The lead into Monday night couldn’t have been better. The vicious heat wave mercifully had abated and Jack Johnson played at Sandstone. That combination made for one sweet summer night.
The show was amazing. The first ninety minutes were virtually non-stop. Sporting his new longer-haired look, Johnson’s show was much more electric than past shows. The night had a much more upbeat feeling, but the music was still deeply rooted in the heart of an artist very much in love with his wife, his children, his life and his desire to make the world a better place for all. 100% of all profits from Johnson’s 2010 tour are being donated to important environmental causes.
There is no time for pretense in a Jack Johnson show. The stage was simply set, lighting was straightforward. The sound was always dead on perfect. Keeping things uncomplicated is a Johnson trademark. The music just flowed like an endless set of waves.
ALO kicked off the show followed by an acoustic set by G. Love. Both opening acts along with singer Paula Fugga joined Johnson for a few tunes. G. Love’s wailing harmonica added real flavor to two Johnson classics. As usual, Johnson’s encore was a solo acoustic effort save for the finale in which all artists took the stage. The good feelings coming from the stage were contagious. If my kids had been around I’d have given them big hugs sure to embarrass them. I’d have wrestled around with our dog Rocket then climbed into bed and “spooned” my wife safe in the embrace of the soul soothing music Johnson delivers.
Sadly, the entire setting of the show didn’t give off that mellow vibe. We are caught in the middle of a problem. Dedicated music fans now have standing room positions near the stage at Capitol-Federal Sandstone. That took away prime seating for us at recent shows, but we have no problem with those hard-core music lovers. We just don’t want to stand that long anymore. And, sorry, my years of sitting on the hill have been officially over for several years.
What we were left with was being surrounded by a bunch of late 20, early 30 year-olds intent on being seen and paying attention to themselves more than the music. Between constant trips to the bathroom followed by another round of giant beers, their time was spent waving and shouting at friends in other sections or standing directly in our way carrying on mindless conversations.
Some of the best parts of a live show are often the opening acts. We tried to give them our attention and support amidst a growing drunken group that really didn’t care even about the main act as witnessed by how many left the show early. Since, we don’t imbibe and barely drink beer anymore, I’ll take the old days of heavy dope smoking and the mellowness that brought to the crowd over the drunken zoo we sat amidst Monday.
Happily, and sadly, the economic impact can be clearly seen at concerts this summer. A friend that ushers the shows told us the Johnson concert was going to be one of the fullest of the summer but far from sold out. We found seats in another section that gave us some room to stretch out. I snuggled up to my black-eyed beauty as the music washed over us.
The evening ended with this wonderful thought: “Love is the answer at least for most of the questions in my heart, like why are we here? And, where do we go? And, how come it’s so hard? It’s not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s so much better when we’re together.”
Better together indeed.