count as a proper cover, but it plastered far too many grins on the
faces of Saturday's throng of Strokes fans not to mention. Singer Julian
Casablancas, having warned us of his fairly intense state of
intoxication, decided to have a little fun during "Last Nite," and
threw in a couple winking lines from Tom Petty's iconic "American Girl."
This juxtaposition has a history -- the Strokes basically lifted
Petty's riff for their breakout single, and Petty has more or less said
he doesn't care. So in keeping with the self-mocking tone of
Casablancas' between-song comments on Saturday, the singer decided to
remind us just how much debt he owes to the great Petty. Like the rest of his mumbling, it made us laugh.
of debt owed to former greats -- partial repayment of which is often
the point of playing covers in the first place -- Bob Marley's youngest
son lit up a big crowd Sunday evening by playing one of his father's
hits. Sped-up just slightly, but with much of the instrumentation
totally intact, Nas and Marley's "Could This Be Love" was immediately
recognizable and kind of thrilling -- no matter how tired we are of
seeing Bob Marley posters on college dorm-room walls.
the end of his set, Al Green decided to pay homage to some of greats of
American soul music with an extended stop-start medley: at the press of his hand, Green triggered his band into playing brief sections of the Four Tops' "I
Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)," the Temptations' "My Girl,"
Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me," and Otis Redding's "Sittin' on the
Dock of the Bay" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long," with Green inserting
commentary in between. ("Big O!" he shouted, remembering
Redding.) We heard some mumblings that it wasn't right for Green to
borrow segments of other artists' work, but to us, Green seemed more
like an educator than a coattail-rider. The crowd mostly went crazy
hearing Green's eerily precise band throw down the classics, and it sure
helped that the singer's voice has retained its agility and sparkling
falsetto. If he had played more than just snippets of each song's
chorus, we're pretty sure Green would've easily taken the award for top
cover of Outside Lands 2010.
1. "Time" by Furthur
"Time," as almost any fan of rock music can tell you, begins with an
explosion of alarm clocks. On Saturday evening, when an eerily familiar
alarm-clock rattle radiated around the sprawling polo fields of Golden
Gate Park, we wondered for a tiny moment what it could mean. Then the
washy opening chord progression of the Pink Floyd classic rushed through
the giant main-stage P.A., and what we had hoped for came true: Futhur
were covering Floyd. The former Dead members more or less recreated the
watery instrumental dimensions of the original, and even their vocals
didn't sound that bad. The killer, though, was John Kadlecik's soaring
rendition of the original guitar solo, which left us dazzled enough to almost not get bored when the band took the song into endless-jam
territory. But the first five minutes were so good, those alone can count as
the best cover of Outside Lands 2010.
These are the great covers we caught at Outside Lands. What other great ones did you witness? Tell us in the comments.