Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gathering of the Vibes, Friday Night Report 8-10-2007

Gathering of the Vibes, Friday Night Report 8-10-2007

I was at the show tonight, and I just heard Deep Banana Blackout's second encore finish the show at 12:58 a.m. Through the magic of public radio station WPKN 89.5, I heard the finale from the comfort of my nice dry home which is just 30 miles from the Bridgeport, CT, Seaside Park locale of the show this year. We beat the traffic outta there and were able to listen to DBB's set on the drive home.

Deep Banana Blackout was proudly introduced onstage tonight, by the Mayor of Bridgeport, John Fabrizi. DBB only does a few of gigs a year these days, but they wouldn't miss Gathering of the Vibes, especially when it has come back to their old hometown. "Welcome to our 'hood" as Jen Durkin said from the stage. Their show tonight was a "Tribute to the Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Biz, James Brown!" And it could not have rocked funkier!

Before that George Clinton and P-Funk rocked the house. Deep Banana channels funk, but George C. invented it. His band was tight, and loose, hot and cool, earthy and outer spatial. He brought the heat on this clammy night.

Friday afternoon and evening's bands were stellar: Dickie Betts ended his set with "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and it sounded better than some Allman Brothers versions. Mickey Hart and his all star band were musical and danceable.

Today was rainy and downright cold, with temperatures in the high 50's, down from 95 yesterday. But the rain didn't dampen the Vibes crowd. This was my third Gathering of the Vibes, and it's rained some the last 2 years too, though on Saturday night, not Friday like this year. Anyway this crowd expects it and handles it without a whine. And just has a great time, no matter the weather.

And what's not to like? A friend compared this gathering's vibe to the true summer of love of 1966, as opposed to the commercial summer of love in 1967. The crowd is groovy and mellow, the sound system is awesome, the bands that play are incredible and mean every note they play, the food court keeps us well fed. So what if a little rain falls.

The big screen has the projected images from the stage visible on both sides (!) so you can actually sit on the sea wall with the offshore breeze licking your back, and hear and see the show just fine. Mariaville, up in the countryside by Albany, NY, where the show was held for the last couple of years, had many charms, but it didn't have the ocean!

The only bit of a drag this year is that the campground was filled up by Sat. So if you had purchased camping tickets and arrived after the campground was filled, you can still camp, but you will have to move your gear from your car in the parking lot, by shuttle bus, to the campground, and it may take more than one trip. Camping next to the car at Indian Lookout at Mariaville was much easier.

Tomorrow and Sunday's weather forecasts online are showing the smiling sun face that we love to see. But it was worth braving the weather today to see some of the finest bands scheduled in this 4 day festival. Cheerio!

See photos and article on Gathering of the Vibes 2006 here

See photos and article on Gathering of the Vibes 2005 here

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