I heard about the Ohana Festival but save for Eddie Vedder really had no interest in going…until Bob’s wife text to ask if me and Ingrid wanted to go with her and Bob. I looked up tickets before I called her and they were $110 each. A little steep for just Eddie so I called to tell her “pass” but then she proceeded to tell me that 2 of her other friends were supposed to go with them and had to bail. They apparently rented a hotel within walking distance to the festival overlooking the ocean and were just looking to recoup some of the damage. I said money was tight and it just was not in the cards but then she called me back 10 minutes later to tell me that her friends said they would let go of their 2 tickets and the hotel for $100 total! It was too good of a deal to turn down so next thing you know Ingrid and I were picking up Bob and Jasmine and on our way to Dana Point. The organizers essentially turned Doheny State Beach into a makeshift concert venue for the weekend but we only went for Saturday. It was pretty cool being right on the beach but our backs were to the ocean when we were watching a band. There was one main stage and one smaller stage set up right next to the main stage.
The first band we were interested in checking out was Mudhoney. I’ve never been a fan but they were a part of the Seattle scene so I figured they were worth checking out. They are very good musicians but the music is just not my cup of tea. Next was Jack Irons on the small stage and Eddie Vedder came out to “jam” with him for a song or two. Then came Band of Horses. This is a band I have heard of but do not really know any of their music. This is about the time that Ingrid and I took off to go get beer for the group. We left Bob and Jasmine behind because the first song they danced to at their wedding is a Band of Horses song. The lines for beer by this time were insane and let’s just say that by the time we got 4 beers we had to pee. We were done drinking all 4 beers by the time it was our turn for the bathroom, which I guess says as much about how quickly we drink beer as it does about how long we had to wait in line. I’m pretty sure a good portion of the beer would have been spilled wading through the crowd back to Bob and Jasmine anyway so I guess we didn’t think that one through too well.
After this I needed food. I get hangry like the people in Snickers commercials but lo and behold the food lines were predictably out of control as well. After a near meltdown and some free beef jerky samples Ingrid convinced me to have another beer and chill the hell out, which I reluctantly did. We caught a little of Elvis Costello who is another I obviously know of, but really don’t know any of his music. He was very talented and seemed to enjoy performing.
Then the moment we came for: Eddie Vedder. Up to this point the only time I had ever seen him was when I saw Pearl Jam almost exactly 10 years ago in 2006. He had the audience (myself included) completely captivated the entire time. He is not only a great storyteller, but a much more amazing guitar player than I ever realized. “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” sounded beautiful and the crowd was heavily participating in “Better Man.” I kept expecting someone else to join him onstage – a drummer, another guitarist – but it was just Ed switching between a few guitars and a ukulele except when he played “Indifference” with Kelly Slater and when he played “Rockin’ in the Free World” at the end with Kelly Slater, members of X and Band of Horses. I don’t know that a single person’s performance ever moved me the way that Ed’s performance did that night. Guess you had to be there.
SETLIST: Can’t Keep, Sleeping by Myself, Without You, Soon Forget, Trouble, Dead Man, Sometimes, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, No Ceiling, Far Behind, Guaranteed, Out of Sand, Good Woman, Better Man, Parting Ways, Unthought Known, Indifference, Porch, Hard Sun, Rockin’ in the Free World