Salmon Fest 2013
Grand Falls – Windsor, NL
The Salmon Festival in the small town of Grand Falls – Windsor, NL is an annual event that takes places every July. It usually takes place on the 3rd Saturday of the month but in 2011 and again this year it took place a week earlier. Regardless of the weekend, it is usually an event that many look forward to.
Three years ago the town brought in a promoter to bring the Festival up to the standards of other Festivals around the globe. For the first year they brought in Kiss and last year was Aerosmith and Cheap Trick. For this year’s event they had the Eagles headlining. Definitely not a band that would get the crowd in a party mood.
Upon the announcement of the full line-up there were concerns raised that there was nothing for the younger crowd and thus this year’s Fest would be a failure. Despite not being a fan of the acts I was pleased that the line-up consisted of bands that wrote music and played their instruments. They were not going to lip-sync their performances like many have in the past. This year it was real musicians playing music and for that at least, I was grateful.
With an outdoor festival you can never predict the forecast and this year was no different. It was only a day or two prior to the show that favourable weather was forecast. On the morning of the Festival there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and people were lining up early to get into the field. The lines moved fairly quick as ~30,000 people filed into the field. The show began with the Matt Minglewood Band just after 2pm. As with the majority of the artists performing at the concert, I was unfamiliar with his music. I have heard some of his tunes in the past but never became a fan. There were many people in the crowd that were there to see him and he did play an excellent set that was well received.
Next up was Blue Rodeo who have played the Salmon Festival before and many shows here on the island. These guys put on a wonderful show and it is no trouble to see why they have such a dedicated and loyal fanbase. These guys are true musicians that played their songs and the audience loved them. For me, hearing them do “Rose Colored Glasses” was the highlight. Never a fan but always liked that tune.
Following Blue Rodeo’s set was JD & The Straight Shot. These guys were last minute additions to the Festival and unknown to just about everyone. They did do one song called “Voodoo Stew” which was pretty good. The rest of their set was totally forgettable.
Johnny Reid was up next and this guy stole the show. He is like a Country version of Rod Stewart. He came running on stage with a huge smile on his face and really worked the crowd and got them on their feet. He was energetic and was having a great time up there in front of the massive crowd. It showed that he was really enjoying himself performing for the crowd. A true class act.
The Tragically Hip, or The Hip, as their fans refer to them, were a mixed bag. Singer Gord Downie is almost like the bastard offspring of Billy Corgan and Michael Stipe. He is quite a performer and the crowd seemed to like him but I couldn’t quite grasp what he was doing. He kept taking a handkerchief out of his pocket and using it as a prop for cleaning his shoe, wiping the mic stand or pretending it was a sail of a boat. Very odd. He was energetic and put a lot into the performance but it was too bad he didn’t put that much emphasis on his singing. Personally I always thought his voice resembled a sheep. At this show it sounded as though the sheep was being slaughtered. The band however sounded pretty good and played well.
Ahhhh….the Eagles! The moment we were all waiting for.
Just prior to being ushered back to the Sound Board to take photo’s as there was a last minute change and the press wasn’t allowed to shoot the band from close-up. I never had a zoom lens to shoot the band from center field so I was out of luck. Earlier in the day I met this guy Chris, who was a friend of a Promoter and flew in from the U.S. for the show. His wife Cindy passed me her small zoom lens to use for the shoot. She saved the day. Once inside the mixing board area we all signed our release forms and assumed our positions. The band appeared and went right into “Witchy Woman” to great applause. It sounded great and from what we could see they all appeared to be in great shape. Original guitarist Bernie Leadon was stage left next to Timothy and Joe was far right with Frey in the center. Henley was in the back on the drums and he looked like he was not at all pleased. The band just stood there playing the music with little movement or crowd interaction. As we made our way back to retrieve our gear and watch the remainder of the show Mr. Henley made a comment to the crowd that if they didn’t stop with the cameras and phones “The show ends now”. I missed the comment but immediately heard about it. It is time for him to realize it is 2013 and to quote his own lyric and ‘Get Over It’. This is a generation of iPhones and he may as well get used to it because he cannot change it.
The first half of the show was pretty good as they played older Eagles material and by the second half it livened up a bit. Once they got into the HOTEL CALIFORNIA and LONG RUN era stuff you could see Joe and Timothy come alive. For Joe’s “Life’s Been Good” you could see Timothy rockin’ out on the bass and finally starting to get into the groove and have a good time. Unfortunately, there was only a trio of Joe songs the whole evening and they were towards the end of the show. Musically, the band were great for the average fan. Yes there were criticisms heard of dropping it down a key to adjust for their aging voices but in all due respect they did sound good. Yes there were a few places where it sounded a little flat but those were minimal. The only real beef that I have about the show is that for the money that they were being paid for their performance Don and Glenn could have at least forced themselves to show a little gratitude to the fans and press that made them who they are.
Thank You to Angela DiCorpo at IMC for Media Access