Dave Matthews Band Caravan Day 2 of 3 Live at Lakeside - Chicago, 7/9/11

Dave Matthews Band Caravan Day 2 of 3 Live at Lakeside - Chicago, 7/9/11

Day Two of the Dave Matthews Caravan at Lakeside saw bigger crowds than day one and with a morning closure of Lake Shore Drive in Jackson Park it was anyone’s guess how traffic would flow into the venue throughout the morning and afternoon.Despite all of that, we made it into the venue (leaving from Lakeview at 2pm) in about an hour and a half, which could’ve definitely been worse.

Hotter temperatures on Saturday saw even longer lines for free water than on Friday, a problem which needs to be addressed if the festival returns to Chicago next year.

Despite the bigger crowds, the infrastructure was still enough to support that and concession and bathroom lines were still not unbearable.

On Saturday we parked in the south lot along 87th St. and I’m happy to report that the terrain is far more hospitable to vehicular traffic than the ridiculous north lot which was covered in debris and potholes.  It was also far easier getting out of the south lot on Saturday night despite bigger crowds than it was leaving the north lot to 79th St. on Friday night.

Onto the music…

Yonder Mountain String Band – On Saturday, “The Slip” stage on the festival’s southside, became the “Summer Camp Stage” and featured bands like Umphrey’s McGee from the annual May Summer Camp Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois.  Yonder Mountain String Band (who’s roots actually go back to Urbana, IL) performed their jammy brand of bluegrass on Saturday.

Ivan Neville’s DumpstaPhunk – A member of New Orleans’ first family of funk (Aaron’s son), Neville’s band, like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band on Friday, was the perfect way to get everyone moving in the festival atmosphere.  Ivan has worked with everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Spin Doctors.   With the bass upfront and a shredding guitar, Ivan Neville’s DumpstaPhunk sounded great.

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds – Dave and Tim’s live performances together have become the thing of legend amongst Dave fans ever since the release of the duo’s Live From Luther College album in 1999.  On Saturday, the pair ran through DMB hits like “Dancing Nancies,” “Grace is Gone,” and “Where Are You Going?” to the third largest throng of fans that I’ve seen so far in the first two days of the festival.

Liz Phair – There was a time when former Chicagoan Liz Phair could’ve performed a set where everybody recognized something even in a festival setting (especially in Chicago).  Those days have passed and Phair’s recent output has seen her rendered largely irrelevant.  The crowd (most of whom were there only to hold a spot close to the stage as they waited for Ben Folds and Dave Matthews Band, the next performers on that stage) seemed utterly bewildered.  One person behind me thought he was watching Sheryl Crow.  But all of that said, she seemed the most comfortable that I’ve seen her in three live performances now.  Phair, who has a well-documented history of stage fright, bantered comfortably with the crowd after opening her set with “6’1″” and several tracks from her seminal 1993 debut Exile in Guyville (“Divorce Song, “Never Said” and “Fuck and Run” were also played). Phair stuck to hits like “Polyester Bride” and “Supernova” and I’m fairly certain that she didn’t play anything from any of her albums after 1998′s whitechocolatespaceegg.  She was in good voice (and at 44 years of age still looks fantastic) and managed to overcome shaky sound (an issue all day at the “Southworks” stage due to high winds) for a fun, if nostalgic, set.

Ben Folds – Wasn’t sure what to expect from him in the festival setting but what a blast he is to watch live.  Augmenting his piano pop on Saturday with a six man band, Folds hit on solo tracks like “Still Fighting It,” “Landed” and “Levi Johnston’s Blues” as well as Ben Folds Five hits like “Army.”  He even worked in a cover of Ke$ha’s “Sleazy.”   After accidentally unplugging his keyboard at one point, Folds launched into a self-deprecating, impromptu performance on that subject.  He closed out his set with what he called “…All that I know about the southside” via a cover of Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”

Kid Cudi – Kid Cudi attracted the second largest audience that I’ve seen so far in two days of the festival for his 7pm set at the “Lakeside” stage.  Throughout his hour long set, Cudi thanked the crowd for their support of him over the past year as he’s dealt with various issues.  His high energy set ran through the hits including a cover of pal Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.”

Dave Matthews Band – Throughout his two hour and thirty five minute set, Dave worked in new songs like “Why I Am” but night two of The Caravan was all about the older hits as the band ran through a slew of tracks from 1994’s Under the Table and Dreaming and 1996′s Crash.  From the former came a brilliant performance of “Satellite.” From the latter came show opener “#41” as well as “Proudest Monkey,” “Crash Into Me,” and “Too Much.” The band really stretched out to jam on “Crush” and “Lie in Our Graves” and finished the main set in upbeat fashion with “Grey Street.”  Covers of the Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House” and a solo version of Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” also made the set, which finally closed with Boyd Tinsley’s pizzicato stylings on “Two Step.”

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    Jim Ryan

    Jim Ryan has written about music in print and online for a variety of Chicagoland publications for over fifteen years. In addition to duties filling in as Traffic Anchor on CLTV or in the helicopter on NBC 5, you can also catch him Sunday nights at 6PM central as host of "The Rock N' Roll Radio Program" on AM 1420 WIMS and AM 1060 WHFB (streaming at wimsradio.com and via the TuneIn Radio app for the smart phone or tablet). Jim has also worked locally for WXRT-FM, lives within walking distance of the Metro and is an avid White Sox and Blackhawks fan whose first live concert experience came at Comiskey Park in 1984 during the Jacksons' "Victory" tour.

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