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Stone Ridge RustFest I (August 13, 1996)
Your Host - John Kearney
The Fest Call was put out by John Kearney....
Everyone thinks it's a good idea to meet the day of the concert and I concur. The consensus is to arrive early and meet somewhere in the lot. To avoid traffic congestion in the area, I suggest arriving before 4pm. I'm gonna plan on getting there around 3.
Fest Report(Also see the Show Reviews)
What better way to culminate a Rust Fest than by going to hear Neil ?
Once again, Neil has brought us together. Great vibes were the order of the day.
My party of four arrived at Stone Ridge shortly before 3pm. (Don't call it Nissan!, even Neil, with his passion for things old and venerable, called it "Toyota Pavilion"). We were the first car in the lot, but not for long. We were quickly visited by a pair of gents from New Hampshire, "My 32nd Neil show, his 35th!". I didn't get their names, they didn't stick around. But they saw another great show!
As we were struggling in the wind to set up the tarp we were joined by Union Man (Kevin Woodward), his wife Chipper, and his brother Dave. They promptly set about helping us, and in a short time we had the tarp up and the picnic tables under it and the food and drink flowing. Naturally, as soon as we had finished setting up the tarp, the sun came out. We never did see any rain. But the tarp served as a focal point and gathering place. The Rusties knew where to come. It was easily visible from the lot entrance.
And they came...
The rest of the afternoon was Like A Hurricane, it blew by so fast. People coming, greeting folks they only knew by a handle or an address as if they were Long Lost Friends. Rust is truly a community...
Early on in the afternoon we were visited by pavilion security, who informed us that alcoholic beverages were illegal in the lot and subject to a $75 fine. They warned us that state ABC agents were cruisin' the lot and advised us to avoid drinking from cans, bottles, or clear glasses. But plastic cups were cool. They were understanding and helpful, and caused no hassle. Very cool dudes.
We broke out the guitars and started getting down on some Neil tunes. No one does them better than Shakey. Well, maybe Ram>Rod, (and Neil, of course) but it ain't a competition. Who's got the set list? Cherry sang Knocking On Heaven's Door for Jerry. I remember doing Big Time, Hey Hey My My, F*ckin' Up, Cortez, Down By The River, Cowgirl In The Sand, Rocking In The Free World, Sugar Mountain, what else? Come on help me out here...
We jammed right on up to show time. At one point we had 5 guitars, a harmonica, miscellaneous percussion instruments and at least 15 voices going. M usicians of note: Shakey, Ram>Rod, Leo, Barry, Sandy, Mike, Steve McPhilmy, Tuk (sp?), and Cherry. Humbly assisted by yours truly. (Sorry if I left anyone out. The old brain cells, uh....)
I remember looking over my shoulder to see 5 guys in pavilion shirts with pooper scoopers sitting on a rock watching us and wondering "Is there a problem?" Nah. They were taking a break and heard about the party under the tarp and cruised on by to check it out. They were digging the jam, as were quite a few other concert goers who happened to pass by and linger a while, start to leave when the song was over, and then come back when we started the next one.
Union Man brought his Polaroid and served as Official Stone Ridge RustFest Photographer. Good job Kevin, and thanks again. Marji took some shots also. Look for the scans on HyperRust soon.
Cherry wrote in her report:
Cherry (who found one of the evening's highlights was the time I spent in the men's room. If you have to ask, you weren't there!)If you weren't there, I'll give you a hint. Clinton didn't. If you were there (I was), thanks for sharing!
The afternoon was over way too soon. The Fest was just shifting into high gear when I checked the time and realized it was time to break things down and pack 'em away. There was no lack of helping hands. We had the food put away, the tarp down and folded, poles collapsed, ropes wrapped and packed, stakes pulled, and the area cleaned spotless in 10 minutes. All to the tunes of the on-going jam. To all who helped, a great big
THANK YOU !!!Everyone was in the proper frame of mind to go see Neil. The RustFest wasn't over, we just moved it into the pavilion. What better way to culminate a Rust Fest than by going to hear Neil ?
There have already been plenty of show reports. What else can I add ? It was great, I only sat down once to check the levels, then spent the rest of the night standing, swaying, rockin', and occasionally levitating. (Well it _felt_ that way!) Some highlights:
Big Time: Neil sang "I'm still living the dream we had, for me it's not over." And I couldn't help but think of the spirit of Rust that afternoon under the tarp, and I realized that there's still some of us for whom the dream is not over either.
F*ckin' Up: Neil and the Horse had so much fun with this one that my face hurt from smiling so much.
Like A Hurricane: wrong, wrong, wrong. It was not like a hurricane, it was a hurricane, of lights and sound and energy, a physical and mental assault. Music broken down to it's most powerful and elemental forces. Neil broke every string on Old Black and still got music out of it afterwards. Even Hendrix needed strings on a guitar, but not Neil. Feedback, physical assault, and flagellation never sounded so good.
Intro to Cortez:
"...sometimes I stayed out too late when I was going to high school you know and I, I was staying up way too late one night and I ate six hamburgers or something. I felt terrible. Very Bad. Before McDonalds, and it was really bad. I was, I was hurling in my bed, and y' know I was studying history, and in the morning I woke up and I had written a song. I never told anybody else that."Prisoners Of Rock'n'Roll: They had my face hurting again. %^) %^) %^)
Dangerbird: sent shivers chills and thrills up and down my spine.
Roll Another Number: the harmonica solo was spontaneous. He didn't wear the holder, just reached back and grabbed it all of a sudden and played it just like it was Old Black. incredible.
Neil appeared healthy, energetic, and relaxed. I wonder how much his recent experience with Rusties in Charlotte and Atlanta had to do with his openness last night. There were plenty of MORE BARN t's in the front rows, and Union Man made sure that Neil and The Horse saw Rust@Death signs whenever the house lights came up. And the ECHOS signs made another appearance. I saw Neil see the signs and shirts and smile.
And it was over... too soon. I was completely energized by the experience. I was ready to go back out to the lot and party for the rest of the night, but wiser heads prevailed. The hard core reconvened the RustFest in the lot afterwards. I remember Memory County Jail & son James. James is 17, and this was his first Neil show. They came down from Boston for the Fest and show. Afterwards the light of Neil was in James's eyes and he had a great big grin on. I didn't have to ask how he liked the show, it was written all over his face. Another 2nd generation Rusty !
Long goodbyes with everyone, hugs, kisses, the handshakes of true friends. And for some, on to the next Rust Fest and the next show.
May the Horse be with you!
Long Lost Friend
Postscript, by Memory County Jail (Jim Chiarelli)
Well, I unsubbbed on Monday swearing I wouldn't log back on till after Labor Day as there is just no time with the whole family trying to get ready to head off to my field site in the Caribbean for 2+ weeks. But after attending the Stone Ridge show and the magnificent RustFest, I had to get back on it just to see if I could catch a few posts about it. It being after midnight now (we returned home from DC earlier this evening), I thought I must have missed any Stone Ridge posts but no sooner do I re-sub, there are John Kearney's and Too Far Gone's and The Junkie's Wife's notes!
James (the Lad) and I arrived at Stone Ridge comparatively late, around 5:30 PM, after spending the day doing the tourist thing at the Smithsonian (spent the afternoon with a buddy of mine in the back rooms and labs of the Anthropology Department checking out 12,000 year-old Paleoindian Clovis and Folsom spear points -- how fitting for the Broken Arrow Tour...)
When we arrived the RustFest was in full swing. Music played, some homebrew and store-bought flowed, there was much back-slapping and many astonished looks as faces were attached to names and handles. It was really wonderful to meet the gang! I know I didn't get to talk to everyone, having arrived so close to show time, but it was really nice meeting and chatting with Ram>Rod, The Junkie's Wife, Too Far Gone, Randy Schechter The Tree Director, Powderfinger the Human Neil-Tour-Date-and-Venue Encyclopedia, Cherry, Dead Man, Thrasher, Shakey, Julio, Youngster, Wesman, and on and on (sorry to have left anyone out). Truly an impressve assemblage!
And it was all topped off with a Splendid NY & CH show. Last time I saw Neil & The Horse was almost exactly 20 years ago, as Powderfinger helped me determine. And prior to that, I had seen Neil once or twice -- the Time Fades Away tour for certain in New Haven and I'm pretty sure I saw a solo acoustic performance before that, but it's kind of fuzzy (hey, there's only so much even a data machine like Powderfinger can do with what were, at the time, Tequila-sodden brain cells). Anyway, by any standard, this was a terrific, energized, take no prisoners, show. Dangerbird was a real surprise, as was Prisoners of Rock n' Roll.
James and I were so happy to have had the opportunity to catch one show -- our hearts sank when the tour dates were announced and it became clear that we'd be away when Neil was to play Boston/Great Woods. And we have John Kearney to thank for hooking us up with two tickets to Stone Ridge. Thank you again, John! Long may you run!
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