The third installation of Innings Festival just ended and needless to say – it was a home run.
Taking place at Tempe Beach Park this past weekend, bands from Dave Matthews Band, Weezer, Portugal.The Man and more took over downtown Tempe. The festival showcased a mix of jam bands, indie favorites, high energy performers and of course baseball.
Day one kicked off with performers such as: ZZ Ward, Portugal.The Man, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Dr. Dog, Whiskey Myers, Strand of Oaks, Boy Named Banjo, and Dave Matthews Band.
As the gates opened attendees took over in excitement for all of the activities in store. Of course being a new-ish festival there are highs and lows and struggles to navigate through as with any festival. Such as long lines and long gaps between sets, however that may have been a plan to catch out the vendors on site. Zenni made sure festival attendees were ready to bear the Phoenix sun by giving away a free pair of sunglasses for the first 100 people to swing by the tent from 4-5 both days. Milagro Tequila debuted Milagro Cantina! Over the weekend they were shaking up traditional cocktails such as a spicy margarita and a delicious paloma while attendees took in the fresh designs of their booth for the first time.
The timing and set for Dr. Dog could not have been more perfect. As the sun set, Dr. Dog produced an hour long chill set that was pure vibes. They set the tone by opening with “The Breeze” from their fantastic 2008 album, Fate, and the remainder of the transcendental set was golden. An afternoon sitting on the grass, enjoying Island Noodles was the highlight of the day.
Portugal.The Man always puts on a killer set. Per usual, the band encouraged fans to be in the moment and not on social media by displaying not so subtle messages. throughout and at one point tooting their own horns stating, ” that’s right kids no computers up here, just live instruments.” There’s no doubt that Portugal.The Man can draw, and keep, a crowd especially with hits like “Feel it Still,’ ‘Live in the Moment,’ and more. Having them play as early in the evening as they did almost felt like a dig and limited the potential for a laser-worthy, neon light pumping set that had the potential to being a closer, or at least later in the evening.
It’s without a doubt that the busyness of the day was due to Dave Matthews Band being the headliner for Saturday evening. The set itself was about 2 hours and complete with a full on jam-sesh! Of course the band pulled out all the stops including some heavy hitters complete with conversations between each song which made it feel like you were catching up with old friends. Guitarist Tim Reynolds dueled on the stage alongside Rashawn Ross on trumpet, Jeff Coffin on saxophone, Carter Beauford on drums, Stefan Lessard on bass and a relatively new addition Buddy Strong. “I don’t know why I’m having such a good time. I blame ya’ll” and “We’ll see you again sometime.” From the start to finish Dave Matthews Band has always connected with its audience and has made every performance a smidge better than the previous.