To start the first official day of Summer Camp, we were treated to a set by Keller Williams in the VIP Tent. The place was packed and “the joint was jumping”. Keller didn’t have a setlist, so he took requests from the audience. He played some fun tunes, such as Kidney in a Cooler, Gatecrashers Suck, and a couple Dead tune, Eyes of the World and Deep Elem Blues. After the set, he stuck around for a few minutes and took pictures and signed autographs.
Next was moe.’s traditional Festival Opening Set, at the Moonshine Stage. They opened up with Captain America, went into Recreational Chemistry, Deep This Time into Downward Facing Dog, Puebla into Ricky Martin into Seat of My Pants. Their encore was Okayalright. After moe. I headed over to the Church for what was supposed to be a press conference with Dumpstaphunk, but that was running late, so I meandered to the Moonnshine to see Family Groove Company for their second and final set of the festival. They were jamming it out, so I spent about 30 minutes there before heading over to see Medeski Martin and Wood at the Moonshine Stage. They’ve enlarged the festival layout over the past two years to accommodate more people. In real terms what this has done is make it a lot further from the Starshine Stage to the Moonshine stage (not that I don’t need the exercise). Caught the MMW set of funky jazz, then walked down the hill to the VIP tent (right around the corner) for some cheap beer and some more Caravan of Thieves. I really like these guys. They’re fun, they play an interesting blend of music that is referred to as Gypsy Swing, and they travel with a percussion kit that looks like something you’d find in your kitchen. You can find spatulas, cheese graters, whisks, bowls and buckets all set up, creating great music.
After The Caravan set, we moved back to the Moonshine Stage where Yonder Mountain String Band was just setting up. They did a very cool, jammed out style of bluegrass. I think I’m finally getting them. I’m not a fan of bluegrass, but the way Yonder does it, they add a rocked out, jammy feel. I think that these guys are going to continue to raise the bar for themselves musically and creatively, and create a genre of their own. Be on the lookout.
Now we were ready for Umphrey’s first set of the festival. What they lose in the daylight they made up in the setlist. They opened up with No Crying in Mexico into an amazing All In Time into Mantis Ghetts, Nothing Too Fancy into Ringo, EAT, Believe the Lie, Conduit, Comma Later back into the end of Nothing Too Fancy. It was a great set in spite of losing some of the effect that Jeff Waful’s lighting artwork adds.
EOTO was up over at the Moonshine Stage, however, I was too lazy to head over there, so I wandered over to the VIP tent to sit and put my feet up for a little while. After some adult refreshment, we headed back over toward the Sunshine Stage for the second Umphrey’s set. They opened up with Puppet String into Plunger back into All In Time (finishing it from the first set), Sociable Jimmy. Then Dom Lalli from Big Gigantic came out with his sax and played Bright Lights. They closed up the set with Glory into Plunger into Puppet String. I would call that a Club Sandwich with Puppet String and Plunger opening and closing the set. While I didn’t see the whole set, the buzz around the festival was that the encore was Rebubula with members of moe. sitting in. This is the ultimate bustout. The last time Umphrey’s played this song was 6/24/99, a gap of 1737 shows.
I headed over to the Starshine Stage to catch Dumpstaphunk as Umphrey’s was wrapping their set up. Most people moved over to the Moonshine Stage to see STS9, but I like the funk, so it was Dphunk for me. This turned out to be a truly memorable experience. I noticed they played some of their hits, such as Everybody Wants Some, Water, and Dancin’ to the Truth. Victor Wooten came out in the middle of Meanwhile and the jam was incredible. Nick Daniels, Tony Hall and Victor all on bass, with Ian Neville on guitar. Even Ivan Neville came out from behind his keyboard and grabbed a guitar and started jamming. What a sight it was with five great musicians standing at the front of the stage, wailing away on their basses and guitars. The crowd went wild. After the show, Nick Daniels told me he was so impressed with Victor Wooten’s playing that he had to stop playing for a minute to admire his ability. No argument here!
That was just about it for me. A lot of excitement and adrenaline being back at Summer Camp, a lot of great music, and two more days to come. Don’t want to get too far ahead of myself; more to come tomorrow.
One of my favorite gastronomic treats of the day was Minglewood Pizza, in their normal spot at the top of the hill in front of the Moonshine Stage. If you’re not on some vegetarian diet, get the Meat Lovers pizza. It’s made fresh while you wait and served piping hot. If you are avoiding charred animal flesh, enjoy the Veggie Pizza, just as good. The Hawaiian Pizza looked good to. Another winner was the Taco Stand, a couple of booths down from Minglewood. Grab the Lightning Taco, chicken, guacamole cilantro, onions. IT was great, and eay to eat with one hand.
The big winner for the food today was the Cevapcici, (pronounced Che-VOP- Chee-Chee) next to the Taco Stand. This is a Croation creation, a skinless sausage made of beef, lamb and pork, served in a gyro style bread. Get the Avjar sauce on it, it looks spicy but it’s not), and onions. The complete festival package, easily eaten while walking.