravan of Thieves was playing on the tiny VIP stage.
We made it back to the Moonshine Stage in time to catch ALO, which is currently touring in support of their new album Sounds Like This. ALO treated us to some new tunes like Speed of Dreams and old classics like Try and Plastic Bubble. We left before the set ended, headed over to the Church to catch the Guitar Workshop, hosted by Al Schnier of moe. This year that participants of the Workshop were Marcus Rezak from Digital Tape Machine, Adam Lewis of Family Groove Co., Fuzz from Caravan of Thieves, David Gans and Chuck Garvey of moe. About half way through the hour long clinic, Lebo from ALO showed up, having just finished their set on the other side of the park. The group of guitarists jammed a little, and then took some questions related to improvising and playing with other guitarists, as well as questions related to their equipment. To wrap up the session, they performed a jam based on the classic song, Crossroads, where every musician played a lead.
Next on the agenda was G-Love and Special Sauce over at the Sunshine Stage. During this set, we were treated to a sit-in by Warren Haynes. The Sunshine Stage is appropriately named because there is absolutely no way to get out of the sun. So, after we had broiled a little, we made our way over to the Moonshine Stage, where Gov’t Mule was setting up. We’d located an area with a little shade, so we were able to stop the baking process. Mule was great, and played an excellent setlist, highlighted by Gameface, Trampled Under Foot, The Other One, Hunger Strike > Dear Mr. Fantasy > Hunger Strike, closing their set with the Door’s When the Music’s Over.
Unfortunately, there was an overlap in the schedule and we missed the first Umphrey’s McGee set over at the Sunshine Stage. This set featured The Floor, Bridgeless, Utopian Fir, August, and 1348. Moe. came on at the Moonshine Stage and performed: Wind It Up, Big World, Ricky Martin, CaliforniA, and Moth. Then they invited Warren Haynes (quickly becoming the hardest working guy at Summer Camp), to play Happy Hour Hero. They wrapped up the set with White Lightening into George.
Back to the Sunshine Stage for Umphrey’s second set we went, this one went as follows: Hurt Bird Bath, Comma Later, Nothing Too Fancy, Rush’s Tom Sawyer, Triple Wide, Hangover and 1348 reprise to close out the second set. They wrapped it all up with All In Time as the encore.
OK, we’re running low on gas, but we make it back to the Moonshine Stage to catch what will be our final performance of the day; moe’s second set. This must’ve been the only thing going on, because there must’ve been 20,000 people there. They played an energetic setlist, with an incredible laser show. The setlist: The Road, Paper Dragon, Haze, Shoot First, Meat, Billy Goat, with a Plane Crash Encore.
With the Pre-Party and the first two days in the history books, we’re three quarters of the way through the festival. We wait all year for this event, and unfortunately, its passes too quickly. Tomorrow is the final day, and from the looks of the schedule, it will be another great one.