Took me a little bit to get around to writing up this bad boy but below is a little bit of my recount from Outside Lands. Believe it or not, this was my first time attending this festival and now I’m scratching my head wondering why I’ve never actually gone (to be fair to myself, the dates never really lined up for me until this year). My hope is that I don’t miss another Outside Lands. The city, the setting, the experience, the people all made for an amazing weekend.
I decided to get things started a little bit early and book my trip to arrive Thursday night for two reasons, one I wanted to be there Friday morning (I’m not a fan of flying in the day the festival starts) and two, Zedd was playing at The Independent. Seeing him in a venue that only holds 500 people (and that’s one of my top 3 favorite venues, yes please!) just doesn’t happen so there was extra motivation to get to this show. Excited, set to leave Vegas and then it hit, the damn weather in SF delayed ALL flights. Quickly I started thinking I was going to miss the show as my plane was delayed first an hour, then three hours and finally four hours and we were told to deplane. Once off the plane I immediately checked the departure board and boom, flight to Oakland leaving in 9 minutes. Could it happen? Could I really make it? Guess luck was on my side because the gate agent held the door as she was processing my change and off to Oakland I went! Landed, hopped in a cab, $80 later dropped my stuff off, got in another cab and made it to Zedd right on time!
As for the real Outside Lands experience, two words, PAUL MCCARTNEY. This was hands down one of the top musical moments of my life. Watching from front of house and witnessing the 71 year old jam for three hours, no water breaks, silence a crowd at times and create the biggest sing-along in San Francisco, now that was cool. After six failed attempts for all sorts of reasons, I was finally destined to see Phoenix live! And man was it awesome. 35,000 strong at the Twin Peaks stage and everyone going crazy for Thomas Mars and the gang. I can still visualize them playing “Lasso,” it was that good. So many great memories from this trip, here are some of them.
WHO I SAW:
Friday: Naia Kete, Midi Matilda, Smith Westerns, Houndmouth, Wild Belle, Band of Horses, twenty one pilots, The National, Zedd, Paul McCartney
Saturday: Atlas Genius, Young The Giant, Jurassic 5, Baauer, Grizzly Bear, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoenix, Nine Inch Nails
Sunday: The Easy Leaves, Kopecky Family Band, Rudimental, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Foals, The Head and The Heart (surprise show in the woods), Hall & Oates, A-Trak, Vampire Weekend, Matt & Kim, Dillon Francis, Red Hot Chili Peppers
My First Show: Naia Kete
My Final Show: Red Hot Chili Peppers
My Moment of Joy: Paul McCartney. This was an absolutely unreal experience. Just look at THIS 39 song setlist
Best Lands End Stage Show: McCartney, hands down nothing could have been better BUT I will say Vampire Weekend crushed it and had a monster crowd
Best Twin Peaks Show(s): Phoenix and twenty one pilots but I’m biased since these were two must see sets. Now Rudimental, they stole the show and my Outside Lands experience (more on that below)
Best Panhandle Stage Show: Kopecky Family Band, had seen them a couple times prior but this performance was just solid
Best Sutro Stage Show: I only made it over there for The Easy Leaves and Kurt Vile (yeah, I missed out on some amazing performances including CHIC which received rave reviews)
Best Overall Show (not being Paul McCartney): Rudimental. Thanks to a friend from London I was told to check them out and boy was he right; I got to catch the beginning of their set and wow was it awesome! If you are not familiar with this troupe, I suggest you start listening to them
Biggest Surprise: See directly above
Best Legend Show: Can Jurassic 5 count for this one? So awesome to see the MCs back together again doing it big and with a massive crowd responding to every rhyme
Random Moment(s) Of Awesomeness: Paul McCartney asking for a moment to take in the scene, The Head and The Heart surprise show in the woods, and that bloody mary on Sunday at a location I won’t disclose was delightful.
Overall Stage With The Best Performances: Lands End had the big ones but I think the shows over at Twin Peaks were all ragers
Most Entertaining Show: twenty one pilots, you never know what’s coming next, those fellas have unlimited energy
Most Disappointing Moment: Missing a plethora of bands I wanted to see just based on schedule conflicts – Willie Nelson, Yeasayer, Rhye, King Tuff, DAWES, Fishbone, Dumpstaphunk
Next Big Thing: Wild Belle, it has got to happen for this brother-sister act, they keep getting better and better live
Perfect Moment: coming over the hill to catch Nine Inch Nails and them busting right into “Closer,” too perfect!
Giving it a shot: Young The Giant, I’ve seen these guys live 7 times, was a bit over them and then I accidentally caught their set and they reminded me why I became a fan in the first place
Top Party: A-Trak, dude just crushed the crowd in the middle of the day
Band I Was Sad To Miss: Yeasayer
Best Intro: Do my intros to friends going to see a band they never heard of count?
What Would Have Been Great: two of me to split myself and see every show
Top Moment: Taking in the surreal moment the first time the entire crowd went dead silent listening to Sir Paul
Best Festival Eats: The Whole Beast’s Lamb Paella
Best Beer Lands Beer: Magnolia Brewery Kolsch
Best Place To Cool Off: Wine Lands
Biggest Waste of Time: thinking taking anything but an Uber (at surge pricing) to get to/from the park was a good idea
Shocker Of The Festival: There was a whole lotta sun (until Sunday)
Worst Part: Scheduling conflicts
Clutch Move: bringing a backpack and having layers for when it got cold
Tip For Next Year: stay a day later and enjoy SF!
More Tips: drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen even if the sun isn’t shining, have comfortable shoes, VIP access is totally worth it, arrive early to take advantage of all the good eats, if you think you’re going to want a blanket or sweatshirt from OSL buy it on day one