|Waiting at the Hillside Stage for "Hillside Album Hour" to begin. |
By the time they started, the hill next to me was completely filled in, hipbone to hipbone.
The event is really called "Hillside Album Hour". Each year The Waybacks choose an iconic album to play from start to finish. The chosen album is a closely guarded secret until they start playing. This year, they gave some clues, the main clue being that it was an album made in America. I did hear the guy sitting next to me mention the album of choice as people were guessing, but really, nobody knew. In past years they had done Zeppelin II, The Beatles' Abbey Road, and The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers. This year, with Joan Osborne and her gorgeous voice joining them, they did The Allman Brothers Band, Eat a Peach.
It was really pretty funny. We were all sitting around guessing these albums like Michael Jackson's Thriller (with Joan Osborne?) and Springsteen's Born in the USA, expecting that when they played the first few chords it would be crystal clear what it was. After the first track much of the crowd was still looking at their neighbor for an answer. A typical exchange was "Quizzical look" answered by a mouthed "The Allman Brothers, Eat a Peach" "Ahhhh, Ok". Rachel and I checked Twitter. James Nash, lead singer and guitarist of The Waybacks, after the first instrumental track, said "That's how it starts" or something very similar.
There appeared to be an expectation that Album Hour should be almost a sing-along, familiar song after familiar song. The Allman Brothers' most well known songs are not on Eat a Peach. I had heard a couple of the songs but my friend, Rachel, had not. People started leaving after the third or track or so and they probably lost about 15% of the crowd. We stuck it out and were rewarded.
The Waybacks are great musicians. Eat a Peach is one of these albums with what feels like ten minute guitar riffs, the kind all we girls sat through in dorm rooms watching our boyfriends play air guitar to. Some of those guys were there in the audience and you could see them using all their willpower to keep from breaking into air guitar. The Waybacks executed the instrumental stretches with such panache that I only rolled my eyes once. Joan Osborne definately rocked the vocals.
In the end, the cherry on top was "Whipping Post", a song not actually on Eat a Peach. Great song. Here's the video.