Thumbs up and down from Snowmass Sun

from Snowmass

Thumbs up: The so-called “jazz” shows this past weekend were some of the best in memory. Widespread Panic draws a crowd that parties like no other group. It was interesting to watch the transition from the younger Widespread crowd to Bob Dylan’s old fogies. But the fogies do rock.

Thumbs up: John Fogerty’s (Fogerty’s fogies?) high-energy show was one of the best of the weekend even though far fewer people showed up to see it. It’s rare to see a band that has so many songs entrenched in our minds. Hardly a song was sung that the crowd didn’t know by heart. I haven’t seen a show like that since The Kinks’ 25th anniversary tour that, by the way, would be an excellent band to book for our “jazz” show.

Thumbs down: The results are in and about 95 percent of the Village agrees –Bob Dylan sucked. As a matter of fact, there’s a persistent rumor that it wasn’t even Dylan that stood stock-still like a wax figurine and butchered song after song. The idea that this primadonna wouldn’t allow himself to be photographed or allow the video cameras to show the concert on the big screen is the reason for this suspicion. Some thought he was lip-syncing, but it’s inconceivable that anyone could possibly record such a bad set of songs and then present them as a live concert. He may be a living legend, but he is the definition of “sucks.”

Thumbs down: During the Dylan show the security Nazis were running through the crowd confiscating cameras. These overzealous power hungry punks should be curtailed. Hassling the fans is not good customer service no matter what the eccentric stiff on the stage demanded. In the day and age of a camera on every phone, the days of no cameras in concerts are over. Good riddance.

Thumbs down: Running out of toilet paper in the porta-potties Friday night was a problem that should’ve easily been anticipated. You know how many people are entering the venue and there should be a mathematical equation that can compute how many squares per person will be needed. Maybe the porta-potty people thought that the crowd was full of Sheryl Crow clones using two squares per wipe.

Thumbs up: The Village Market reports that cigarette sales doubled on Friday. Indeed, it appeared that everyone at the Widespread show was smoking something or other. This made a joke of Snowmass Village’s ridiculous smoking law. It was a great idea, but it doesn’t work.

Thumbs up: The Widespread crowd packed our little village. Parking bled onto Fanny Hill with over 200 cars parked out there on Saturday morning. Traffic jams clogged Owl Creek on Thursday. The lodges were full for two nights, perhaps busier than any given week in the winter with the exception of Christmas week. However, I hear that many lodges weren’t too happy with the guests. Rooms were overstuffed flophouses that were trashed when the party moved on. The all–night partying disturbed other guests who were unlucky enough to be accidentally staying in Snowmass over those two nights. There will need to be a lot of assessment before hosting Widespread Panic again. I say bring them back once a month.

Thumbs down: I know from my experience that five days of concerts is stretching the limited resources of Snowmass. The extra day is one day too many. Employees were strained and service likely suffered because of it. While we are assessing whether to bring back that Widespread group of hard partying folks, we should talk seriously about whether it is smart to hold five days of concerts.

Thumbs up: Yonder Mountain String Band was a breath of fresh air on Monday. These guys play some mean Bluegrass. Like Fogerty the night before, the attendance had shrunk even more as each day saw less and less concert-goers. This is another problem with the five-day schedule – it destroys Monday’s concert attendance – which is a disservice to the bands that play their heart out on that day.

Thumbs up: The minor problems I mention arise simply because the Jazz Aspen/Snowmass concerts are a victim of their own success. By all appearances this event did very well. The weather cooperated beautifully, waiting until 5:30 p.m. on Monday for the Yonder Mountain boys to wrap up their set to change dramatically to full-blown winter. It was a perfect weekend and Jim Horowitz and his team deserves a huge congratulation for pulling it off so well.