Ahem, the Voodoo Experience Music Festival.
The Pogues: alternately sublime and sad. Shane MacGowan is going to be dead soon. He is a terrible alcoholic, a bloated, pale, shambling, mess. The rest of the band is tight, fierce, and brilliant. Shane stumbles on stage every third song or so and slurs his way through a tune. He's got a handler who walks him on stage, gives him a lit cigarette and the microphone, and makes sure he doesn't fall down. Awful. Honestly, they're better without him. Obviously they put up with him because the drunk yobs in the audience are all about how hilarious the drunk is, but the yobs are young enough to have never seen a man drink himself to death. Overall, they were brilliant, and I love the band, but the other singer is, frankly, better. Also, he was in a temper, and it put a sharp edge on their performance that I kind of enjoyed. Also, they had a hot accordion player in velvet pants. I mean, smokin' hot bald guy with an accordion. Whoda thunk?
Squirrel Nut Zippers: Listened from outside the tent while chatting with a friend I hadn't seen in way too long. They sounded excellent, but I can't say I paid a ton of attention.
Flaming Lips: Holy frijoles, what a freakin' spectacle! Psychedelic from the get-go, lights, screens, people dancing in furry animal costumes, confetti, Wayne Coyne in an inflatable ball, smoke machines, bullhorns, yes, and yes, and yes. I could've taken hours more of it. They played Yoshimi, and Do You Realize, and the Yeah Yeah Yeah song, and some new stuff, and they were terrific.
Meat Puppets: ROCK! SHOW! They played in the Bingo tent, so it felt like a rock show in a club. They were amazing. They were loud. Curt Yearwood is one of the best guitarists I have ever heard. Sometimes I forget how much brilliant noise a three-piece band can make. They fucking rocked it. SO good. It helped that the douchebags were all at the Lenny Kravitz stage. Not that Lenny's so bad, but you know, his audience? Not so much. It was intimate, and punk rock, and just so fucking good.
I caught a few minutes of Widespread Panic because they were on the opposite stage while the Flaming Lips were setting up, and man o man are they some boring stinky hippies. Jeebus. So boring. Allow me to share with you my Widespread Panic story. About, oh, a decade ago, the Squidophile and his friend K wanted to go to Jazz Fest and see Widespread. I tagged along, thinking, well, I'm just going for the food, really. Widespread had TWO lots at Jazz Fest, which is really unusual, and totally undeserved if you ask me. So we're watching Widespread and I'm eating this great veggie pita from the African food stand, and when my food is gone I am booooooooooored. I mean, yawn, right? So I ask K and the Squidophile: is this more interesting if you're high? And they're like, well, let's find out! So they spark it up (I do not indulge. Jez no like the weed). I wait ten or fifteen minutes and say, so? Is it better if you're high? And they're all, "No, we're just too stoned to want to get up and go away." Aha! I see it now: the entire appeal of Widespread Panic is that their audience is too high to leave.