Right now, as I’m writing this, it should be just about time for Mumford and Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to come back for their last encore at the final destination of the Railroad Revival Tour — New Orleans.
I hope they had an amazing journey.
Devon and I went to the first show of four, the send-off, in Oakland on Thursday.
It was incredible.
It was held in a park in the middle of the Oakland shipyard, next to the train tracks.
San Francisco is a beautiful city.
It was a gorgeous day for it. We were worried it might rain, but it was clear and cool. The doors opened at 5. This meant that each band had their own time of day in which to play.
Old Crow Medicine Show played against the blue sky.
I wonder what they thought about the huge crowd of Californians who had gathered to hear them. One thing I could tell from their banter was that they are very proud. Proud of their culture and their heritage, and the musical traditions that they are upholding. I think, when someone is playing that really twangy deep south type of music, it’s easy to become a little bit mocking. They were not. Not to say that their songs aren’t funny. They are. Their music, though, is taken seriously.
All seven people in our group enjoyed them very much. I learned that it is fun, if a little difficult, to dance on a blanket.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros played as the sun went down. Alexander, the lead singer, stopped between songs to have the whole crowd turn around and look at the sunset. He must have had an incredible view, from the stage, of the orange sky over the San Francisco Bay. It was lovely. Very “magical mystery kind.”
One thing I learned, though is that there does not appear to be an Edward (Sharpe or otherwise) in the band. The speaking part in the middle of the song Home is accurate.
“Do you remember that day you fell out of my window?”
Jade and Alexander were both in evidence. No Edward. Curious.
By the time Mumford and Sons came on, it was completely dark, and out of seemingly nowhere, the park filled with bodies. Unlike the first two bands, where were kept dominion over our square of blankets, for Mumford and Sons, people packed toward the stage, standing mostly shoulder to shoulder.
The darkness only enhanced the power of their sound. When I turn their album up loud enough on the stereo I can feel myself being swept up in their crescendos, but it can not compare to their sound in person. I felt a near-physical pulling in my chest at the climax of their most powerful songs.
Even so, Devon and I joked, between some of their as-yet unreleased songs, that it sounds like the songwriter might have finally gotten a nice girlfriend. We suspect that the next album might be slightly more cheerful.
My camera is not so good with the focusing, particularly in the dark, but I like this photo of Devon and I. Especially the strings of lights in the background.
After the show, the bands packed up and got on their California Zephyr, the Silver Solarium, to ride down to Southern California. We actually parked right next to it, and had people swarming all around the car taking pictures and generally being near the train. Apparently there is some sort of download that comes with the tickets and I am hoping that it is some sort of concert video. I just don’t see the point in having an amazing railroad revival journey, with three brilliant groups of musicians on a train together unless you plan on letting people see what happens on the train.
I mean seriously. Look at this train.