Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Jun 17th 2008 3:00PM by Drew Katchen
No doubt, after two days, it's already become the stuff of legend. If you were there, you saw God (more on that in a minute), and even if you weren't there, you're telling everyone you were. Well done.
Either way, you probably know that New York's current golden group wasn't the real star of the incredibly packed event. It didn't matter that Vampire Weekend hadn't played a proper show in Manhattan since January, or that it was their largest New York headlining gig. Nope, Mother Nature wouldn't be outdone on Saturday. With three separate waves of an intense, torrential downpour (one such wave pounded the stage as Vampire Weekend worked through their set, soaking the band's entire front line -- guitarist/singer Ezra Koenig, keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij and bassist Chris Baio), the rain is surely what everyone's mentioning before they talk about how good the four Columbia grads were. And Vampire Weekend was good (as were openers Born Ruffians and Kid Sister); It's just that Mother Nature was far more memorable.
When the band finally took the stage (after Summerstage employees swept the rainwater), the soaked-to-the-bone crowd had been granted reprieve: the rain had let up and the sun had even peaked back out through the ominous clouds. All seemed well. There'd be no more delays.
The good-natured Koenig thanked the crowd profusely for staying around before the band started up with 'Mansard Roof,' the wobbly opening track from the group's debut record. The early notes and Koenig's breezy lines "I see a Mansard Roof through the trees" seemed to revive all the waterlogged people, and relieve the sadness folks may have felt from having their cell phones or cameras die from water infiltration. The audience sang all the words back to him with abandon.
And then it happened again. The rains that caused flights to be delayed six hours at JFK and the rains that led to a temporary evacuation at R.E.M.'s Jones Beach concert, came for the Vampire Weekend show. Thunder drowned out the band, and repeated bolts of lightning made everyone's heart skip. But however wise or unwise, the band soldiered on, rounding out their set with a string section, a Tom Petty cover that featured the show's host, Andrew WK, on guitar and a cathartic version of 'Walcott,' the spiky, piano-laced rager with lyrics about escaping Cape Cod.
At one point in the song, Koenig pointed West as he sang the lyrics "...all the way to New Jersey, all the way to the Garden State." Many in the audience hooted and hollered. One thing's certain: Mother Nature heard 'em.