COMBINED REPORTS - Mountain Oasis Music Festival, October 7 2000
From: Stacie K.
Date: Sun, 08 Oct 2000 21:07:23 -0000
Subject: [hix] Oasis show report
I met up with a fellow Hixster, a delightful experience, at the Oasis bluegrass festival Saturday, a festival that seemed to be uniquely devoid of bluegrass music. The festival was held in a *very* remote area of the scenic Blue Ridge mountains. Incredibly remote, actually. It was the first year for the festival and it was somewhat disorganized although the people were friendly. The actual stage area was a lovely outdoor setting where the trees were turning under a crystal-blue autumn sky.
Dan was one of many acts. I arrived in time to see two of the preceding acts, and stayed for most of two following acts. While it was great to see Dan, it always is, I have to admit it was disappointing to see the on-your-feet-boogying reaction of the crowd to Southern Culture On The Skids (a loud and obnoxious three-chord garage band whose songs were suspiciously reminiscent of a bad B-52 imitation and an unconscious update of Perry Como's Papa Loves Mambo called "House of Bamboo") when the only accomplished musicians there were Dan and the Licks. One of the preceding acts, Iris DeMent (sp?), should have passed out razor blades before her show so everyone would be properly prepared for her depressing set.
Okay, enough dissing. Dan wandered thru the crowd beforehand and stuck around to sign things afterward. He was accommodating and accessible although I had the feeling that he was not in the best of mental spaces. The set was limited to 75 minutes because of the schedule and contained surprisingly little from BTH, which had sold 24 copies of the CD when we checked. The lineup included the Lickettes and I apologize for not retaining their names, a bull fiddle player (ditto), and Tom Mitchell and Keith Godchaux. Everyone was fabulous.
Dan kept his comments clean and low-key and I thought he really tried to emote but this was not a crowd who was there to see him and I felt bad for him. I'm sorry, but I have to say it. Fellow Hixster Jeff and I did our best to loudly cheer him on, and we did see people lining up to speak to him; one even carried an LP to have him sign.
I didn't keep a set list but it didn't sound the same as the other shows on the tour.
Maybe I really am too old for this festival stuff. The four-hour drive each way, the remote inaccessibility of the site, the disorganization of the promoters, the fact that tickets were $5 more than advertised, all combined to just leave me feeling very tired today. I can't believe I have to go to work tomorrow. How did I do this 20 years ago?
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 22:03:44 EDT
Subject: Mountain Oasis Festival Oct 7, 2000
Review, Part II - Well, an unfortunate promotor's error has "postponed" the Cotton Club gig in Atlanta. So here we are the the Mountain Oasis Festival in Hendersonville, NC. It's a beautiful day (which was predicted to be cold and rainy but turned into sunny and 70s), gorgeous mountain setting and a nice hike in from the parking lot, we have staked our position close to the front, directly in front of the stage right speakers. The show begins at noon with Dan making his appearance in about 4 hours. The crowd that gathers is a mix of college age & the grey haired, receding hairline crowd (like me). We made it in with the camcorder and camera, I guess I should have packed a recoreing device. My wife has gratiously agreed to video the performance so that I may enjoy the entire experience. By the looks of things the crowd will be large, if not huge. I'm not familiar with many of the bands here today as I'm sure many in the crowd are not familiar with Dan. The show finally begins and the crowd continues to pour in. I would later find out that the show was completely sold out - which is something that you normally don't see at an open outdoor venue. It felt like a mini Woodstock. The sound system was good though they were struggling with the balance of voice and instruments, but it kept getting better as time slowly rolled on. I'm a little nervous about the sound at this point. The second band now done, the third and final band before Dan takes the stage. I had looked behind the stage for any sign of Dan, even to the extent of slipping through the woods to the VIP tent - no Dan. So I decided to take care of some personal business at the port-a-john (which was always an adventure) and upon leaving the privy began wading through the ocean of people. There he was, Dan himself, just cruising around and trying not to be noticed. It looked like he was enjoying the NC mountains thing but I could tell he didn't want any attention. I followed for a short while working up the nerve to speak. "Excuse me, Mr. Hicks" (I called him Mr. Hicks). Dan was very pleasant and I was very nervous. Didn't chat for long then I ran back to get the camera and my Original Recordings album jacket, tracked him down again, got the jacket autographed and had my picture taken with Dan - perfect - however there was no film in the camera. By the time that was corrected, Dan was back stage preparing to play. Of course, back stage was outside, so I grabbed the camera and the camcorder and zoomed in on some pre show activity. Now it's time for the show. I stood at center stage, could almost reach out and touch the musician's feet. The set up on stage was entertaining. Dan was out moving mics, soundchecking, etc. - sang a little bit of you are my sunshine, poking a little fun at the Southern accent. Finally the MC came out and Dan counted off "2,3,4" with the band breaking into a quick tempo standard jazz instrumental. The MC was horrible but Dan smiled his way through it and broke into Canned Music. The first thing that struck me was (having heard this tune on the album, on the Austin City Limits reunion and in that movie that I can't remember the name of) that he never sings a song the same way twice. Anyway a great start. As soon as the song in over, a concert worker shoved a note in front of Dan, which could have been a potential problem, but Dan takes the note, reads it and turns it in to good humor. Next is the instrumental Topsi - Swing 42, very good and one I've not heard before. There was very little talk as Dan realized that there was a time constraint and wanted to play as many tunes as possible. Next was a nice version of 4 or 5 Times, a Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys tune, a good choice for this crowd where Dan encouraged audience participation with this call and response tune - the crowd was still sober enough to participate. Where's the money, always good. Dan described his music as "caucasion blues" (I've always had trouble telling people what kind of music he plays). Buzzard was their Friend (a personal favorite) was played at breakneck speed and became a little unorganized on the instrumental breaks, but Dan rescues with a good scat session. Somebody Tell Me the Truth was next. Tom and Brian were very good, Brian is much more comfortable on the fiddle/ violin. Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy really got the crowd into it, I Scare Myself was great. Tom and Brian were really showing off on this one. Dan's air guitar break was a riot. The band was introduced so quickly that I didn't catch the bass player's name, I assume it was Ozzie Andrews, but he was using sheet music like he was new to the songs. He is a great bass man, whatever his name is - he took a break on several songs. Dan seemed to really enjoy doing this show. There was occasional feedback and other small distractions, but no one was yelled at and no monitors were kicked, although there were times where I wouldn't have blamed Dan for pitching a fit. How can I Miss You When You Want Go Away? Great. The girls were cute and their harmony was succinct. They each took a verse on How Can I MissYou and did a good job. They were the glue to the group - I'm really glad that Dan brought back this aspect of his sound. Out comes the hook - one more song - Milk Shakin Mama (the 4th song from Original Recordings) The obnoxious MC returns, the band breaks in to another standard quick tempo jazz tune (I believe this one was Cherokee) the MC not allowing an encore and practically cutting short the jazz tune exit. Dan had plenty of reason to show his ass, but he didn't. The show was great. My life is now complete.