The B and Beyond Festival– Part Four

The B and Beyond Festival– Part Four October 11, 2018

For the record I love Sheryl Crow’s music, and her story is equally compelling, as a breast cancer survivor. Nowadays she lives in Nashville near family and draws on the music community there. And she looks just great for a 56 year old rocker. I remember her all the way back to her backing up the likes of Neil Young (remember ‘A Lotta Love’). She is a star in her own right, and does an interesting diversity of kinds of tunes. Sheryl was a real crowd pleaser, singing many of her hits, and some fresh tunes as well. The headliners basically were given an hour and a bit to play, whereas the final act of the night had an hour and a half.

Lenny Kravitz followed and he did not disappoint. He is both an excellent singer and guitar player, and he has a variety of catchy songs (I Want to Get Away….. I Want to Fly). My only complaint is that he tried too hard to get the rain-drenched crowd to sing along and participate, whereas he should have just kept playing some more songs. Extended versions of songs demanding audiences contribute don’t work when the crowd is soaked and shivering.
Yes, he’s still got his dreads, and yes he’s still telling crowds we need to get it together since we are ‘one nation under the one God of us all’.

The night concluded of course with John Mayer…and it also concluding with a million teeny boppers suddenly showing up and trying to bull their way through the thousands of people to get close to the stage, sometimes with disastrous results– falling in a mud pit, breaking chairs etc. Ah the excesses of youth….

Full props to John Mayer he can really play that guitar and he is an excellent song writer. You either like his voice or you don’t. I’m o.k. with it, but it can be a bit raspy at times. And of course, he’s pretty handsome– hence the teenage heart throb deal. But he is far from a teen at this point. His most effective song was in fact Bob Dylan’s song, made more famous by Jimi Hendrix– All Along the Watchtower. I liked his version mo better than Dave Matthews version. But I had a revelation while listening. John Mayer is not really a hard rocker. He is more of a pop artist like Ed Sheeran, although he plays a mean blues guitar and there is a considerable diversity to his tunes. At most he is a folk rocker, hence his album with Crosby and Nash backing him up. This is fine, but what it means is you will have to look very hard indeed to find a true headliner act today that is a true rocker, and not of the vintage variety. Ryan Adams is very good, so is Jimmy Eats World, and even harder is Rivals Sons, but none of these have the broad appeal of old and younger audiences like Mayer does. Rock may not be dead, but for sure it has taken a back seat to rap, pop, soul, and hip hop. And frankly…. that’s too bad.

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