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Keller Williams’ Summer Tour Diary
Show Day at Electric Forest
Chillin’ in the Electric Forest
I tried to talk the McCourys into sticking around until dark so they could experience The Forest in all its glory and splendor. They had early flights the next day out of Detroit to get there coveted day off before our gig at Big Top Chatauqua in Northern Michigan. So they split. For me, after SCI was Bassnectar, which provided so much power that my face began to be ripped off my skull. I had to tie a bandana around it just to keep it attached. ‘Twas wompalicious, indeed. Next, was Big Gigantic, who I enjoyed from the comfort of The Forest. Electric Forest—what a great fest. I can only hope to be a part of it again next year.
This would be the first of three shows that week with The Travelin’ McCourys: Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Rob McCoury on banjo, Jason Carter on fiddle and Alan Bartram on bass. Just in case you don’t know, they are the Del McCoury Band without Del. And just in case you don’t know, Del McCoury is a living legend and bluegrass icon. Del and the boys had shows in Missouri on Friday and Taos, N.M. on Saturday. They flew in and hustled to the site and showed up about 90 minuets before our set time. They don’t call themselves the Travlin’ McCourys for nothing. They had just enough time to eat, change and learn a new song. I’m constantly trying to throw new material at them, and they are super pros and open-minded about it. The new songs for the day were: “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer, which had an injection of “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc., performed in a fast bluegrass style (of course, duh).
The set was at 5 p.m., with the sun still way high in the sky. It was hot as balls. You could see a few thousand people who were seeking shade around the perimeter of the Ranch Arena stage. In fact, there was a decent amount of shade to be had, and it looked as if every inch of it was occupied. Another couple thousand brave souls came into the dance space for a closer look and a killer sweat. Some people seemed untouched by the heat and danced their asses off. Others stood there gazing with their mouths open, like they were gonna pass out. This was Sunday, so there was some burned and crispy skin and brains. We blazed through our set like fire through a puddle of gas. We played material off of our new record called Pick, as well as some covers. One song that seems to go over well is “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. That one got the biggest response and should have been the closer. A big topic among band conversations was the amount of bare breasts that were in front of the stage. Some were painted with beautiful artwork. Others had last night’s artwork smeared around, and some were just bare. I’m not sure if The McCourys had seen anything like that before but one thing is for sure: They played the best I had ever heard. Maybe we need bare breasts in front of us at every show—it’s good for lifting spirits!
My spirit needed no lifting as I was so incredibly happy to be playing music and singing with some of the finest musicians and singers on the bluegrass circuit—and probably the planet and even the solar system. After our set, SCI took the stage for a late afternoon/early evening bluegrass set. Ronnie, Rob, Jason and I sat in for a massive cluster pluck. ‘Twas pure bliss indeed. Especially the “Best Feeling” we played—it brought me back to the late ‘90s when I was a regular opening act and would often sit-in with SCI.