This blase lineup of middle-of-the-road rock acts might not have generated too much box office excitement had it been offered as a traditional concert. So organizers crafted a festival-styled daylong event where fans were able to get up close and semi-personal with the musicians.
If you didn’t care to sit under the afternoon sun and listen to Eve 6’s pop-punk on the big stage, you could always go and stand in line for a chance to meet and greet Billy Idol and his guitar player Steve Stevens in one of the nearby tents.
There was also new music from the Go-Gos; Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz explaining his band’s popularity (“We’re just good”) and autograph sessions from Jakob Dylan of the Wallflowers.
The midway area of the outdoor venue was teaming with the kind of corporate household vendors one expects to see at a home show, not a rock show: an instant coffee brand, a local TV cable company and a tobacco company-sponsored smoking tent. More natural offerings, such as jewelry, incense and body art, were nowhere to be found.
The talent rotated among the day’s various promotional duties, and you didn’t have to walk far, for instance, to go from hearing Billy Idol insert the line “this song is so cheesy” into “Cradle of Love” on the main stage to Uncle Kracker and his band performing an acoustic set in the “Star” lounge to members of Eve 6 signing their names on fans’ body parts in autograph tent No. 1.
The Wallflowers’ late-afternoon performance included two guest vocalists, which helped to keep things a little interesting. Duritz and Dylan thrilled the crowd by teaming up during the Wallflowers set for “6th Avenue Heartache”; later, Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins helped on David Bowie’s “Heroes.” The band’s guitarist, bassist and drummer also covered Blur’s “Song 2” while Dylan watched from the side.
Low point was a well-intended but ultimately offensive tribute to Joey Ramone during the Crounting Crows set, when Duritz began singing the words to “I Wanna Be Sedated” during the Crows’ “Round Here.”