Stagecoach Journal Continued...
Waking up on Saturday wasn’t all that pretty. I think it was mostly dehydration and fatigue from working most of the day, driving several hours and then standing in a field watching the Eagles (staying up until 3:30AM and drinking might have had a little to do with it). There were eight of us staying in the house, and fortunately the bedrooms were spread out, so we didn’t wake each other up (tell that to Matt who was sleeping on the couch). Fortunately we had some bacon and eggs which helped me come around. I started feeling pretty good after a dip in the pool.
I was pressuring everybody to get moving because I wanted to see Ryan Bingham on the Palomino Stage at 3:30. Non-commercial, young performers were scarce on the lineup this year, and I’d been hearing good things about him. When we didn’t leave until 3:20, I was pretty nervous. My fears were unfounded. Our house was damn close to the festival grounds and we had a VIP parking pass. The drive took us about two minutes, we scored a great parking spot and a golf cart chauffeured us to the Palomino Stage. Effortless festival going does not suck….
Ryan Bingham’s a gravelly voiced singer from Austin. His debut album was produced by Marc Ford (former guitarist for the Black Crowes) and released on Lost Highway late last year. I haven’t heard the record yet, but the live performance made me add it to my list. His voice is rugged, the music’s fast and the songs make you want to drink bourbon. Ford joined him onstage for some ferocious guitar licks and slide guitar. He’s definitely an artist to keep your eye on. (I heard great things about Hayes Carll who played before him.)
After Bingham, we just started wandering the festival grounds. There are some major differences between Stagecoach and Coachella. For one thing, they have a barbeque contest. This year, Stagecoach only had three stages, so the barbeque contest was set up where the outdoor stage is at Coachella. You walk up, pay $10 for five tickets and then give your ticket to vendors who provide you with a pretty healthy sample of their barbeque. By the time we got there, a lot of the vendors were out of food, but we still got some good stuff.
Another big difference with Stagecoach and Coachella is that at Stagecoach, you can get hard liquor at any of the alcohol stations (you don’t need a VIP wristband) and you can walk the grounds with alcohol. I’ve been known to enjoy a bourbon and soda from time to time, so it’s a nice benefit to be able to watch a band and enjoy a real drink.
We ventured over to the VIP area to check that out. Packed like Coachella (wasn’t that bad in 2007). So then we went back to the artist relations area to see if there were any free drinks to be had. Heineken Light (came in a can and actually tasted better to me than Heineken).
We’d heard good things about Cherryholmes, so we wandered back over to the Mustang stage. We walked in right as they were talking about the Iraq war. Bummer. The young girl in the band sang some song about bringing her son home alive and it was pretty tough to take. We stuck around for one of the more traditional bluegrass songs, but it was tough to get back in the spirit of it. We stumbled over to the Palomino stage and caught a little bit of Cross Canadian Ragweed. They were dressed pretty ridiculously, so we wandered behind the stage so we wouldn’t have to watch them. Well played southern rock, but ultimately not that interesting.
The main attraction for us on Saturday was Dwight Yoakam. The guy’s a fantastic entertainer and wears tighter jeans than the OC kids at Cinespace on Tuesday nights. Anticipation started to build backstage as security cleared a huge path for him to get from his trailer to the stage. About six security guards/police surrounded him as he ran the 20 feet from his trailer to the stage. So ridiculous, but certainly amusing. Luckily he delivered. The guy has got a great band and a ton of stage presence. He threw in a ton of covers (as usual) but unfortunately didn’t do any Gram Parsons. Oh well.
We tentatively planned to stick around for Earl Scruggs at 9:35. We wandered back over to the VIP area for some free drinks. We caught a little bit of the Judds (why would anyone cover “I Wanna Know What Love Is”?) and then ran into our two friends that we rode over with. One of them was injured and one of them was hammered, so we decided to call it an early night. Rascal Flatts just wasn’t in the cards. We grabbed a golf cart and headed back to the car……
Sunday coverage is coming later…..