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Life is Good Festival 2011: Day 2 Photo Essay

by Louise Uznanski, Richard Uznanski, and Holley Dey

On the second Festival day, life was very good indeed.  The temperature and humidity had cooled, and on a near perfect Sunday afternoon thousands shared the joy of live performance music together.

It was an impressive schedule; Sunday’s line-up at the Life is Good Festival  included headlining sets from Ray LaMontagne, Brandi Carlile, Levon Helm, Robert Randolph, and Raphael Saadiq, among others.  The talent of each of these artists was undeniable, but it was also clear that the band members and guests who shared the stage played an integral role in creating the rhythm and harmony, and in generating the performance excitement that washed over the audience.

Brandi Carlile and Levon Helm, for example, were supported by members of the Boston Pops during their sets.  The addition of stringed instruments added measurably to the performance of  Before It Breaks during Carlile’s set.  Background vocals and smooth dance moves offered by various band members, particularly during Raphael Saadiq’s set, elicited smiles from the audience.  Special guests contributed as well; Ray LaMontagne joined Levon Helm on stage; Robert Randolph sat in with Saadiq during a performance of Stone Rollin’.  As Raphael told the audience, “That’s when life is good, when you can have Robert Randolph on stage with you.”

Please enjoy the following photographs and videos from the Sunday, September 25 live sets.  We hope you’ll have a sense of the head nodding, hand waving, hip swaying delight that we witnessed on and off the stage.

Maceo Parker band: If you were there for funk, Maceo and his band provided it. Fantastic sounds to dance to, sing along with, and the band is a treat to watch.

Ryan Montbleau Band: Ease of performance, smooth riffs and original blues, RMB provided all that and more. Laidback but cool as ice, the band performed to quite a loyal following who displayed RMB wear throughout the audience.

Brandi Carlile and band with members of the Boston Pops; a rendition of Folsom Prison brought down the house. Brandi and her band were rocking in the Sunday afternoon sun. Her guitar players were identical twins which made for a feeling that she had a twin tower of power next to her all afternoon. Accompanied by members of the Boston Pops just gave her rocking sound more punch!

Robert Randolph and the Family Band: This truly is a family band. Robert’s sister Lenesha sings vocal back-up; his cousin Danyel plays guitar. Robert is a charismatic performer with the unique guitar he plays. He wowed the crowd.

I saw this chair set up on the stage and thought to myself, ‘couldn’t they get a better chair for this band?” I later found out that the chair is one that Robert travels with and uses at his shows.

Brief video clip of Robert Randolph and the Family Band at the Festival:

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Levon Helm: A true legend amongst drummers, Levon took the stage and immediately took control. He travels with an array of singers, guitarists, drummers and keyboardists to create a sound that is classic and full of rhythm. Josh Smith was seen backstage and then headed over to his stage to perform with Raphael Saadiq.

Raphael Saadiq featuring Josh Smith on electric guitar: A truly smooth and classy act, Raphael and his band was the perfect end to our day of the concert. Josh Smith had a solo in the first number that tore out your heart. They were so impressive. It’s no wonder they are touring and selling out audiences in the US and abroad.

Brief clip of Raphael Saadiq’s performance of Stone Rollin’ at the Festival, featuring Robert Randolph on pedal steel guitar and Josh Smith on electric guitar

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Linda T #

    It’s been a crazy week, but I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I have enjoyed your recaps and tweets from Life is Good, both days. Even though this was in my own back yard, I was unable to go, so thank you all for bringing it on home! Looks like it was a fabulous time! Did you get to see any of Ray LaMontagne’s set?

    October 1, 2011
    • ontapblog #

      We didn’t have the opportunity to photograph, but did hear part of Ray LaMontagne’s set. It was great, and yes, he did sing “Trouble”. Thanks for your comment; sorry that you couldn’t join us at the Festival! Next year?

      October 1, 2011
  2. Wow, this line up was inedible! How fortunate you were to see these great bands all at the same show. I was lucky to see Robert Randolph Family Band headline the Blues Tent the last night of New Orleans Jazz Fest earlier this year, and the Levon Helm Band performed just before the Allman Brothers Band at Jazz Fest in 2010! I was sorry to miss Josh when Rafael performed here for the Essence festival last year.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your recaps, and the photography is stunning!

    October 2, 2011
    • Louise #

      Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed. And the fact that you have seen some of these amazing artists makes the recaps come to life for you, I hope.
      Josh was amazing. Even better than before if that is possible. The Raphael Saadiq band just clicks on all cylinders. How lucky we were to be there for two days of great music. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      October 2, 2011
  3. hickifino #

    Thank you so much for this excellent blog on the Life is Good festival, especially the superb photos of Josh Smith. Good personality and great guitartist.

    October 3, 2011
    • Louise #

      Thank you Margaret. Josh was incredible. I would love to see him solo but he will be on tour in Europe until the end of November. He’s incredibly nice and gracious. Thanks again for reading and commenting. So glad I got to see this festival. It was like a smorgasbord.

      October 4, 2011

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