Ah, modern technology… Apparently this did not post a few weeks back… so better late than never… Enjoy!
There are many things one can do on a golf course… Caddyshack, anyone?
I usually shank or hook… lay my balls out in the tall grass… or a hazard… or on the beach for a nice, sandy suntan… and yes, sometimes even for a lovely swim in the water. And yet, strangely, as long as the back holds out, it is still a joyous game… mostly. Okay, maybe not that often… It is when you are not cursing and complaining and talking about how frustrating a game it really is…
Of course, a good cigar and a flask of some really nice Scotch seem to go a long way… as does the location of the course. Hawaii or Pebble Beach overlooking the ocean does not suck.
So on Saturday, Sept. 3 a bunch of us grabbed our clubs (not really) trekked out to Westlake Village, CA… Okay, yes it is ten minutes from my house… and checked into the Bluesun Music Festival’s Innaugural Event.
We were not actually ON the golf course… probably a much safer bet from a divot and destructive point of view… but on the Driving Range, a place I seem to have much more success. It always works better in practice than in theory, right?
So how did I drive? Well… Let’s just say this was not the easiest of shots.
Were there glitches? Yes. Food trucks ran out of food… only one out of eight wine vendors showed up… and there were other things I won’t mention here… as I’d like this to be purely about the music.
But… I would most definitely like to give special shout outs to Kale from Monster, a phenomenal line of audio products, and all the folks from DeLiese Cellars, who really stepped up when faced with thirsty crowds. Also, thanks to Linda and Matt from the Festival who were doing all they could.
But let jus discuss the music… sweet music.
For those who do not know Grammy nominated Strunz & Farah, allow me to introduce them. Check this live performance from 2013 out!!! They are guitar virtuosos who play some of the most enjoyable “World” music I have ever heard. Their styles and influences include Flamenco, Latin, Middle Eastern, Jazz and World Fusion. This makes sense since Jorge Strunz was born in Costa Rica, and Ardeshir Farah, comes from Iran.
I remember getting into them at college and thinking I was so sophisticated! 1992’s Américas is my personal favorite.
Some sound issues and a less than attentive crowd did not deter them, and they played a blistering set… that would also stand as an incredible guitar master class.
The amazing actor, Robert Davi was on next and sounded great on a whole slew of standards. What a showman!
Then came the incomparable Michael McDonald. The last time I saw him play out here his voice was shot and I was afraid that his iconic pipes might be gone for good, but he sounded amazing. From the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan to his great solo records, his voice is one of the most unique in all of rock… that rich and resounding rasp that just cuts through the din and goes straight to the rhythm and soul. Mmm! He covered almost all of what we wanted to hear and got the crowd to their feet and dancing.
Some of the issues of the day began to fade… Not disappear… but fade. Good music is definitely a soother.
Covers of “What The World Needs Now Is Love” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” along with monster hits: “Sweet Freedom”, “Minute By Minute”, “What A Fool Believes” and “Takin’ It To The Streets” had us all singing along and up on our feet. Music DEFINITELY does that!!!
Headliners Hall & Oates played a way too short set, but covered many of the songs we wanted to hear, though NOT “Kiss On My List”. Hey, it’s a testament to a band that they can have so many hits they cannot play them all.
They also sounded great and really seemed to be enjoying themselves… and watching John during the sax solos was a lot of fun. Seeing musicians take such pride and joy in watching other musicians, especially when they are sharing the same stage, is one of those magical moments a live concert can provide… and knowing that an artist or band is still thrilled by the music… their own music… and even songs they have played over and over… is what makes concert going a unique experience. Every show is different, because every audience is different… even if the setlist does not alter much from night to night.
They opened with “Maneater” and in addition to a great cover of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” hit us with “She’s Gone”, “Sara Smile” and of course, “Rich Girl”. This is another band who could have played another hour and still left us wanting more.
There is something magical about an outdoor concert, especially a festival or an all-day affair. Immersing oneself into the music is like receiving an infusion of energy and bliss… a life force. And the fact that this was almost literally in my backyard made it even better… so here’s to hoping the kinks can be ironed out… and that next year is smoother and better.
We need more music… Heck the world needs it now more than ever.