Lana Del Rey wowed fans on Day 2 of Outside Lands, performing a roughly 75-minute set that visibly connected with the huge crowd gathered to watch the pop star headline the festival’s Twin Peaks stage on Aug. 12.
Some fans appeared close to tears, so moved by the elegant and ethereal nature of the music as Del Rey moved through tracks from at least seven studio albums from her amazing catalog.
The most dramatic parts of her set — and there were plenty to choose from — came when the crowd pretty much took over on lead vocals, passionately belting out a number like “Summertime Sadness” like it was the single most important song in the history of mankind.
Well, the single most important until Del Rey sang the next number, of course. She showed a near-Taylor Swift-like connection to her fans during her winning set.
— MORE (@mrmorevlogs) August 13, 2023
The multiplatinum-selling pop star’s performance was a distinct highlight of a strong Day 2 of the festival, which also featured sets from Foo Fighters, Maggie Rogers, Alvvays, Conan Gray and more than two dozen other acts.
The festival — which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year — kicked off Friday with hip-hop hero Kendrick Lamar, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal (performing a DJ set under the stage name Diesel), funk-soul powerhouse Janelle Monae and others.
The 2023 Outside Lands was scheduled to continue on Sunday with a lineup that included Texas dream-pop outfit Cigarettes After Sex, Houston hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion and incredibly popular electronic music act Odesza.
The second best set I saw on Saturday came courtesy of Alvvays, the groovy Canadian indie-pop act that became a college radio favorite with the release of a self-titled debut album in 2014.
Summer music still playing in Saratoga
Photos: San Jose Jazz Summer Fest
Photos: Outside Lands
NBA star Shaquille O’Neal shoots and misses with DJ set at Outside Lands
Outside Lands kicks off year 15 with Kendrick Lamar, Shaq, Interpol, aespa
The quintet — consisting of vocalist-guitarist Molly Rankin, keyboardist Kerri MacLellan, guitarist Alec O’Hanley, bassist Abbey Blackwell and drummer Sheridan Riley — performed midway through the day on the big Lands End stage and spent much of its 14-song set promoting its most recent full-length, 2022’s great “Blue Rev.”
Rankin proved to be a formidable frontwoman, commanding the crowd’s attention with her alluring vocals and solid guitar work, and the rest of the band was also extremely on point.
Alvvays’ sound should appeal to fans of the ’90s alt-rock outfit The Sundays — as well as to anyone who loves dreamy, yet driving indie-pop music.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – August 12, Dave Grohl performs with the Foo Fighters on the second day of the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)
The Foo Fighters were onstage at the same time as Lana Del Rey, drawing their own huge crowd over to the Lands End stage. It was the group’s first Bay Area show since the death of popular drummer Taylor Hawkins at the age of 50 in March 2022.
Led by the ever-energetic Dave Grohl, the Foos opened their headlining set with a powerful version of “All My Life” and then continued right into an equally strong “The Pretender.” They seasoned “No Son of Mine” with some “Enter Sandman,” but one wishes that Grohl had played the whole thing, since it would have been great to hear the Metallica classic right in the Bay Area band’s own backyard.
Josh Freese, the band’s new drummer, did a great job on the kit. Freese may be new to the band, but he’s certainly not new to the music business, having performed and recorded with everyone from Devo and the Nine Inch Nails to Sting and Michael Buble.
Speaking of Buble, for reasons as cloudy as the famed San Francisco fog that filled the festival grounds late in the day, the Canadian crooner actually showed up and performed a guest spot with the Foo Fighters.
Other acts that impressed fans on Day 2 included Niki, Maggie Rogers, Conan Gray, Zack Fox and Mariah the Scientist. DJ music fans, however, were disappointed that the festival’s popular SOMA dance tent was shut down for the second day in a row on Saturday due to flooring issues, a spokesman told media outlets.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – August 12, New Foo Fighters drummer Josh Freese performs with the band on the second day of the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)