I remember my first Austin City Limits. It must have been 2002, because it was my junior year of college. I went up with my friends Billy and Melissa. I had no idea what I was in for, but I went just for kicks. I guess that is just what you do when you are in college. The truth is that I am not and have never been a super cool music person who knows all the hip bands. But I have always been someone who likes outdoor shows, and I like to get involved. That day we arrived first thing in the morning and stayed through the last show, without ever once purchasing anything to eat or drink. After the show, we went to Kirby Lane's on the drag by UT, and Billy was so hungry he at a pancake off of a stranger's discarded plate. It was awesome.
Since then, the show has become a bit of a tradition. Last year Sam and I went, and the festival tested our limits of both heat and rocking! Last year was my first three-dayer, and this year was my first three-dayer in the mud. Because boy was it muddy. Friday was beautiful and sunny. Saturday it poured and we stood in front of the stages in our rain coats getting soaked. Sunday it did not rain, but it sure did mud. Zilker Park recently installed brand new grass, complete with hefty natural fertilizer made from reclaimed sewage, and the mud turned this effort into rich, brown, thick, smooth goop that was entirely unavoidable.
Sunday I plopped a plastic tablecloth down on a hill between two stages and did not move once from my island of mud-free safety (except for once, to find a bathroom, which ended up being a distressing and unpleasant intermission from my mud-free island). The shows were great, the crowd was in high spirits, and I feel like I got a glimpsed of what it must have been like to be at Woodstock. Rock on Austin!
I always enjoy going to Austin, because there is always something new to do. On Saturday night three very talented deejays at my radio station put on a quarterly soul event, the Super Soul Shakedown, here in San Antonio, and this year they took the gig to Austin for the ACL music festival. So we saw both Brownout and T Bird and the Breaks. They are two Austin bands we have seen here in our own home town, and it was fun to see them on their own turf. The KRTU Soul guys put on a great show, yet again, and Sam and I totally shook our stuff as we huddled underneath an overhang outside the window of the club to avoid the heat inside and the rain outside. I think we had the best seats in the house.