True to tradition, apart from Friday's unseasonable sun, things stayed pretty overcast but temperate for Outside Lands weekend, and Day Three was just as packed and dusty as Days One and Two. The main difference of the final day of the festival, apart from the Wine Lands tent running out of those cool plastic wine goblets and everyone's lingering hangovers, was the influx of Baby Boomers there to see Elton John.
Hot Chip always sounds a little bit wan without the aid of in-studio production, but I heard good things about Sky Ferreira's set, and Odesza knocked it out of the park and got the kids dancing with their early evening set at the Twin Peaks stage. Sam Smith swooned over getting to open for Elton John, calling it a "dream come true," and in addition to his radio-friendly hits he sang an extended medley jumping off from Amy Winehouse's "Tears Don't Dry On Their Own," moving into "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and "Le Freak," and ultimately weaving in a bit of CeCe Peniston’s “Finally” and Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
And did anyone see the insane spectacle that was Mac Sabbath?!? They're a Black Sabbath cover band who dress up as deranged, scary versions of McDonald's characters, and they performed on the GastroMagic stage (along with chef Richie Nakano) just before Elton went on.
Elton remains an eager showman who puts his all into his decades-old hits so long as in return he gets a roar for the assembled thousands attendance was said to be 70,000 but this year felt more crowded than ever, and the actual number Sunday could have been higher. Wearing a thoroughly bedazzled, royal blue coat with the word Fantastic embroidered on the back, Elton spent the first hour of his set working through his Spotify Top 10, songs like "Tiny Dancer," "Rocketman," and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" that have remained popular with Millennials because they still hold up as well crafted pop songs with a point of view. He also threw in a lesser known tune, "Levon," that in concert got a lengthy, rocking, 10-minute jam session built in with his full band. It is incredibly impressive to see a man of his years, who still has a ton of energy, unite so many disparate types of music fans with the easy pleasures of his melodies, and to watch thousands of twentysomethings sing along to every word alongside people who could be their parents.
He closed on an up note, with "I'm Still Standing," "Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)," and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," even trotting out an encore of "Crocodile Rock" (see the full setlist here).