NEARfest shoots their final hoop, hitting nothing but class
It was a great ending to probably the best and most highly regarded Progressive Rock festival in the country. It wasn’t the finest NEARfest, it wasn’t the worst and it wasn’t just average. But it was typical of what they have been doing for 14 years save one: Bringing in artists from across the progressive spectrum and across the globe, paying tribute to heritage artists and bringing in the next generation of progressive musicians.
WOW! BAND OF NEARFEST APOCALYPSE
Gösta Berlings Saga
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A BAND THAT SHOULD BE OVER THE HILL
Van Der Graaf Generator: Peter Hammill 63; Hugh Banton 63; Guy Evans 65
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A BAND WHO LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE PLAYING HOOKY FROM SCHOOL
Gösta Berlings Saga: Were their parents backstage?
MOST WORDY PERFORMANCE
A tie between Van Der Graaf Generator & Il Tempio Delle Clessidre
SPINAL TAP MOMENT
Il Tempio Delle Clessidre’s donning of masks, capes and hoods and pantomiming a battle in a song inspired by Witches. You could just see the dwarfs dancing around the miniature Stonehenge.
MOST 80s ERA MTV ROCK STAR ATTIRE
Twelfth Night: Marching band jacket, green and leather pants
MOST BIZARRE APPEARANCE
Il Tempio Delle Clessidre’s Elisa Montaldo sported what looked like a black Victorian funeral gown and matching hair comb although I don’t think they were showing leg through slit gowns then.
BAND THAT COULD BE MOST EASILY MISTAKEN FOR A CLASSICAL GROUP
BAND THAT TOOK A WRONG TURN AT BONNAROO
The Mike Keneally Band
FAVORITE STAGE QUOTE
“When you play three songs together you have a Prog Rock epic.”
Alexander Skepp of Gösta Berlings Saga
BEST FESTIVAL ADVICE
If you’re going to sell an extra ticket to somebody, make sure they aren’t a jerk. Thanks Mark, for not being a jerk.
DATED CONCEPT THAT SHOULD BE ABANDONED
Can the intro music. Renaissance rolled a full and corny orchestral version of one of their tunes. It’s tedious and doesn’t set a mood. It just gets people on edge watching an empty stage.
MOST UNEXPLAINED MISHAP
Speaking of empty stages, was there ever an explanation for the 90 plus minute delay of UK, followed by ten minutes of an empty, dimly lit stage? Even airlines have to give you a reason for a delay.
MOST CRIMINALLY NEGLECTED
Mark Wilkinson, who did one of the two NEARfest Apocalypse posters. He was selling them signed for $120, a totally reasonable price. But when I walked by mid-Sunday afternoon he had dropped the price to $60 because they weren’t moving. I got one.
Where was Roger Dean’s poster?
BEST AUDIENCE ON THE PLANET
Is there a better audience than the NEARfest crowd?. I don’t think so except for the two yahoos behind me who thought that the quiet parts of songs were there so they could talk. You know who I mean, Row N about seat 16 and 17.
Founders Chad Hutchinson and Rob LaDuca were both learning how to walk and talk during the glory years of Progressive Rock.
NEVER SAY NEVER
Asked the question whether they will come back for another year, Rob and Chad answered emphatically:
Chad: No not tempted at all.
Let’s see how they’re feeling round about October.
I hope the 5-hour Energy Drink I gave the guy next to me helped him out on his four hour drive to Connecticut so he could be at work at 6AM Monday morning.
~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))