This is no ordinary festival, and while it could be labeled as the ‘Coachella of the Bay Area,’ Outside Lands offers cooler weather (though perhaps a bit too cold for some), way better food (BK crew rock star Angelique knows all about the scrumptious and succulent varieties), and this year, Outside Lands catered to the young music audience by featuring up-and-coming-artists like Twenty One Pilots, Pretty Lights and The Wild Feathers. But Outside Lands didn’t discriminate, they also brought the older crowd out (myself included) with headliners like Paul McCartney, Daryl Hall & John Oates, and 90’s glories Nine Inch Nails and Red Hot Chili Peppers. We were in for a ear-pleasing treat.
The first night of the festival was dominated by Paul McCartney. For a first-timer like me, seeing the man – the legend – was beyond magical. You have not truly experienced musical heaven until you get to hear “Live and Let Die” live. At 71, it is hard to imagine that someone can have such stamina and stage presence. But he was that AND charismatic, funny, and…British (who can resist that accent!?). His set, which was almost three hours long (talk about intense cardio session), transported you to the glory of rock ‘n’ roll, minus the fear of a drug overdose. He performed a total of 39 songs, including classics like “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “San Francisco Bay Blues”, “Lady Madonna”, “Blackbird”, “Ob La Di, Ob La Da”, and “Yesterday.” Check out the full set list here. The end of his set included a display of fireworks that would put Fourth of July to shame. It set the bar and tone for what the rest of the weekend was going to be like.
Day two of featured Milo Greene, Atlas Genius, Young The Giant, Jurassic 5, Phoenix, Nine Inch Nails & Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I can safely say that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs stole the show, and maybe a few dozen pairs of underwear (why do people throw that on stage?). There is something about Karen O (lead vocalist) and her fashion sense that draws you in. She’s rocked a full-on reptile costume before, but went with a purple velvet suit with some gold fringe at this show (we’d LOVE to rock that look). She always puts on a great performance that’s both energetic & engaging. And by “engaging,” we mean deep-throating the microphone. She did it a couple of times and generated a variety of laughs and cheers from the crowd. They played “Heads will Roll” and “Zero,” both even bigger crowd-pleasers. At the end of the night, if you weren’t watching Nine Inch Nails and the exuberant Mr. Trent Reznor himself, you were missing out. The highlight of the set was when they performed “Closer,” Ange’s favorite. No one was surprised or disappointed that their encore choice was “Hurt.” Those who withstood the foggy and cold night were in for a treat with the production value that went with the music. We’re talking lasers, neon lights, and maybe a Storm Trooper in there (kidding). Could Sunday possibly top-off the first two days of the festival?
No teaser necessary, yes. Would you ever imagine that Willie Nelson on the same bill as new British singer Emeli Sande? How about Vampire Weekend, or Foals? Or, that you’d get to see them all in the same afternoon? That is precisely what happened during Sunday’s Outside Lands lineup. Surely, more than one bucket list artist was crossed off from everyone’s must see list. And how many people get to say they’ve seen The Beatles (or at least a quarter of them) live? Emeli Sande was a personal favorite of mine. Her vocals were outstanding live. Fun fact: I have been obsessed with her album “Our Version Of Events” for months now, and hearing the songs live brought out the fan girl in me! In other fan girl spirit, I was left wanting more when Vampire Weekend performed a short set. I mean, is there a better song from the album Contra than “Horchata?” Other favorites were “Diane Young,” “Giving up the Gun,” and the always-gets-you-pumped “A-Punk.” Ange was busting some serious white girl moves to these songs (don’t tell her I told you).
The Red Hot Chili Peppers finalized a cold, yet magical three-day weekend. While Anthony, Flea and company are already sporting some grays and fine lines, they are still undeniably the kings of rock. Listening to “Dani California,” “Otherside,” “Snow,” “Under the Bridge,” and “Californication” in the foggy park, dense with colorfully lit-up, made me stop for a second and bask in the moment. Here I am in California, with thousands of other festival goers, listening to some of the greatest bands that ever lived. These are what memories are made of.
By Guest Blogger: Azucena Rasilla
Photos by: Adrian Jusue