Tens of thousands of hippies all frolicking wildly in the grass and on the pathways, mushroom clouds of smoke rising rapidly above the crowds and then dispersing into the wind, and a banjo beating, fiddle thumping band called String Cheese Incident playing vibrant and infectious music on a psychedelic stage. This was the scene during the last performance of the Sasquatch Festival held Saturday at the Columbia River Gorge Amphitheater.
The sold out show, filled with more flower children than I had ever imagined existed, was well worth the $60 most paid to see it. Opening acts included So Live and Galactic, two very instrumental bands that played mostly funk-based music to start the show off. Then Jack Johnson pleased the crowd with a partly solo acoustic, partly band included set delivering soft lyrics with deep, dreamful meanings that held me, and others, in a relaxed groove state.
Ben Harper came on after Johnson, strumming various guitars and stringed instruments while singing smoothly with the greatest of skill. Harper played a mostly solo show, with the exception of a bongo drummer contributing to a couple of songs. He was absolutely mesmerizing and some who have seen him play previously stated that this show was “the best they’ve seen him play,” which I don’t doubt for a second.
String Cheese Incident, running onto the stage energetically, sent the crowd into a frenzy with their first song, which was fast paced and delightful. The moment they started to play, everyone in the entire venue were stomping their feet and clapping their hands along with the melodious sounds. It was an unprecedented sight in my life thus far and I’ll never forget those thousands of people running and dancing everywhere like elves and fairies in a mythical movie. In fact the entire concert was filled with memorable performances that I am thankful for having seen. Too bad you weren’t there too.