1. Alabama, what the crap with the hot? I went to City Stages last year and it was hot, BUT NOT THIS HOT. Good Lord, with the sun and the sweating and the sun.
2. Styx: Rocked my socks right off my body. I actually wasn't wearing socks because, I might not have mentioned, IT WAS HOT, but these guys still knocked my metaphorical socks off. Thank goodness these guys still tour and thank goodness we went to see them, because they were on top of things.
3. Plain White T's: Pretty decent for some young, pretty white guys. There were lots of moms with their kids and their $5 pizzas, and lots of screaming young women. But the band was impressively tight and together. And one of them was wearing a plain, white t.
4. Indigo Girls: I still love you after all these years, and you ladies still got it. I love the diversity of the crowd of fans who love you: black, white, gay, straight, girls, boys, old, and young.
5. Eric Hutchinson: Refreshingly honest, real music from a talented guy who clearly loves what he's doing. But, dude, don't wear a suit in Alabama at an outdoor festival in June. It was giving me pains just to look at you in all that material. We met him after the show and I said, "You clearly didn't know what you were getting in to when you got dressed today." He laughed and said, "Naw, naw, always fashion first!" That right there is a Yankee for you.
6. Jonny Lang: This guy has been amazing me for over ten years, and Saturday was no exception. He brings the authentic, searing, heart-wrenching blues of an old, hardened, jaded man in the form of a 27-year-old dude. Jonny plays the guitar like no one I've ever seen in person, furious and heated and unstoppable, uncontrollable, and he sings as if his body is somehow channeling the voices of some of the greatest musicians in history.
7. Guster: You guys are one of my very favorite bands, and I am so glad I saw you, grateful that you came, and just a tad proud of myself for managing to come to your show alone. You played the Airport Song, the first Guster song I ever heard, and you played Red Oyster Cult, one of my favorite songs ever. You guys are just so much fun and I couldn't wipe the huge, goofy grin off of my face the whole time I was listening.
8. Young Jeezy: This guy pulled the biggest crowd that I witnessed at City Stages. I have to admit that I don't know his music, although Chris, upon learning that I would be going to see Young Jeezy, did an impressive impression of his collaboration with Akon and then immediately sat down at his computer to download the song. Seriously, the audience was packed in like sardines and everyone started getting restless when he was late coming onstage; there were some fights and some tense moments but when Young Jeezy took the stage the crowd got lost in dancing and bouncing and couldn't be bothered with being mad any more.
9. Lynyrd Skynyrd: These guys had the most crowded pit at City Stages (the pit is the media area between the stage and the crowd). There were probably 20 of us jostling for photos and video. It was dark and loud and tight and HOT, hothothot. But man, this band loves what they do; they bring the energy and the love and the excitement. They look great and sound great, and I'm glad that I stuck around to see them in spite of how tired and worn out I was. Also did I mention it was hot?