Kings of Leon may have been the headlining act of the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival this weekend in San Francisco, but never count out the old dog on the block: Al Green jumpstarted the lethargic (and possibly hungover) concertgoers with a rousing set on the main stage halfway through Sunday.
"You looking good baby," he told the crowd with his mischievous flair. Right back at ya', Al! Only someone as cool as Mr.Green can get away with the corny move of carrying a fistful of red roses while singing "Let's Stay Together."
Though the sound system was bizarrely muted at times, his love of (and talent for) showmanship shined through. The grand uniter of generations, Mr. Green brought together the eclectic audience filled with every type of music lover from teenage metal heads, Grateful Dead devotees, plaid-wearing hipsters, and classic rockers.
Earlier, with our legs still throbbing from the day before, we skipped the VIP lounge (now deemed 'faux-VIP' thanks to its overpriced drinks and lack of munchies) and went straight for the Chase Freedom Lounge and its bountiful stock of wine, beer, M&M's, and food. It was truly the envied oasis of the festival which, despite its abundance of branded tents, was lacking in venues geared to enhance the concert-going musical experience.
To our pleasant surprise, we caught the band Dawes hanging out in the outside lounge (open to Chase Freedom customers who redeemed their Ultimate Rewards points for Outside Lands tickets) relaxing in the sun an hour before their awesome set. (Check out RadarOnline.com's review of their performance: Band To Watch: Dawes)
Another fun lounge-related moment: while we missed the check presentation earlier in the day, Chase Freedom handed over a $30,000 check to the San Francisco Parks Trust to provide full financial support for the planting of 40 London Planes trees in Golden Gate Park after some were vandalized earlier this summer. Anyone who has ever been to Outside Lands knows that the looming presence of the trees gives the fest a worlds-away experience that is unparalleled so keeping up the atmosphere is key. The Strokes concert last night would not have been the same minus the mystical affect of giant trees illuminated in soft purples, reds, and greens.
Early in the afternoon, Amos Lee brought his unplugged treatment of modern R&B to a solid gathering on the Land's End stage. His confident performance proved he is an act worthy of such prominent festival space.
As the sun began to dip, Phoenix drew a headliner-worthy audience. The area in front of the stage teemed with enthusiastic fans who screamed when their hit "1901" blared over the speakers.
Last but not least: Kings of Leon and Empire of the Sun close out the festival at the Lands End and Twin Peaks stages respectively.