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Review by XavierMudbottom
First, I enjoyed that there was an afternoon set. It's not the same as showing up, knowing that you'll be standing there for the next several hours. It was also nice to be able to go back to camp, make some dinner, and put on appropriate clothes (or costumes) before regrouping for the evening's festivities.
The concert field was an incredible space, with Kuroda's skills in evidence everywhere. From the highlighted palm trees, to the moving lights traversing the tents in the rear, it was beautiful. Also, the towers, strung with lights and topped by torches added a great element of extravagance.
In general, the playing at Festival 8 was not the most energetic and powerful of 3.0, compared to when I had seen them at The Gorge in August (I heartily recommend those shows). Still great to get together, all the same.
I'm not a huge Stones fan (I really think they're an overrated pop band), but there is no denying the mastery of songcraft exemplified in Exile. The boys did a great job and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (w/ Saundra Williams) were just what was needed to fully flesh out the tunes.
A note about the Festival as a whole: Overall, it was a great weekend in a great place. Ninety-six songs, more than 13 1/2 hours of music over 8 sets, in 3 days...though to complain. However, it seemed to me that the movie-making had taken over to some degree. In all that time they only covered one song, other than the Exile album, and that was Circus...not really the biggest crowd-pleaser, in my opinion. In fact, I'm a little surprised that no one here has mentioned the glaring omission of Frankenstein from a Halloween show...frankly this hurt me deeply. I kind of felt like the band was sticking to their own catalog because the 3D cameras were rolling, and they wanted to be able to use footage without having to ask permission, or pay royalties, or negotiate those royalties...but maybe I'm reading too much into it. (This sure as hell wasn't a consideration at the Superball! - which coincidentally also had 96 songs, more than 13 1/2 hours of playing, over 8 sets in 3 days)
It was good to be at a festival again (the last one I attended was Oswego '99), but the scene at The Gorge a few months earlier was far less restrictive (and the playing was more unbridled), the scene at The Greek the next summer was far more celebratory, and the overall experience at Superball IX (scene and sound) was simply superior.
One man's opinion.
As I write this, I'm anxiously anticipating the 3-night stand at SPAC this summer. Hope to see you there.