Farm Aid- St. Louis Missouri Oct. 4th 2009
Since the first Farm-Aid of 1985 in Champaign, Illinois; Willie and his farming focused friends have been pleasing audiences around the country with a great cause and superb music. This was my first Farm-Aid and i was most excited to see Neil for the first time. There was one stage with about 15 min between most acts.
The first group that played was the Blackwoods Quartet. They were singing “Everybody gonna have a wonderful time up there” as we were speading out blankets and trying to get the best spot we could on the lawn. Around 1:20 Phosphorescent played “I wish i was in heaven sittin down” by RL Burnside. Next they played “Reas0n to Quit” with Willie Nelson. Next was Will Dailey and the Rivals. At this time i was checking out organic cordogs and buying a t-shirt, but i could still hear the band and they sounded pretty good. Around 2:00 Earnie Isley and his Jam Band took the stage. “Who’s that Lady?” and the famous “Shout!” sounded good on the surprizingly warm oct afternoon.
Lukas Nelson is in fact Willie son. With one note sung it was apparent. He sang a song i think is called “How Long?” – A Willie Dixon number. This song played solo was amazing to that young willie voice sing that old blues with just an electric, but it was the only one that was worth hearing.
Next was Ryan Bingham. Bingham’s 3 o’clock set was forgetable to me. Some people really like this guy (my brother-in-law being one) but for me he is just ok.
3:45 A new singer-songwritter Jamey Johnson has a rough biker look with a soft heart. His songs are starting to get some radio play-as they should.
4:00 When Gretchen Wilson declared she was “here for the party”maybe she was the only one. I guess they played a good short set, but i don’t care for the dumbed down music marketplace. As Wilson, the redneck woman, kept repeating “all jacked up” in her song- i started to chant “next act please!”
5:15 Well, the next act has been a favorite of mine for 10 years-Wilco. Jeff Tweedy could not resist and announced that they were “Wilco, and we are also here for the party.” Then they started into Bull Black Nova of their new album. I should note that Gretchen Wilson is from Pocahantas, Illinois and Jeff Tweedy is originally from Belville, Illinois. Both places are very close to each other and St.Louis. Before Jeff, Nels and co. melt more faces with their very loud guitars, Jeff wasn’t done. After the song Jeff says, “No offense to Gretchen Wilson, but how many people here are NOT rednecks?” About 3/4 of the crowd was cheering. Tweedy continued, “see, we are not all rednecks, we are all kinds of different people-living together.”
Wilco then played Impossible Germany, Hate it Here, Heavy Metal Drummer- (which mentions the “Landing in St Louis), Casino Queen-(the Casino Queen is a Riverboat Casino in St Louis), and closed out with a Woody Guthrie/Wilco tune Hoodo Voodo.
6:00 Did you know that Jason Mraz grew avocatos in California? I didn’t either. Mraz was fun and got the crowd up and dancing/smoking. He played; Remedy, Spirit in the Sky, Good Job and You’re Mine. Sorry if those title are not correct, i guessed. I was hoping to hear him do “curbside rockin” but he did not.
6:45 Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds played some stuff i really wasn’t into. I was interested in seeing Dave, because i havn’t yet but i can also say that i’m glad i didn’t. His 5 songs were enough for me. Dave did play “Gravedigger” with Wille Nelson, which was a great moment, but the rest is forgettable.
7:30 John (no Cougar please) Mellencamp kicked off his set with “Pink Houses” as i predicted. I don’t know if people realize that Mellencamp is making music now that is much better than his old stuff. Also, John played Paper and Fire, Check it Out, Save some time to dream, Small Town, Rain on the Scarecrow (awesome), Peace in this troubled land, If i die sudden, and I fight athority. Mellencamp really rocked and was much better than i thought he would be.
9:00 Neil Young. This was who i came to see, and Neil did not disappoint. He kept it real mellow and only played electric on one. Here is his set list; Sail Away, Long may you run, Fields of opportunity, Hold back the tears, Homegrown (with Willie), Everybody knows this is nowhere (electric), Already one, and Comes a time.
10:00 Willie Nelson started off as he always does with Whiskey River. Willie was a little drunk or high from hanging out with everyone backstage, but didn’t affect his performance until the end. He played a ton of songs. Shoeshine man, Ain’t it Funny how time slips away, crazy, night life, down younder (his sister played this alone on piano), me and paul, floodin down in Texas (Lukas Nelson sang), Mama, don’t let your babies, angel flyin too close, on the road again, superman, always on my mind. At this point, Billie Joe Shaver joined the stage. BJ Shaver was scheduled to play earlier but his flight was delayed. He sang with willie on “Just because you ask me to” and “Georgia on a fast train.” Then about 50 more people joined the stage including the blackwood quartet and some Native Americans in headresses. Willie continued with some gospel songs, will the circle be unbroken, I’ll fly away, amazing grace. Then Willie wanted to do “a hank williams gospel tune.” Willie couldn’t remember it, so he played Kaw Liga, and Move it on over. Then he remembered the gospel tune and closed out with “I saw the light.”