Sunday, August 22, 2010

On The Road w/ Elliot Vol 6 - LILITH FAIR EDITION

Our corresponding road blogger, Elliot Jacobson has had one hell of a busy summer. He just got off the road with Ingrid Michaelson as she was on tour with Keane, but right before that he was on the road with Ingrid for Lilith Fair. The return of the female empowerment festival hit a few speed bumps this summer in poor ticket prices and bad promotion, but Elliot gives and amazing insider's look as to how the tour went down and how much fun and how great it really was for everyone involved. Take a look! Be sure to follow Elliot and his happenings on and up to the minute feeds on Twitter @elliotjacobson.

I've been a Sarah McLachlan fan for many years so being invited to play at her Lilith Fair festival 2010 was exciting. My first impression of Sarah did not disappoint. She's down to earth and incredibly nice. She was cool enough to play hacky sack with crew members backstage in Denver.

Before our first performance, I walked around the village area of the festival and checked out my friend Anya Marina play on the ABC stage. There were two stages outside in the village and the third stage was the Amphitheater itself. At around 5:30 we all started getting ready for our show in the Amphitheater. We all took note of Sarah McLachlan and Emmylou Harris watching our set from the side of the stage. We sweat a lot and our objective being to win fans and have a blast.

After our set, we indulged in fantastic catering provided by a company that uses local farms. (The tour was "green", using corn plastic cups and providing recycling bins around every corner.) We had the perk of watching all of the other acts side stage. Metric went on after us and rocked harder than anyone that day. Emmylou Harris followed. I especially enjoyed watching her band. All of the musicians were older brilliant Nashville players who had clearly been performing and recording for their entire lives. Finally Sarah McLachlan closed the show. I was truly blown away by the band and her powerful vocal performance. It was clear why she's had such a successful career and was able to come back to fans after such a long absence.

The days finale consisted of Sarah inviting some of the days artists on stage with her to sing "Because the Night". Ingrid was chosen to sing and we came up to support her. Although Ingrid was rushed to the emergency room after our performance with a migraine, she STILL made it back to the festival for the big event. It was definitely one of the high points of my career to share the stage with such incredible artists and musicians. I played some percussion and sang with the rest of our band.

After a day off, our next Lilith show was in Kansas City, MO in the Capitol Federal Park @ Sandstone. The set up was similar, with a total of three stages including the main stage. Once again, the food was stellar. On the main stage, Metric was first this time, and we played right after. Before our set, we got to catch some of our friend Erin McCarley's set on the ABC stage. The Court Yard Hounds, featuring two out of three of the Dixie Chicks, performed that day on the main stage and absolutely killed with their pop bluegrass sound and elaborate hair and makeup. Emmylou and her band, again, sounded so good. My favorite performance of the night was Heart. One of the loudest and most energetic shows I have ever seen. And the Wilson sisters are pushing 60! I was especially blown away by the musicianship and showmanship of Nancy Wilson.

Once again, the night ended with "Because the Night" after Sarah's set. Ingrid was asked to sing the bridge of the song, so we all joined her onstage. This time, I stood behind the mighty Matt Chamberlain, along with all the other drummers from the main stage bands, and played percussion. If you don't know who he is, look him up! Matt is a living drum legend.

The next day we played (what we thought would be) our final Lilith Fair set in at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St. Louis, MO. By this time, all of us in the Ingrid band had made new friends, bonded with the other musicians and crew, and were already sad knowing it would be our last day hanging with these amazing people. But the day was once again filled with top notch music and food. I'll never forget that catering OR the great people I met.

The highlight of this day was watching "the queen of hip hop soul", Mary J. Blige, and her band. EVERYONE was side stage for this one. Mary J. covered "One" by U2 AND "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin. I wasn't sure how Sarah would follow this time, but she did beautifully. Finale was bittersweet, but just as amazing as the other two nights.

After the show, numbers were exchanged, iPhones were bumped and lots of hugs went around. Chris set up his trademark flavored tobacco hookah and we had members of Sarah's band and Metric join us for some much deserved decompressing.

Several days later we got the word that Lilith wanted us back to perform in Hartford, CT on August 1st at the Comcast Theatre. This was especially exciting because our good friends Sara Bareilles and her band were also performing. I had never seen Cat Power perform before, but I enjoyed her set, watching from side stage. Her band created a dark, jazzy sonic background for her vocals. Sara and her band followed with super tight vocal harmonies (sung live by her all dude band). I watched from the crowd perspective with Ingrid and Allie. Later that evening, the legendary Indigo Girls performed to a very energetic and appreciative audience. It seemed like everyone knew every word. They performed acoustically, with only a backup vocalist/multi-instrumentalist. Emily invited Sara, Ingrid and Sarah to come out and sing "Closer To Fine." It was very moving to watch, knowing that the Indigo Girls helped pave the way for all three ladies.

After finale, we were invited to the end of tour party. We learned that Sarah organizes this type of thing at the end of every tour to celebrate and recognize the hard work and contributions of everyone who works in productions and on the crew. It started with a video montage projected onto the side of the theatre outside, highlighting each of the members of her team. Then a timelapse video of an entire single festival day followed, starting from the set up of the stage and ending with the crew tearing down and cleaning up.

Sarah and her band dressed up as either roadies or groupies while Sarah's crew put on a performance of their own. The whole "concert" was held in a tent in the back of the theatre. The crew band went by the name of Ragweed Nightcap and played mostly classic rock covers while the guys in Sarah's band "teched" for them, and the ladies danced around. I had the pleasure of playing tambourine alongside Matt (who was playing some kind of hand drum being hit with a Barbie doll) for "Ticket to Ride". After the live music was over, it turned into an all out dance party, DJ included.

Of course, we busted out the hookah. This one was so good, even Sarah herself had to try it. "I'll use my Yoga breathing", she said.

What Ingrid Michaelson and her band had to say:

"I really loved the feeling of acceptance and support. It did not
matter what stage you were playing on, everyone was treated without he
same respect. I felt like part of something much bigger than me. And
I got to see Sarah McLachlan dance around at an after party."
- Ingrid Michaelson (Follow INGRID on TWITTER @ingridmusic)

"Each night, everyone was invited on stage for a big finale rendition of "Because The Night". I would normally stand off to the side a little but Sarah McLachlan would lovingly usher everyone towards her. One night this happened and before I knew I was center stage and was singing with one arm around Emmylou Harris and the other around Nancy Wilson. Needless to say I almost peed my pants."
- Bess Rogers (Follow BESS on TWITTER @bessrogers)

"A memorable moment for me was bonding with one of MJ's background singers about our love of the same Essie nail color (Haute as Hello), then watching them all take the stage and give the most amazing, moving live performance I've seen in a long while."
- Allie Moss (Follow ALLIE on TWITTER @alliemoss)

"Being a part of Lilith Fair was like joining a big extended family where everyone was genuinely enjoying each others' company and sharing in the joy of making and watching music. It was one of the most positive environments that I've ever experienced.
- Chris Kuffner (Follow CHRIS on TWITTER @chriskuffner)

Thanks to Sarah, all of the crews, the artists, the musicians and especially the thousands of people who came to see these shows for your generosity, love, and positive energy. Follow me on Twitter (...and of course - FOLLOW ELLIOT ON TWITTER @elliotjacobson) for even more news from the road on our October headlining tour!

Some photos taken by Elliot:

Sarah Set List
***Elliot Jacobson is a corresponding writer for Officially A Yuppie, he drums for Ingrid Michaelson, Bess Rodgers and many more. Keep up to date with Elliot on Twitter by following him @elliotjacobson and stay on top of his happenings on


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