Man, where is Tom Lehrer when you need him?
Despite the nasty weather, the outdoor-music portion of Friday night's Raleigh Wide Open festivities went off pretty well. Saturday's forecast calls for continued storm-related ugliness in the morning, with things clearing off by afternoon. So the plan is to press on and have bands start playing at noon, as planned, or as soon after that as possible. Depending on how that goes, some acts might have to play shortened sets to get everyone in.
Check here for the complete schedule.
NOON UPDATE: Everything has been pushed back to later in the afternoon, due to lingering wind and rain. Events will commence as follows:
Plaza Stage -- Starts at 2:15 p.m.
Cherry Bounce Stage -- Starts at 2:45 p.m.
Main Stage -- 3:30 p.m.
The parade is still on for 6 p.m.
Some acts will be canceled, while others will shorten their sets. One cancellation is Tres Chicas, who were scheduled for 2 p.m. But Caitlin Cary is still scheduled to play this evening's Coalition to Unchain Dogs benefit in Durham.
Thanks to all the umbrellas in the crowd, you had to do some contortions and crane your head at just the right angle to see him; but Chuck Berry put on a pretty dynamite performance on a soggy Friday night at Raleigh Wide Open. If I ever get within shouting distance of 82 years old, I hope I'm in half as good shape as Berry. Same as always, he busted out his signature duck-walk move on "Johnny B. Goode," and the crowd went nuts.
"It makes my heart flutter -- well, all it does anymore is flutter -- to see you standin' in the rain out there to see a li'l ol' boy like me!," Berry crowed afterward.
Of course, the set only lasted about a half-hour and Berry's relationship to details like pitch and tuning was casual at best (more than once, his backup band looked bewildered at what he was trying to do). But that didn't matter. It was cool just to hear him fire up those guitar riffs you've heard a zillion times, and want to hear a zillion more.
ADDENDUM (9/10/08): Lots of pictures from the show here.
Well, Tropical Storm Hanna is playing havoc on the outdoor-live-music portion of today's Raleigh Wide Open celebration. One change in the schedule is that Chuck Berry's headlining set at the Fireworks stage has been pushed ahead to 7:30 tonight, to try and finish before the storm's heaviest rains are expected to hit.
What this means for the rest of the schedule is still not clear. Annuals are scheduled for 8:00 at the Cherry Bounce stage, and I hope they'll be able to play. Funny piece of timing, though, I just heard from Annuals' publicist, who sent along the cover to their upcoming album "Such Fun" (coming Oct. 7). It's a landscape by the late Bob "The Joy of Painting" Ross:
Abigail Washburn plays music you'd expect to hear in the mountains of Western North Carolina -- except, of course, for the lyrics. She often sings in Chinese, and the combination is as lovely as it is odd. An Illinois native, she has some mixed feelings about about China, a massive and beautiful place that also has a repressive and totalitarian government. Ask her what she thinks about China, and she's liable to wax cosmic.
"It's all part of the big picture," Washburn said in a recent interview. "There are so many different situations in China, it's hard to make a sweeping statement about how I feel about all of it. Generally speaking, I have a long-term commitment to pursuing a career in China, and also America -- and also globally, I hope. I want to be part of a committed group of people who believe globalization is a good thing that beautiful things can come from. It's a big vision that everything fits into. Nothing is wasted, time or energy. It's an experiment in steady living. I can't complain."
Washburn performs Thursday in Chapel Hill. For details on that and further chit-chat, see the interview in Friday's paper.
ADDENDUM (9/6/08): Whattaya know, Washburn is also on the cover of the first No Depression bookazine (which is out next month).
This weekend brings Raleigh Wide Open to downtown Raleigh, with a bunch of free music. Click through for some explanatory verbiage.
The Durham Performing Arts Center won't open until late November, but it's already got some mighty fine shows on the books. And here's another -- singer/keyboardist John Legend on Dec. 13. Tickets go on sale Oct. 4.
Fresh from his Democratic National Convention star turn last week, Alejandro Escovedo is getting his tour back into high gear -- including the choice network-television exposure he missed out on last month due to health issues. Escovedo's upcoming itinerary includes next Thursday, Sept. 11, on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," which will be a perfect primer for his Oct. 23 show at Cat's Cradle.
Catch both, so I can stop harranguing you.
Bounce on over to Ben Folds' Website for some major news: Ben Folds Five, the long-gone trio of Folds, Darren Jessee and Robert Sledge, is reuniting for a Sept. 18 show at UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall. It will be their first show together in almost a decade. The set will include all of the trio's 1999 pop masterpiece "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner."