Ah yes, ACL Fest is upon us once again. I’ve lived in Austin for over a decade and never been to an Austin City Limits Festival. Considering it’s been a bucket list of mine for awhile, I bought my ticket earlier this year. And who can blame me? The lineup is great, with the exception to Childish Gambino’s cancellation. Still a little salty about that.
I wanted to get to the fest around noon, but duty called at school, so missed Alice Merton and Bishop Briggs. Siddiqi and I were able to get there in time for Khalid’s show, which was pretty good. It would have been better if I was at least 5 inches taller and the temperature wasn’t 90-ish, but those things are beyond my control so I’ll take what I can get.
The fest is a puzzle. Not only are you scheduling your time to see as many artists as possible, you are matching locations with friends in a park that has spotty reception, predicting the best time to get food, and claiming your stake at a spot for the next concert while praying a 6-foot tall person won’t stand in front of you. Had a bit of a difficult time trying to find my friend John and Chi’lantro, quite honestly, was worse than eating fruit cake. It was a bit of a stumble for us rookies. Missed Father John Misty and Hozier, but fortunately, Hozier’s sound was clear enough to hear from the food court.
Okay, enough about my struggles. Khalid was great. The National’s lead singer was uncomfortably drunk. Hozier was a fantastic performance from afar. Paul McCartney, oh man, was everything I dreamed and more.
One of my life music goals is to see a living Beatle and tonight, that goal was accomplished. For a 76 year old man, Paul has still got it. He’s got more energy than I do on a weekend and I am a good half century younger than him. He has his these adorable “grandpa moments”. He’d make a heart with his hands after singing a song dedicated to his current wife, Nancy. He’d do a little ’60s style dance. He’d tell stories. The stories! It was a living history book. McCartney talked about the 1960s: how the Beatles hung out with Jimi Hendrix, Paul and John writing songs together, the Civil Rights Movement (of which, per him, is the inspiration for “Blackbird”), the Beatles before the Beatles. I heard Paul played mostly songs from his latest album, Egypt Station, and from his Wings days, so I was expecting the Beatles hit to be last. Nope. It was “A Hard Day’s Night” and “All My Lovin'” (one of my favorites) first. The crowd went wild. Young folks and old folks, everyone sang and danced. There was even a sign up in front that said something along the lines of “Beatles fan since 1964”. I was able to get a video “All My Lovin'”. I admit the view isn’t the best, but the music is grand.
Now that I know some of the tricks of this festival, I’m hoping tomorrow might be a more efficient day.