I stumbled out of the guest bed of a new friend around 9am on Saturday morning, wired from some combination of sleep deprivation and the day’s prospects. It was the morning of the soundcheck for My Morning Jacket’s performance at what should essentially be known as the “My Morning Jacket Festival” (especially this year, since the band was so involved).
While waiting in the heat for the festival gates to open, we got a little drizzle to cool us off. Nice, I needed that. But while we continued to wait, and wait, the sky turned to a grizzly, ghastly grey. It was going to storm, no doubt about it. A group of over a hundred rabid Roll Callers huddled underneath an interstate overpass waiting for the storm to pass for something like two hours. We got encouraging announcements: “we appreciate your patience” and “you’ll be the first to know,” so we continued to wait.
Suddenly, after a bit of confusion and preparing myself to be disappointed, the band walked out to the overpass. I seriously had one of those “is this real life?!” moments. Someone had jokingly suggested that the band should come out and do an acoustic set – and that’s exactly what they did. An intimate, impromptu performance topped any soundcheck’s intimacy by a long shot. The day certainly got brighter at that moment.
Still incredibly high from that incredible performance, I walked across the street and sat in a local Subway when the downpour started. I armed myself with dollar store trash bags and tried to find some shelter at The Galt House. Needless to say, Mother Nature won and I was completely drenched.
Early that evening I made it back to the fest to check out Dr. Dog. I had always heard great things about them but I didn’t expect in my wildest dreams for them to be so amazing live. It’s very similar to the first experience I had seeing My Morning Jacket. Their live sound just completely blew me away. I feel a bit of Dr. Dog fanaticism rising in my veins. They’re absolutely incredible, even though I only knew about 25% of the songs!
Next was Andrew Bird. I have tried for years to get into his music but unfortunately I never could. No one can deny his incredible passion and musical ability, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea (my apologies again to Bird fans!). Maybe his set felt incredibly long because I wasn’t digging his sound. Maybe it was because of the great amount of anticipation I felt in the hours before My Morning Jacket’s set. Or it could have been the fear and confusion about how the Roll Call/VIP pit arrangement was supposed to work. We were all a little worried about losing out front-row-pit spots. But all ended well.
After a word from “the Captain” of Forecastle and then a word perhaps the coolest mayor in the country, My Morning Jacket took the stage. Hold on to your butts. A certain someone had been hardcore campaigning on both the forum and Twitter to hear “The Dark” as an opener, and....
I knew they’d pull through – and they most certainly did. With an opening note like that, I was more than just a little thrilled about what the rest of the evening would have in store. Surprises, covers, and special guests were all to come. Before the show started, I went around the small group I was standing with and did a survey about which songs everyone was most looking forward to hearing. The band played every one of those damn songs. Even the ones I requested only once using Twitter. If you haven’t yet, check out the setlist. It’s one for the record books.
I certainly was spent again this evening, but it wasn't over yet! We still had an afterparty to go to! Being on a boat on the Ohio River with Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Jim James was just the sprinkles on the icing of the best cupcake of my life. I could not believe how lucky I was to experience such a day with amazing music and incredible friends. Forecastle was certainly an experience like no other, and the memories will live with me for a very, very long time. Forecastle Frenzy Forever! ;)