It was another beautiful day Friday, August 25th at the Lockn’ music festival. The music began early on this second day of the festival. Most of the 20,000-people attending the festival had arrived by the time the main stage sprang to life just after 4 pm.
Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke opened with a strong set of tunes that had the crowd dancing early in the warm late summer sun. The band played songs from their new album including one that featured Gregg Allman in one of his last recordings. It was a fitting tribute to the original Southern rockers The Allman Brothers who played earlier Lockn’ festivals.
Jim James appeared next in an emotional acoustic set expressing solidarity with Charlottesville and quoting Nelson Mandela. In keeping with the spirit of unity, James played a series of covers including; Frank Sinatra ’s Young at Heart, Woody Guthrie’s Changing World, and Bill Withers’ Lean On Me. James then went into some of his solo material as well as some My Morning Jacket classics. At the end of his set, he was joined by country rocker Brandi Carlile for a cover of the Dylan classic Blowin In The Wind. Then the two were joined by a jovial Joe Russo playing a large drum. The trio led the crowd in a resounding sing along version of Give Peace A Chance.
Carlile played a rock oriented set next, apologizing for canceling her Locks appearance the year before due to illness. The beaming performer played a new song The Mother, in honor of her new child and a rousing cover of Led Zeppelin ’s Going to California. James came back to sit in with Carlile as well.
By then multiple generations of Deadheads, literally from small children to grandparents had gathered en masse for a set by the Godfather of Lockn’ Phil Lesh and The Terrapin Family Band. The band played a 2-hour crowd inspiring set that filled the field in front of the main stage with euphoric fans singing, dancing, or just sitting and smiling in tempo with the music. The set included a guest appearance by Govt. Mule’s Warren Haynes for drenched guitar versions of St. Stephen and New Minglewood Blues. The energy notched up further in the crowd when Bob Weir made a surprise appearance to join Lesh and the band for the final two songs, Jack Straw and Uncle John’s Band.
Warren Haynes returned with his hard rock jam band Gov’t. Mule to rock the next set. The band played a solid two hour set with tunes stretching from early albums to their latest material on Revolution Come Revolution Go. Anne Wilson of Heart fame then joined the band for an intense mini set including covers of Zeppelin Classics Immigrant Song and Black Dog. The band along with Wilson on lead vocals then morphed into a jam of another Zeppelin cover of You Shook Me with the original by Muddy Waters. That was followed by a Janis Joplin classic Cry Baby. Wilson ended her appearance with the band singing the Heart mega-hi Magic Man.
The showcase set of the night came next with Phil Lesh and Bob Weir joining the Terrapin Family Band for a performance of the album that gave them their namesake, Terrapin Station. The 40th-anniversary concert also featured Nicki Bluhm nailing the original vocals by Donna Godchaux. The short set was a perfect ending to the main stage.
But the evening wasn’t over as most of the large crowd at the main stage shifted to the smaller stage for a late-night set by Joe Russo's Almost Dead. The five-piece jam band wowed the crowd before being joined by some surprise guests. Nicole Atkins joined the group for bluesy versions of Little Red Rooster and Cassidy. Jim James then brought the exhausted crowd to life joining the band for Jane's Addiction's Been Caught Stealing, and Grateful Dead’s Brown Eyed Women. It was nearly 3 am when Atkins returned to the stage to join James and the band for a beautiful version of Brokedown Palace. Friday Lockn’ featured more music in a single day than many entire three-day festivals. How could it get any better? Only the next two days of the festival will answer that question.