2021 Governors Ball Day Two: Phoebe Bridgers, Megan Thee Stallion, A$AP Rocky (FESTIVAL RECAP/PHOTOS)

Gov Ball Day Two – What a difference a day makes. The festival has worked out the kinks. The crowd knows where to go and how to act. And the perfect weather and strong musical lineup continued.

Livia O kicked off the Honda stage and had the lyric of the day if not the festival “I’m not one for writing slow songs about boys who didn’t call me”. She split the time slot (and shared band members) with Drew Lucas who stepped in with his minimalistic approach to indie pop. Written, mixed, and recorded entirely in his bedroom, his hypnotizing anthem “Put Your Thought On Me Instead” galvanized the early crowd and got people moving.

Early on, one could wander freely, grazing easily on both the music and the vast selection of food. One could even snag a table. But soon the festival started to feel crowded and the smaller footprint at Citi Field started to hinder movement as solid lineups at the two adjacent Bacardi and Honda stages packed those stages and the space between the food stands and the Casa Bacardi drinking area and those stages disappeared. Crowds came early for co-headliner J Balvin who was previewing his Spring 2022 tour to support his new album Jose. His reggaeton/trap show kicked off with pyrotechnics and only got hotter from there.

Bleachers

On the Bacardi stage, King Princess and Phoebe Bridgers kept that area packed all evening.  Singer-songwriter King Princess was exuberant as she moved about the stage trying to make contact with all her fans. After a slower start, she quipped “Ok you fuckin’ gays, you wanna rock?” and then kicked it up a notch. 

As Phoebe Bridgers was due to hit the stage, it was announced that she would start 20 minutes late. The fans along the rail were weeping in anticipation. Overheard: Q: “Why is everyone crying?” A: “Haven’t you ever cried for a band?” Indeed. Once she hit the stage with “Motion Sickness” and “DVD Menu”, it was clear Bridgers was clearly enjoying herself and was ready to deliver. The set started lower key, but her 13-song show hit her big songs including “Kyoto”, “Garden Song” and “Punisher”. The energy kept increasing up to the set close with the trumpet blaring and Bridgers and her guitarist dueling guitars on “I Know The End”. The crowd was pressed along the rail, gazing adoringly, singing every word. As one fan stated – “We’re all gay. She’s our Mick Jagger.”

This back-to-back positive female energy bookended the different but equally powerful female celebration that is rapper Megan Thee Stallion over on the main GovBallNYC stage. One could not take one’s eyes off of her as she showed off her body, her signature moves, her gestures. Backed by dancers dressed similarly to her and with all of them projected on the back screen and the two side jumbotrons, this highly choreographed show was an endless dance party on stage. She played all her songs with everyone knowing every word and made sure that Hot Girl Summer continued through September.

Megan Thee Stallion

Earlier at the GovBallNYC stage, talented singer-songwriter Charlotte Lawrence unleased her gorgeous voice and offered a strong set starting with “Cowboys” and including an excellent “Sin x Secret”. Pop rockers Bleachers brought their own following. Always a showman, Jack Antonoff worked the entire stage, running up and down the ramps and jumping around through the 9-song set; the songs were elevated when the sax kicked in.

The night belonged to New York City’s own A$AP Rocky and the throngs of fans who came to see him, as he rarely performs and has had just a handful of shows recently.  It started when a dozen men with white t-shirts covering their faces lined the photo pit, climbed the barriers and projected into the crowd. A sense of WTF came over the crowd, fireworks exploded in the sky as a diversion, and then a life size inflatable car paraded through the tight photo pit and up into the crowd and surfed around til it tumbled and the crowd delivered A$AP Rocky to the stage. From there he danced, rapped, shimmied with the American flag and performed an hour-long against a tight backdrop at the front of the stage projecting images along with the songs with his white-wrapped crew joining him on stage. The energy was infectious so even those who don’t know the music were pulsing with the beat and instantly became A$AP Rocky fans.  What an end to yet another fantastic day at Gov Ball.

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