It took me a while to complete this review as I had a ton of conversation, both in my head and with others, regarding the two bands, the crowd, and the venue. After much consideration here goes:
Lukas Nelson and The Promise of the Real opened the show even though this was a co-headlining billing. Lukas is becoming more and more confident performer each and every time I see him. As is with Lukas, he brought the energy with the high jumps and kicks which are common in his show, but not so much if you witnessed POTR with Neil Young last year. But it was not so much about the visual aspect as it was the music. Lukas gave great performances on many favorites such as “Forget About Georgia” and “Four Letter Word” and also introduced the crowd to several new songs to be released on his upcoming album on August 25th.
NMO, The North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne began about 30 minutes after POTR finished their hour and a half set and jumped right into it. For those that weren’t familiar, NMO has put out an album together. They jammed songs such as “Kings and Peasants” and “Annabel” as well as covered “Deep Elm Blues” the American Traditional song made famous by Jerry Lee Louis or The Grateful Dead, you can decide for yourself (I am going with The Grateful Dead as Osborne has been wearing his Park City Dead shirt the last 3 times I have seen him play). NMO closed with one of my favorite Osborne songs, “On The Road To Charlie Parker”, a perfect ending to a great night of music.
While I love both of these acts, it was a bit of a strange pairing. The smooth, mellow country leaning rock of POTR and the in your face rock of NMO was interesting. It was clear much of the crowd was there for one act or the other. A good chunk of the crowd was lined up at the march tent during NMO to get a moment with Lukas Nelson. While that is fine, they missed a pretty good show being put on by NMO. Once again, I always complain about the talking going on around me, you wouldn’t talk through a movie, why a concert? It wasn’t so bad this evening. The crowd was mostly respectful and most noticeably not sold out. However many people were there, this should be the capacity for Red Butte Gardens.
Once again, It was so enjoyable to be able to move about. Have a little space around your blanket and enjoy the music. Heavy wind at times didn’t stop the good sound or the good time. I am not sure what changes have been made at Red Butte this year, but it sure sounds better.
All in all, a very satisfying night of music and enjoyable evening of music in Salt Lake City.