Patty, Joan, and Gillian

Left kind of late for the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park this weekend. Was worried about parking and not really knowing where to do so. Takes about an hour to get from where I live to the city, and though I’m usually expecting massive centralized parking lots or garages at my destinations (as I’ve been conditioned by suburbia), I’m coming to realize that parking is just sprinkled all over the city.

I caught up with Casey and Andrew at the Rooster stage precisely at noon, just moments before Patty Griffin was due to go on. I’ve never seen her live before but really love some of her songs. We were a little far back, but given that everyone else was seated, angling for a better vantage was not really an option.

Justin, Casey, and Andrew at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

The fog was thick, which kept things cool. The sound was incredible. I’ve never experienced such a large audience being so well behaved and quiet during a performance, outdoors no less. Even between songs the crowd stayed hushed.

Afterwards at the same stage we got to see Joan Baez. The Joan Baez. I had the strongest urge to call my parents (thinking about the movie Forrest Gump) and tell them I was in San Francisco, that I did not have any flowers in my hair, but that I was listening to Joan Baez in the flesh. So I did. After she finished playing.

Nothing in particular caught our eyes in the mid-afternoon, so we went out in search of kettle korn, saw a little of Michael Fracasso, a singer Casey knew from Austin, then back to the main stage for Doc Watson with David Holt and Richard Watson. Finally we carved out some space for our last show of the day, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, who I’ve seen twice in concert and love.

Oh they were great. Gillian jokingly complained about not packing for the weather (it had turned decidedly cold and almost misty) so she put down her guitar, threw off her jean jacket to reveal the light summer dress she had on and said she’d go on playing like that until her teeth chattered. Got to hear the favs, I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll, Look At Miss Ohio, Revelator, but the song that got the crowd on their feet was David Rawlings’ bluegrass rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls just wanna have fun.” It was incredible, I wish I had a recording. And they ended the hour and twenty minute set with the Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit as a tribute to San Francisco.

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Though Gillian and David will be playing two nights next weekend at the Fillmore in San Francisco, I’ve already got plans to see them for the 4th time with my friend Christy in Seattle two weeks from now.

Afterwards the three of us stopped at a little taqueria in the Mission (Taqueria Cancun), got serenaded by a mariachi-type duet traveling from taqueria to taqueria, and enjoyed our respective “super tacos” and “super quesadillas.” I must admit, my pollo asado quesadilla was pretty damn super. Dropped Casey and Andrew off at the BART and headed north towards home.

1 Comment

Lovely! That reminds me, bring a coat when you head up, it’s been quite chilly here.


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