I wake up to the sound of pouring rain. Normally, this is good because it means extra time to sleep in the tent instead of being baked out of it by the sun at 8:00 a.m. For us smoothie vendors, however, rain could not have been worse. Not only was it raining, but it was 40 degrees and raining. Who wants a smoothie when it's cold and raining?!?! The breakfast burritos and coffee booth next door could not have had a longer line. People were waiting 45 minutes in the rain for that shit and nothing we could do was going to make anyone want a smoothie. We got a few healthier customers and some other ones who had already eaten too many drugs and needed some nourishment to continue, but still no customers!
The upside of no customers was that we had more time to see music. I caught all of moe.'s Friday afternoon set and thought it was pretty good. Hidden Track had a line "moe.ments of brilliance moe.ments of boredom" that I think captures a lot of moe. shows. The peaks were really high but the valleys were really low. Probably the best "Timmy Tucker" I've ever experienced. I actually thought the whole set was really good and above average until "Head" devolved into a lot of uninspired noodling of the same note over and over and over. You could tell the guys were having fun; some of the funniest stupid moe. banter I've heard at a show.
Next we caught most of Future Rock and I have to say that this was probably my favorite band that I had not seen before. There's not really a good way to describe the music very well but it kind of sounds like electronic acid jazz. Really cool. Lots of mooging and synthesizing, but somehow it all goes perfectly with the tight beats coming from the drum kit. The drummer for the group is also at least twice the age of the other two members, but can still hold it down better than the rest of the group. I'm in search of any Future Rock right now.
Going back to the booth, we still had not sold any smoothies. Maybe something like 25 customers all day when we were counting on more than 25 customers in an hour. I couldn't help but be worried. Was this a mistake? Luckily, I didn't have time to dwell because Umphrey's McGee was up next.
Let me just say, this show was the absolute fire. Although festival sets often get a bad rap, I think Umphrey's is one of the few bands that plays festival sets that, on average, are even better than some of their normal shows. As soon as the boys took the stage you could see that Jake was not with his normal axe, but was toting the white Gibson that I have not seen him with since New Year's Eve.
(Sidenote - if you weren't at Umphrey's for New Year's, here's a taste of what you missed)
Anyways, I had a feeling that it would be a special night., and it was. The highlight of the first set for me was Come Closer, the mash up between the Beatles' Come Together and Nine Inch Nails' Closer. Just watch the video. This is why I drive countless hours and spend hundreds of dollars a year to see Umphrey's fucking McGee. I heard mixed reviews the first time they played this, but I loved every minute of it. What a way to end the set! You remember that scene in the Matrix where all of the people in the underground civilization are having the crazy rave like the world is about to end? It was kind of like that, except the music was better.
The first half of the second set picked up right where the first left off, and from Mulche's through Divisions I was on cloud 9. The rest of the show was great, and although set two looks better on paper, I definitely had more fun during the first set.
Unfortunately, I missed the Shine On You Crazy Diamond encore because I promised one of the people that had to work at the booth the whole show that I would switch with them so they could see the encore. Oh well.
Set I: The Floor> Smell the Mitten1, Search 4, Utopian Fir> Rocker Part II2, Come Closer
Set II: Mulche's Odyssey, Divisions> Phil's Farm> Divisions, Der Bluten Kat, Wappy Sprayberry> Der Bluten Kat
Encore: Shine on You Crazy Diamond
Anyways, going back to the booth, we had sold maybe 10 more smoothies. So two full days into the festival, we had sold about 50 smoothies. Despite the awesomeness of Umphrey's, I was starting to get really worried that we were going to leave Summer Camp with 200 lbs of fruit and that I would be eating strawberries and bananas for the rest of the Summer.
So maybe it was the desperation, or the anxiety, or maybe it was the drugs, but we all decided to just start making smoothies and give out free samples into the crowd! I guess it kind of worked; we probably sold about 15 more smoothies as the result of our free samples, and 15 smoothies was almost our daily average up to that point, so that seemed pretty good at the time. Plus, it was really fun to see people's reactions: "are you actually from the smoothie booth?" "are there any drugs in this?" "do you trade for crystals?"
After another day of great music but no business, our spirits were trampled, but not crushed. The weather was supposed to be hot and sunny for the rest of the weekend. There was still hope!