Like so many of my fellow Atlantans, I spent the majority of my weekend in Piedmont Park.
The park itself looked like a sea of people, all bobbing and swaying to music. I loved every minute of the twelve hours I spent among the masses. I am not one to push forward or clear a path for myself. At 5’2”, I am too short to do that. Instead, I enjoyed each show I saw in the back half of the crowd. But that wasn’t a problem for me, because the view from the back was perfect.
This is my account of Music Midtown–the shows I saw, the songs I loved, and the emotions I felt throughout the weekend at Piedmont Park.
My adventure began just before 7pm on Friday. Run DMC was just beginning at the Electric Ballroom Stage, but I made my way across the park and up Oak Hill to the AT&T Live Stage for Iggy Azalea. Making my way through the crowd, I soon realized the closer I got the harder it was to see with so many people crammed together. The bass dropped and the crowd came alive as Iggy took the stage. I wholeheartedly believe that she is an amazing performer, but the bass was too loud and the field too crowded for my taste. I made my way back out the way I came, to sit at the top of the hill and enjoy the music from afar. I didn’t stay for the full set, but seeing Iggy’s performance of Bounce and Drop That, complete with background dancers and twerking was enough to remember forever.
Lorde’s performance was described to me by as a “religious” experience. She opened with Glory and Gore, a song that to me embraced the feelings of all of us watching the show. As I swayed along I was immersed in the experience. Lorde performed with pure emotion. Her red cape and expressive dance moves made her look like the royalty she is. Her performance has easily made the list of one of the best, if not the best, performance of the festival.
The endless struggle of the weekend was who to see as a closing act. On Friday it was John Mayer or Jack White. As amazing as a performer Jack White is, I opted for the entire John Mayer set, knowing the lyrics to all his songs and being reminded of my high school crush on him. After Lorde, it is quite possible that John Mayer was the next best performance Standing to the left, behind the soundstage, I had the perfect location belt along with all my favorites and sway with the crowds. He reminded us that summer wasn’t over yet and we could still make it the best one yet. John made the last 48 hours my summer that much better with Wildfire and his cover of Beyonce’s Xo. Still I have to say my absolute favorite part of the night was his encore performance. With Half of My Heart and Gravity, two of my all time favorites.
Returning on Saturday for Day 2 of the festival, the crowd seemed to get even bigger. Mixed between girls in festival fashion, and guys in khaki shorts, the party was just beginning. It seemed that everyone in a one hundred mile radius was waiting for Eminem, finally returning to Atlanta after a nine-year hiatus.
I got to Piedmont in time for B.o.B to take the Electric Ballroom Stage. I had no idea how much of his music I really knew, but I was pleasantly surprised to be able to sing along to Magic, Nothin’ on You, and his cover of Jessie J’s Price Tag. I stayed rather close to the 10th street entrance to the park because the view of the stage was clear. We were able to hear his f Jessie J’s Price Tag, and able to see at least two different stage dives! B.o.B had everyone up and dancing during the entire set, but especially during his final song, the always-amazing Airplanes.
Sitting on the grass between the Honda and Electric Ballroom stages, I took a bit of a dancing break while listening to Fitz and the Tantrums. The sound was amazing, but didn’t leave much of an impression on me. Fastforward an hour and we arrive at Lana Del Rey’s performance. I don’t know how she did it in the heat of Hotlanta, but Lana looked like perfection throughout her entire set. While the crowd around me was in love, I was less impressed. We all know that she was getting over an illness that canceled some recent shows, but to me, Lana’s performance was a little bland. On such a large stage, her voice was overpowered by the background music and she didn’t take advantage of her space, the way earlier artists had.
Lana’s performance was overwritten in my memory as soon as Bastille began. Bastille was one my favorite acts to see during the entire festival, right after Lorde and John Mayer. They just knew how to put on a show. We were able to find an entire section with enough room to belt out the lyrics and dance along to the music. One of my favorite songs they sang was none other than TLC’s No Scrubs. When Bastille closed out their set with Pompeii, the entire crowd almost lost it.
Who to see next, Eminem or Zac Brown? If you’re like me, it was a tough one. I am a true country lover, but who could miss one of America’s greatest rappers, and someone who is finally returning to Atlanta? So naturally, I split the closing set between the two. The stage lights came on at exactly 9, with the story of Marshal Mathers, and I waited in anticipation for him to begin. When he finally hit the stage, I was hanging out on the hill, far away from the stage. That didn’t hamper my ability to hear his delivery of Bad Guy and Won’t Back Down. From the screens I could see him, in his grey hoodie againsts the boombox backdrop, a performer like no other.
A few more songs, and it was time to make the switch over to ZBB. The Zac Brown Band always kills their performances, and Saturday was no exception. Coming to home Georgia, they rocked the AT&T Live Stage with an amazing cover of Charlie Daniels’ The Devil Went Down to Georgia, and their own hits like Sweet Annie, Keep me in Mind, and Knee Deep.
Two days, twelve hours, and and nine artists. It was an amazing experience, and one that can’t be redone. I would not change my Music Midtown experience at all. Hanging out in the back half of the crowd for each show had so many benefits. Room to dance, room to breathe, and room to belt out along with some of my favorites.