Monday, August 6, 2007

A chance encounter with Richard Branson

Chelsea and I found that we have a lot more in common than not when it comes to the music we heard and sights we saw.

The day was just as hot as predicted, but when the breeze was blowing and the music was playing everything was alright. Many people who hear the phrase “rock concert at the Pimlico infield” will have a vision of the mayhem that is the Preakness infield. The Virgin Music Festival is nothing like Preakness.

The infield was transformed into an amazing village, with quality food vendors, great beverages, interesting art installations, special domes to chill out and re-charge, and of course lots of music. I’ve been to many concerts and more than a few festivals and I have to say this one is the best I have ever attended.

The local organizer of the festival, I.M.P. of Bethesda, also owns the 9:30 Club and books all the shows at Merriweather. They’ve learned many lessons over the years and had plenty of bathrooms, enough concessions that lines were never too long and an amazing array of attractions beyond the music on the main stages. The sound was perfect, the video displays were huge, the crowd was well behaved (and, by the time the Police came on, nearly exhausted). It was a long hot day in the sun.

Here are some quick takes on the music from Chelsea and I.

Amy Winehouse:

Chelsea: She was stoned, or drunk or something, I swear she lip-synced“Rehab.”
Gail: My God she’s skinny. Get that girl a sandwich.

Chelsea: I like ‘em! They have a new fan.
Gail: Honestly, I was surprised; I'm not going to go home and crank it up but not too bad.

LCD Soundsystem:

Chelsea: Loud! But a lot of fun.
Gail: Very Loud… I like my electronica served chilled, thank you.

The Beastie Boys:
Chelsea: Yo Yo Yo I didn’t know they were rappers.
Gail: I had to get away from all the yelling. I love “Fight for your Right to Party” but needed to get away…

International Velvet:

Chelsea: Boring. Go back to the granola factory.
Gail: Ahhhhhhh at last! Mommy can dance to the chill vibes of the sitar, tabla and bass! No Thievery corporation this year, but we found this gem on the tiny little Green Spot stage – the exact opposite end of the field and the musical spectrum from the Beasties.

The Police:
Chelsea: Yeah! They were good, everybody was having a lot of fun and knew all the words to every song – that was cool.
Gail: What a joy! A little wear on Sting’s voice at the start but he warmed up fast and we all helped! The music was amazing! We danced together, don’t tell Chelsea’s friends…

The best parts for the day for both of us was the people-watching, whether it was the costumed performers wandering around or just the attendees with wild tattoos or cool clothes. All the “extras” made it special.

The #1 surprise was seeing Richard Branson, founder of all things Virgin (records, mobile, airlines, megastore and festival) walking in the crowd shaking hands and chatting! A Knight of the British Empire, the billionaire Sir Richard Branson was right there. We both agreed that was the coolest thing on the hottest day.

-GAIL CLOUGH, Daily Record marketing


Aaron Meisner said...

I thought the Police were a bit ponderous--three-and-a-half minute songs have no business being stretched to seven minutes when you have a deep catalog like the Police. But the Beasties were awesome. Tight, loud, and fast. And sporty in those three button suits. I posted some (very lousy) video at my Mt. Washinton

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