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Basilica Block Party Night 2: 2 big video screens, Matchbox 20, Raphael Saadiq

  • Blog Post by: Jon Bream
  • July 14, 2013 - 12:45 AM

A few thoughts after attending the 19th annual Basilica Block Party on Saturday:

• For the first time, the main stage featured TWO live video screens. The organizing committee finally approved adding the second HD screen (there had been just ONE screen for years). Hallelujah! I’m sure the people who jammed into the massive parking lot to watch Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty Saturday truly appreciated the screens.

• Matchbox Twenty came with what might have been the most elaborate stage production ever at the Basilica. Most bands forego the bells and whistles when they play on an ad hoc stage at a festival (as opposed to their touring stage). But MB20 came with lit staircases, lit columns and a hanging video cube. Very cool and colorful.

• MB20 had the fans up and dancing for the entire set, waving arms as if "3 A.M." and "How Far We’ve Come" are anthems.

• With his raspy voice and earnest, engaging manner, frontman Rob Thomas is money because he has a radio voice that’s just as effective live.

• When MB20 started playing "Real World," the guy behind me told his buddy: "I was in kindergarten when this came out." Yes, people, MB20 has been around for 17 years.

• It was a major disappointment that Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings canceled (she is receiving cancer treatment and expected to recover) but, on relatively short notice, Raphael Saadiq was a worthy replacement. His band found soulful grooves in different tempos.

• Wearing a sleeveless black leather poncho (and no shirt), black leather pants and a LA Dodgers cap (isn’t he from Oakland?), he was able to entertain the fans who gave him a chance. Since he was relatively unknown to Cities 97 listeners to be a headliner, the crowd, which had gathered for Walk the Moon and Cloud Cult earlier, thinned out in front of the church stage.

• The highlight of the portion of Saadiq’s set that I witnessed was "Let’s Take a Walk," a Ray Charles-like jump blues that became increasingly gospel as the song played on. That seemed fitting for the setting in front of the Basilica of St. Mary.

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