Inaugural Orlando Calling Festival brings big names
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 17:11
Saturday, the Florida Citrus Bowl was fluttering with concert-goers of all ages to experience the first day of the Orlando Calling Festival. Playfully named after The Clash's hit "London Calling," the two-day event hosted renowned names such as The Killers, Kid Cudi, Bob Seger and Kid Rock.
Though the festival featured a wide range of music acts spread throughout a main stage, three smaller stages and an intimate art house venue, it was clear that just about everybody in attendance on Saturday was there to see one band: The Killers.
The Killers, who closed out the first day of the festival, provided a show of epic proportions with a mega screen on the main stage that hardly matched the size of the band's sound. The band opened with the song "Spaceman," and the crowd immediately began jumping and singing along to lyrics, sung by lead singer Brandon Flowers. The band played precise renditions of hits such as "Somebody Told Me," "Bones" and "Human."
The Killers also set a reflective tone with a rendition of "Moon River," the melody from the classic film "Breakfast at Tiffany's," picked up the pace slowly with the song "Read My Mind" and blasted the audience with a crowd favorite, "Mr. Brightside."
Finishing out their set with blasts of confetti to the song "All These Things That I've Done," The Killers left the stage only to be cheered back out for three more songs, finishing with the hit "When You Were Young" accompanied by pyrotechnic effects on stage.
Though The Killers setlist had an overwhelmingly positive response from the crowd, there were plenty of other bands to be seen earlier that day.
Kayla Currier, a junior at University of South Florida, came from Tampa with two of her friends to see bands such as The Felice Brothers, Dr. Dog and The Avett Brothers, and waited at the main stage to see Kid Cudi perform. Currier and her friends were impressed with local Orlando band Andy Matchett & The Minks earlier in the day, and she said they were really enjoying the festival so far.
"It's really awesome," Currier said. "There's like, not that many people here, so it's cool. And it's beautiful weather."
Some of the others acts that performed on the first day were The Raconteurs, Gogol Bordello, Drive-By Truckers and The Roots.
On the second day of the festival, which took a far more mellow turn than the first day, legendary songwriters Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band took to the main stage and treated the crowd to a night of heartfelt, honest tunes.
Playing classic tracks such as "Travelin' Man," "Old Time Rock & Roll" and "Mainstreet," Seger sang, strummed his guitar and played his piano just like he did in ‘74, back when the band started.
"I'm a Bob Seger fan; I haven't seen him in a long time," Sandra Richardson said after Seger's performance. "Bob Seger doesn't look like how he used to look, but he still sounds the same. He sounds the same, and that's why we came."
One of the main highlights for many fans at the festival on Sunday was when Seger invited fellow main stage act Kid Rock to do a song. Together, the two rock icons laid down cover of Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle," which had the entire Citrus Bowl crowd singing along.
"That was so cool. I love when [Kid Rock] does collaborations," said Anna Mobley, who drove to the festival from Sarasota to see Kid Rock.
After finishing his song with Kid Rock and wrapping up his set, Seger returned to the stage twice for two separate encores, before finally saying goodnight with the "Rock and Roll Never Forgets," off the band's very first album.
Los Lonely Boys, The Supervillains, Michelle Branch and Buddy Guy also performed on Sunday.
With a lineup that covered everything from folk to funk, the Orlando Calling festival brought something for everyone, leaving attendees excited for next year.
"There's nothing around that I've heard or seen that has this big of a mix in one place," said Neil Smith, who attended both days of the festival. "I think if you really like music, you enjoy every aspect of it."