ACL in review: an Account from the Trenches

Lana… Lana… LAANAAA!

After The Head and The Heart performed on the Samsung Galaxy, new life flowed to the floor with everyone anxious for the next show. It was push or be pushed if you wanted to get more towards the front. But in the lull between bands a calm settled over the crowd just 30 minutes before Lana Del Rey took the stage. This tranquility was short-lived because as soon as Lana came on stage, the crowd went wild.  Fans eagerly fought for space and breathing room amongst the crowded floor.

Story by: Josh Guerra

Lana Del Ray serenades the crowd at her weekend two performance of ACL. Photo by: Josh Guerra.

Lana Del Ray serenades the crowd at her weekend two performance of ACL. Photo by: Josh Guerra.

Her set began with “Cruel World.” Cell phones were everywhere recording the performance and taking photos. I couldn’t complain, since I had my camera up in the air as well. Although she didn’t look as stylish as she did for the ACL weekend one, with her pea-green and white striped dress, this weekend she fashioned her signature ripped “Blue Jeans,”  a white shirt and black leather jacket.

Before checking out her set, I heard the critique that she was boring on stage and didn’t really do much during her show. Luckily, only half turned out to be true. Honestly, her songs aren’t really at a tempo set for dancing. The closest the crowd really got to dancing was during her performance of “Ultraviolence,” where people put their hands up and began to sway along.

I admit, Lana didn’t twerk her way through her performance, but she was far from disappointing. The crowd maintained a steady excitement throughout her whole performance.  In the middle of her set, she hopped off the stage, received a gift box, signed a few autographs and snapped a few selfies with the lucky fans up front.  She ended her show with her hits “Summertime Sadness,” and “National Anthem.” For it being the first time seeing Lana Del Rey perform, I really enjoyed it and would have liked to see her set last more than the hour she performed.

 

Guess Who’s Back?!

Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, came back to Austin for a second time, headlining the Saturday of ACL weekend two. As soon as Lana Del Rey got off stage the shoving began with a new urgency. Many people ended up crowd-surfing off the floor because it was so gridlocked. Miraculously, I managed to make it all the way in the front, with only two people between me and the rail.

Marshall Mathers, AKA Eminem, gives ACLers a lively performance. Photo by: Josh Guerra.

Marshall Mathers, AKA Eminem, gives ACLers a lively performance. Photo by: Josh Guerra.

Shortly before the performance started, a short clip about Eminem’s hit song “Stan,” was shown and delved into the true meaning behind the lyrics. As the video ended with “Where is Marshall Mathers?” the white stage curtain dropped and unveiled the one and only, Real Slim Shady. Eminem opened up with the Marshall Mathers LP2 intro track, “Bad guy” and continued on with the old time favorite, “Square Dance.” The crowd went “Berzerk” as Eminem rapped hit songs “The Monster, Like Toy Soldiers, White America, Love The Way You Lie, The Real Slim Shady, Rap God, Stan and The Way I Am.”

Even at 41 years old, Eminem doesn’t sound like he’s aged at all and still performs live at a very high level. Luckily for all the Slim Shady fans, Mathers played most of his hits and fan favorites. He ended his scheduled performance with “Not Afraid,” a tribute to those who have lost loved ones to or struggling with drug addiction. Hearing the crowds’ desperate plea, the “Rap God” returned to the stage for his encore to perform the 2003 throwback , “Lose Yourself.” And let’s be honest, there was nothing else the crowd could do but obey.

Pearl Jam Rocks out ACL

After headlining ACL back in 2009, Pearl Jam has finally returned for ACL 2014 and delivered an for an outstanding performance. Their stage was propped with huge light bulbs hanging from the rafters and the artwork for their new album “Lightning Bolt” hanging as the backdrop. Far different than the crowd of Lana Del Ray, or the high energy of Eminem, Pearl Jam’s audience was a little more subdued. Their setlist sampled work off the band’s 10th album, “Lightning Bolt,” with songs, “Yellow Moon, Lightning Bolt, and Mind Your Manners.” Fortunately, for long time fans, the band also play some of their biggest hits throughout their career, like: “Better Man, Even Flow, Jeremy, Daughter, Black and Alive.”

Lead singer, Eddie Vedder, and drummer, Matt Cameron of Pearl Jam perform during ACL 2014. Photo by: Josh Guerra.

Lead singer, Eddie Vedder, and drummer, Matt Cameron of Pearl Jam perform during ACL 2014. Photo by: Josh Guerra.

The highlight of the night came when frontman Eddie Vedder took the time to acknowledge a fan who was deaf and had recently got surgery so that he could hear again. Being in the crowd, that fan was quickly scouted out by others, who lifted him up where the cameras could be on him. Vedder called out and acknowledge him to thank him, personally, for being a fan. It was great to see that even alternative rock legends like Pearl Jam occasionally take the time to show how much they really appreciate their fans.

Being the last band to perform, Pearl Jam ended ACL 2014 with all time classic  “Yellow Ledbetter.” As a fan, words can not explain the how great it was to see them in person for the first time. In all honesty, I couldn’t imagine a better way to wrap up another year at ACL 2014.

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