The party’s over, the circus has left town, the finale of the 2012 Hard Rock Calling music festival is over and done, and we’re getting so misty-eyed that we can barely see the keyboard. Luckily the powers that be gave us one hell of a parting gift: Paul Simon performing all of Graceland with the original Ladysmith Black Mambazo backing group! It’s hard to feel too bad with music like that swirling in our ears. Rest assured folks, he’s still crazy after all these years.
But we’re getting way too ahead of ourselves. Today was something of a gentler day for the HRC lineup. If yesterday was a competition to see who could rock out the hardest (and loudest), today was more of an exploration of the many different possibilities within music, from country to gospel to african rhythm to reggae and beyond. It was truly a grab-bag in the finest sense: every set was an unexpected winner, full of songs you never knew you loved. There was something of a late sixties NorCal festival vibe in their air when we arrived. The English summer sun was shining, and we saw young women brandishing tambourines wandering the muddy grounds in lacy shirts with daisy chains in their hair (really). Plus we saw some seriously outstanding mustaches, which were definitely worth the price of admission.
We got there just in time to hear Robert Randolph ripping it up on a pedal steel guitar with his Family Band. Part blues, part funk and all awesome, their break-neck jams gave us as badly needed wakeup jolt. “We only got two hours sleep last night!” Robert yelled from the stage in between numbers. So did we Bob, and right now we barely have enough energy to lift a can of Red Bull to our lips! How does he do it?!