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I left for the Gorge yesterday around 10am. A fairly uneventful drive with just a little bit of rain took me over the mountains and when I got the Gorge, it was sunny out. After parking the car and getting myself mentally ready for a full day of music, I wandered into the festival about 12:30. As I did an starting lap around the gorge to secure a program and figure what bands I wanted to see, Rogue Wave was playing so I enjoyed them for a while. That lead into Architecture in Helsinki, who were experimental and poppy at the same time. That was blowing my mind just a little bit too much so I went to a different stage and caught the second half of Gomez, who were rocking their hearts out. Sufjan Stevens was up next after Gomez, so I pushed my way up to find a good spot to watch the show. Sufjan has an interesting live show, which I'm not sure if a outside festival is the best setting for. I bet he is better in a club. The performance was patriotic, with American flags, blow up santas dolls and blow up superman dolls. I need to see him again the next time he comes around.

As Sufjan Stevens exited the stage, I moved, opting to skip Iron & Wine and instead watch Band of Horses. It was then that you could see the ominous storm clouds begin to approach the Gorge. Band of Horses put on a good show while I enjoyed a 24 oz beer and sat next to two very pretty ladies from Australia. It started to lightly rain while Band of Horses was playing, but it felt good because it had been pretty warm and sunny up to that point. Once Band of Horses finished, I moved towards the main stage where Neko Case was setting up. This is where I bumped into Jarod and his friends. We got some food and were eating it when the hail started to fall.

At first, it didn't seem too bad. It was lightly falling, but I knew it was going to get worse because of the clouds, as well as the fact that the hail was about the size of dice. And it didn't take long either. Neko Case was into her third song and the hail really started to fall. All the performances gets put on hold right away and everyone runs for whatever cover they can find. About 30 to 40 minutes later, the hail finally stops, the rain eases up a little bit and they start to clean up the stage to try to get the rest of the show on.

It takes forever for them to get everything cleaned up and ready for more music, but finally, the Tragically Hip come out. I have never listened to this band before in my life, but they have a lot of crazy fans. I enjoyed the show, the lead singer is goofy and sings about how the mic is trying to steal his limelight or something. I was happy when they got off the stage because the Shins were up after them. I've been dying to see the Shins live forever and they lived up to my expectations. The band is full of energy and spunk, they played two new songs along with just about every other Shins song that I love and wanted to hear. Following the Shins, the stage manager announced that Ben Harper would be coming up next instead of the Flaming Lips, and the lips would finish the night out. Ben Harper has a cool live show, which reminded me of Phish or Dave Matthews, but with a bit more funk and soul going on. I danced as much as I could, until my feet were tired and sore and then I danced some more. Ben Harper finished around 11:30 and then, finally, they started setting up for the Flaming Lips.

Shortly after midnight, the lips come out and put on their show. They have so much stuff going on at once on stage that it's hard to keep track. Of course, there is the fans who were dressed up in either alien costumes or santa costumes. There was the giant screen which the showed music videos and whatnot. Wayne rolled around on top of the crowd in a giant bubble. Tons of balloons bouncing around the audience and confetti being shot all over the place. The songs from the new album played live really well (especially the yeah yeah yeah song). Wayne was pushing for the crowd to dance and sing along as much as possible, so that everyone would be warm and awake. I loved it and even though I was trying to drive home from there at 2 am, I didn't mind. I did have to stop in a rest area for a couple hours while I napped before I could make it all the way home.


The Greatest Fucking Genius of All Time

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