Vegoose 2006: Sam Boyd Stadium and Star Nursery Field, Las Vegas NV 10/28-29/2006

                                                                     jack whiteAs Toubab Krewe took the stage to a couple hundred fans just before noon on Saturday, you almost had to do a double take. Unlike most festivals,  where the blazing summer sun drags groggy attendees out of their scattered  tents creating an early day zombie scene, Vegoose is a whole different  ballgame. With everyone off-site, and a majority of the festival-goers  staying at big name hotels with plush bedding and warm showers, casually  showing up at mid-afternoon to check out the early sets is normal fare.   Add to the fact that Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds, Trey Anastasio/ Robert Randolph, and Keller Williams were the prior evening’s post midnight  events, suddenly showing up to the actual  Vegoose festival falls down on the list of Vegas-style priorities.

 So as Toubab Krewe fused their world rock music from the Snake Eyes stage,  the grounds outside Sam Boyd Stadium more or less served as a big brunch  to the more anticipated late night festivities. Run by Superfly, the guys  who throw the annual Bonnaroo Festival, this year’s Vegoose had set itself up for big standards. With the ever-growing eclectic lineups of  Bonnaroos past and unexpected guest sit-ins, you’d need Eric Clapton  to jam out with Widespread Panic to surprise the masses.

 While last year’s inaugural event offered big names like Beck and Primus,  this year was more G. Love and Yonder Mountain String Band, with a few  predictables thrown in – namely Jurassic 5 and the Roots. But it’s Vegas,  and it’s Halloween, so marquee names aren’t a necessity. However, Vegoose was clearly undersold, as the main-stage was switched from the stadium just a few days prior, but there were still plenty of memorable moments.

 Mixing together many of the same stand-bys of festivals past – Gomez, Galactic, Phil Lesh, Trey Anastasio, Widespread Panic, Black Crowes and Tom Petty – you had a good share of proven live acts, along with curious music-fans taking in the bedlam of Mars Volta or crossing Petty off their list of  living legends to see live. However, it was some of the newer festival voices -Ben Folds, The Raconteurs, Cat Power, The Killers and Fiona Apple that  helped to define Vegoose 2006.

That Jack White/Brendan Benson led Raconteurs played fifteen minutes less than they were scheduled, yet still stole the afternoon with their high energy, blistering blues pop, tearing through almost the entire Broken Boy Soldiers album. As one young girl summed it up to her friends about White while leaving, "I just can’t keep my eyes off him."

 But it wasn’t just the girls who were swooning, as there were more than a few guys captivated by Chan Marshall (Cat Power). She let her inner Dusty Springfield free during a loose set with her Memphis Rhythm Band, delivering some sexy southern soul, while covering most her 2006 release The Greatest. Fiona didn’t let the spotlight get away from her either, prancing the stage like the little diva she is, making her performance more cabaret than rock, a rather welcome addition to the jam-friendly festival.

 Ironically, it was Folds who gave the most daring improv of Vegoose ,with his run of the mill lyrics that touched upon his "virgin" festival experience. The piano-punker even made fun of the fact he was playing a "jam" festival, and complained he couldn’t hear his piano over Phil Lesh’s pounding bass on the main stage, while whining that his Baldwin is cold and has feelings too.

 Surprisingly, the Killers big homecoming show only earned them a spot on the second stage, but they tore through all their hits and a number of songs off of Sams Town, proving radio pop has its place at Vegoose. But as day turned to night, Widespread Panic, with recently added guitar virtuoso Jimmy Herring in the mix, proved they are now the top cat in the jam scene. Their energy, set pace, song selection, and of course their jamming three hour set without a break, wrapped things up on a high note on a cold desert eve.

 Vegoose 2006 won’t be remembered in the annuls of music history, or even for Halloween’s sake, but it will be remembered for being a crazy weekend, and one to mark on your calendar for ’07. It’s a hell of an excuse to hit Vegas every year, if it was anywhere else, chances are you’d make those early shows.

Photos by Jeff Kravitz and Jason Merritt

For more info see

Related Content

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide