Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pemberton Festival: The final day, what a day at Pemberton!

I am a half hour away from boarding a shuttle from Pemberton to Vancouver, then completing the final leg of my journey from Canada back to Seattle from the inaugural Pemberton Festival. Here's how things went down yesterday.

* Coldplay closed out the festival on a very high note, giving an electrifying performance that opened with "Life in Technicolor" and "Violet Hill", then finished with "Death and All His Friends". The main stage was packed, fans listening to the British quartet play "Yellow", "Clocks", "Viva la Vida", and an awesome rendition of "Politik". Truly, this was an astounding performance. I'm writing a full review of Coldplay's set for Friday's print/online editions. By the way, Chris Martin looked great despite a shaggy "do" and baggy pants. My sources tell me that he and Gywneth Paltrow were checked-in at the Four Seasons in Whistler.

* Death Cab for Cutie sounded sensational, especially on "Soul Meets Body", "I Will Possess Your Heart", "Title and Registration", and "The Sound of Settling". Sadly, they omitted "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" from their set list. Chris Walla wore skinny tight jeans, Ben Gibbard's hair is even longer now, Jason McGerr has a beard-thing going on, and Nick Harmer wore his usual all-black ensemble. This was a terrific performance by the Seattle foursome.

* Jay-Z appeared onstage before Coldplay and really fired up the crowd. So crazy was his performance that I had to be pulled out of the pit because I simply, and honestly, couldn't breathe. The main pit area was not only wild, but dangerous - I felt like a rubberband being stretched to new proportions. The lauded rapper-producer included a medley of "Crazy in Love" and "Umbrella", and of course, pulled out "99 Problems" for the audience, many of whom were singing along and raising their fists in the air throughout his set.

* N.E.R.D. was rumored to be unhappy about the concert site beforehand, which may have been why they were more than a half hour late going onstage minus a few band members. But they certainly had a great time, even pulling a bunch of rump-shaking, scantily-clad women onstage at one point.

* The line trying to get into the DJ Shadow/Cut Chemist show at the Bacardi B-Live tent was a mile-long. No joke, a mile-long.

* Despite having to go onstage first, Vampire Weekend managed to draw a really big crowd who danced and sang along to "Oxford Comma" and "Mansard Roof", among other favorites. Lead singer Ezra Koenig looked like a cross between Ralph Macchio and Ferris Bueller with colorful, plastic sunglasses and cardigan sweater.

* Traffic afterwards was quite bad, our shuttle moving less than 10 miles in about 90 minutes. Once we passed the Pemberton town center, we pretty much smooth-sailed to Whistler.

* It appears the Pemberton Festival will take place again next year, at the same spot. From what I've been told, seven bands/artists are already vying for the headlining slot.

I'll blog again one last time on the Pemberton Festival late tonight, from my very own home (which I'm excited to be headed back to). It's been awesome here in Whistler, and the Sundial Boutique Hotel has been a fabulous spot to work from. The mountains and forests nearby remind me how we can easily take for granted living in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Such begins my journey back to Seattle, after seeing some of the coolest artists on the planet.

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