I know it's late, but I almost forgot to post!
Vancefest 2000: Middletown Springs, VT
Vermont on a Sunday, work on a Monday morning back in Rochester. No problem, right? That's what I figured when I left Syracuse early Sunday morning and drove east for Solarfest. After getting some rather confusing directions from a helpful Information Guy on I-87, and taking the scenic route into Rutland (sorry about that U-Turn, Shannon and Sandy: following my car is fun, isn't it?) we arrived in Middletown Springs at shortly after 1pm. We drove up Daisy Hill Puppy Farm Road (or something like that) and I only lost small portions of my car's undercarriage during the climb. The road was similar to Falconridge's Hilltop Camping road, but rockier and narrower. The festival grounds were nestled on a wooded hill at the top of our route. There seemed to be about four people there.
When we left our cars for the main festival grounds, we could hear Vance Gilbert's voice drifting over the hillside. Great! I hadn't missed him after all. Vance's set was enthralling, as usual, and it was different to hear "King of Rome" from the top of the hill instead of at his feet where I usually try to sit. His voice carries like no other I know. We made it down the hill near the front in time for "When Jimmy Falls in Love," his traditional closer - this was Shannon's first time seeing Vance, and I think she was a bit surprised when he climbed down from the stage to exhort the crowd to sing. When the song was complete he walked away with his guitar on his back, never to be seen again. Yeah, sure.
Vance's successors on-stage were Harmonytryx, an all-female a cappella group from Jersey. I have a pretty low tolerance for female vocalists (several exceptions can be made to this rule) and took advantage of the set to get a bite to eat and a more comfy blanket from the trunk of my car. We settled in for the Nields and the weather was still holding: the afternoon had been overcast, but there was none of the possibly-Vance-induced rain that had accompanied his Clearwater and Falconridge appearances.
Vance tempted fate by introducing the Nields, but the rain stayed away anyway.
The first high spot of the Nields show came when Dave Nields jumped down from the stage with his cordless guitar and wound his way through the audience. At one point he sat down beside two girls who were deep in conversation and didn't notice him: they were VERY startled when they finally turned around! A few more songs (and a Ben & Jerry's for me) and the call went out from the stage: "We hear some Canadian boys are here. Where are they?" There was, in fact, a 'Canadian boy' nearby: Cal, who seemed to be saying "I have no idea where the rest of them are." Since we appeared Fruladless, the Nields launched into "Jack the Giant-Killer" on their own. Just then, two familiar figures appeared on the horizon: Murray and Jian, chatting and strolling towards the stage, were quickly approached by a staffer who hustled them forward in time to join in on the song. We spotted Dave directing the Frubus as it backed into place along the woods. What a relief! Fruvous was due up next and that's the first we'd seen of them. It was getting close to Fruvous's scheduled time of five PM, so the Nields wrapped things up and did a quick encore, then cleared the stage for setup. In between acts an MC came up to thank the sponsors: when he got to the part where he "wanted to thank one very special person who made this festival possible," those of us in the front could hear Vance, backstage, shouting "Awww, thank you very much! Thank you!" The MC just shrugged him off and thanked the real benefactor, but we got a grin out of it.
By now we'd had some rain, but only little sprinkles. Früvous was announced as "Those wacky guys from Canada, eh?" ::::shudder:::: The guys took the stage before the ground got too muddy and mocked their intro for a bit: Dave suggested going by the acronym "TWGFC." Mike had the bullhorn around his neck and Dave had the banjo, so my first thought was that at least they were going to get "Michigan Militia" out of the way quickly so that I could enjoy the show. They tricked me by starting off with "You Shook Me All Night Long," which I heard for the second night in a row - fantastic! I remember AC/DC's "Back in Black" tour, and believe me I like Dave's version better. :D
The mandatory Michi followed. Up next, though, was Jockey Full of Bourbon...and the show took off for me! I remember little else that followed, but the setlist was already posted so I won't sweat the small stuff. The rain fell harder and harder, peaking about 2/3 of the way through the set. Jian kept thanking us for sticking around in such nasty weather, but truth be told it was great fun. Sometimes, a girl just wants to DANCE...despite the muddy rocky dance floor and the little rain-bullets flying from doomed hairdo's. I had a small child of undetermined gender on one side of me and he-or-she seemed a bit distressed by the rain, but when I handed over my umbrella it was politely put aside in favor of more dancing. The kids at this show were fantastic: little blurs of running facepaint.
After "Fly," I noticed Vance walking around backstage. When Früvous went into the King of Spain intro, I had a sneaky suspicion that it wouldn't be Dave coming back on-stage. I have witnesses to this episode of precognition, too! I was right: Vance bounced on-stage with the green hat, and his Rapping KoS was priceless:
"Once I was the King of Spain, I don't know the words to this song, I'll sing anything you want me to, Once I was the King of Spain."
Meanwhile, the lads sang the "Lah De Lah" portion of "When Jimmy Falls in Love" as accompaniment. I looked around quickly: no tapers. Damn! Eventually, though, Vermont's answer to the False Dmitrii left the stage and normalcy, Früvous-style, reigned until the first encore. The Nields came on-stage first, but Vance was not to be left out: he was invited up to join in the "Vance Morrison" tune, "Brown Eyed Girl." He kindly spared Dave's vocal chords by pretty much stealing his mike. :D The rain had mostly cleared by the end of "The Drinking Song," which closed the show about an hour later than the schedule had listed. There were no complaints.
We made a little time to schmooze before heading back. Once we'd said our goodbyes, it was time to drive back west and be responsible citizens, although somewhat later than planned.
I learned several things from this weekend:
1. Do not dance on baseball-sized rocks set on a hillside.
2. Vermont is, despite what the maps say, fairly far from home.
3. Vance Gilbert causes rain.
Just got back from a wonderful (rainy) show. I finally got to see the Nields (who I've fallen in love with) and Vance Gilbert. Woo! It was a blast. Here be rundown (According to Dave's setlist...):
Shook Me Michi Jockey Tureen Sauce MPG Lazy Moon (Unplayed) Pisco Minnie Heat Horse Ash Fly King GEH Author Car Vid
The first encore was Brown-Eyed Girl featuring all the Nields and Vance Gilbert. Second encore was The Drinking Song.
During the King intro, Jian was hyping the king as the Frülads' choice for George W.'s running mate, being conservatives and all... When Mike finally got around to getting the king out, he turned out to be...Vance Gilbert!! (He came out in the hat and all...) I think Vance would have sung the song, but he didn't know the words. It evolved into a "Once I Was The King Of Spain" rap thing. Vance just sang "Once I Was The King Of Spain" over and over again. It was quite silly.
After the show, me & my group of pals were talking to Jian and my friend Colin
told Jian to sign Dave's setlist that I had. I made a crack about how I really
wanted Dave to sign it and Jian took it and wrote "Fuck You" in big letters.
What a crazy guy, eh? Anyway, I've gotta go. I had my wisdom teeth out on
Wednesday and I'm a little sore.
Some other tidbits from the performance include: