Nestled deep in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival invites music fans worldwide to jump down the rabbit hole. The three-day extravaganza featured seven stages and more than 80 acts, ranging from comedy sketches to cooking demonstrations to good ol’ fashion rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions.
Kacey Musgraves kicked off at the Sutro Stage on Friday, bringing a little southern charm to the West Coast with a twangy rendition of “Silver Lining” alongside her denim-clad band. The small but mighty singer kept the crowd twirling during “Blowin’ Smoke,” then slowed it down with a banjo-led performance of her hit “Merry Go ‘Round.”
Tedeschi Trucks Band kept the folks at the Sutro Stage alive and kickin’ later that evening. With funky brass rhythms, a white-hot fusion of slide guitar solos and blues-rock vocals between husband-and-wife duo Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, the band dove right in with fan favorites like “Made Up Mind,” “Midnight in Harlem” and “The Storm.”
The Arctic Monkeys stirred things up with their distinct classic rock/modern indie sound that makes you shake your hips. They played the gritty hit, “Do I Wanna Know?” as they took the Twins Peaks Stage by storm that night. The British rockers gave the crowd a varied sampling of their discography with other hits, including “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor,” “Old Yellow Bricks” and “R U Mine?”
The raw vocals and folk-grunge sounds of Deer Tick attracted a large crowd at the Sutro Stage on Saturday afternoon, with a set that fans hoped could last forever. The Rhode Island alternative rockers gave spirited, heartfelt deliveries of their classics including “These Old Shoes,” “Baltimore Blues No. 1” and “Twenty Miles.”
Intergenerational icon and music legend Tom Petty delivered the performance of the weekend on Saturday night, proving that his raw talent and showman’s edge are not soon fading. Along with the Heartbreakers, Petty busted out all of the stops with soulful harmony and psychedelic guitar solos during “Free Fallin’,” and other favorites including “U Get Me High,” “Refugee” and “American Girl.” Petty also paid tribute to Jerry Garcia on the anniversary of his death by playing the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil.”
Sunny skies and a warm breeze welcomed fans to the festival grounds on Sunday, while Irish rockabilly artist Imelda May got the crowd rocking at the Lands End Stage with her throaty vocals and whirling tambourine on songs like “Big Bad Handsome Man,” “Mayhem“ and “Johnny Got a Boom Boom.” Spoon took over the stage later that afternoon to deliver some favorites along with new hits, including “Don’t You Evah,” “Rent I Pay” and “I Turn My Camera On.” Over at the Sutro Stage, Ray LaMontagne dove deep into the versatility of his rugged voice with aged hits “Trouble” and “Burn,” and turned things up a notch with tunes from his new album, including “Supernova.”
Even after a long weekend of festivities, the Killers brought everyone to their feet and filled the grounds with singing faces as soon as they struck the first chord of “Mr. Brightside.” Their energy was palpable and fans’ voices could be heard for miles during the songs “Smile Like You Mean It,” “Runaway” and “When You Were Young.” The band also did spot-on covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” and Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” to pay a special tribute to San Francisco and Outside Lands 2014 – a festival that will surely go down as one of the greatest of the year.
Keep an eye out for next summer’s line-up now, y’hear? This is not one you’ll want to miss. ‘Til then!
– Jessie Lingenfelter
All Photos: Ana Gibert