The first being NO RAIN - Can you believe it!? I kept thinking the resurrected Blind Melon (minus Shannon Hoon of course) would be kept on-hand for precisely this type of fortuitous situation...maybe next year.
Secondly, I found the lineup to be much more robust and diverse than in years past. 2009 only showcased three or four bands I believe, two of which were moe., and The Flaming Lips. This year's lineup featured upwards of ten acts, including Passion Pit (!), Booker T., Mavis, Bob Weir, Jimmy Cliff, and Sting, who to me, seems happier performing solo than with the Police. Of course, how can I forget Earth Day vets the Roots, who performed an individual set before backing several other artists. Jimmy Cliff (check him out at Wolf Trap on Thursday, June 10), sounded heavenly accompanied by Bob Weir's bouncy, hopeful riffs, and John Legend's silky vocal harmonies. It was a pristine performance, arguably the best of the day.
Last, the crowd was wildly diverse in comparison to D.C.'s typical urbanite demo. Hipsters, hackey sackers and tastefully dressed hippies seemingly dominated the vast lawn, likely due-in-part to the increasingly popular Passion Pit, whose dance-pop synth riffs brought an army of 20-30 somethings to the dance-floor (er, grass).
It was a great day for D.C., and clearly the best rally in recent years. Things got a little weird when James Cameron's Avi's kept welcoming me to Pandora...but I tried my best to play along.
Enjoy the excellent photos from Brandon Wu...you can catch his work on a weekly basis in the Washington City Paper and the Washington Post.