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Checking Out ‘Orlando Calling’

03:01 PM Tuesday 11/15/11 |   |

Calling it the “perfect end to the festival season,” Pollstar contributing photographer John Davisson gives you a glimpse of the first-ever “Orlando Calling” music festival.

  • Bob Seger

    “Orlando Calling” at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
    November 13, 2011

    (John Davisson)

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I’ve been looking forward to the debut of Orlando Calling at Florida’s Citrus Bowl for a while now and it finally happened this weekend. It was the perfect end to the festival season and the perfect place for the end. The weather was quite comfortable in Orlando in November. I started out by catching the end of Gogol Bordello’s set on the huge mainstage, which was inside the stadium and had a good size crowd jumping up and down to the band’s eastern-European music.

The first day of the festival seemed to be oriented to a younger crowd with Kid Cudi, The Avett Brothers, Pixies, The Raconteurs, and The Killers playing the mainstage against a red backdrop featuring the logo of show promoter Festival Republic during the day. As darkness descended a giant video wall was behind the bands.

  • Pixies

    “Orlando Calling” at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
    November 12, 2011

    (John Davisson)

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  • The Raconteurs

    Brendan Benson, Jack White at “Orlando Calling” at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
    November 12, 2011

    (John Davisson)

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The second stage was in a field outside the stadium and had some nice music too with iron & Wine, O.A.R., and The Roots on a brightly-lit stage (as a photographer, I can really appreciate good lighting). A quick walk across a pond on a floating bridge led to a tent with bands such as the Felice Brothers playing inside a tent, and an outdoor stage for lesser-known bands.

I began Sunday by checking out Savannah and Gonzo Jones on the small outdoor stage, and even though I was unfamiliar with them, they were both good, and the small crowd made it easy to get a good spot to watch. I also caught the David Mayfield Parade in the tent and they were my favorite discovery at Orlando Calling. They mixed rootsy music, good picking and wry humor into a nice package that showcased some nice songs. This is a band I will be investigating in the future.

  • Savannah

    “Orlando Calling” at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
    November 13, 2011

    (John Davisson)

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  • Blake Shelton

    “Orlando Calling” at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
    November 13, 2011

    (John Davisson)

    | 

Los Lonely Boys played a nice Texican rock set in the tent and The Flatlanders played early on the second stage. I always enjoy the subtle guitar attack by Joe Ely, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s unique voice is interesting, adding to a unique sound from Texas.

There were other good bands playing on the peripheral stages but I decided to chill out on the floor inside the stadium for the rest of the evening. Although I missed Robert Randolph, Buddy Guy, Dwight Yoakam and other good bands, I caught entire sets by the Doobie Brothers and Blake Shelton. While Shelton seemed a strange choice for the middle of the day on a classic-rock dominated mainstage, his sound fit in well as the line between country and classic-rock has almost disappeared.

  • The Doobie Brothers

    “Orlando Calling” at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
    November 13, 2011

    (John Davisson)

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The second day was headlined by Bob Seger and Kid Rock, which attracted an older crowd than Saturday. Most of the fans were on the field the first day, while the seated area of the stadium had a large crowd the second day. They both got full sets, and Kid Rock joined Bob Seger for a duet, which was a nice treat for the festival although not unexpected. Many fans expected it to happen and commentary where I was standing led me to believe a good number of people came down from Michigan hoping for the duet.

  • Kid Rock

    “Orlando Calling” at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
    November 13, 2011

    (John Davisson)

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  • Bob Seger

    “Orlando Calling” at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
    November 13, 2011

    (John Davisson)

    | 

I’m glad Central Florida (my home-turf) has a nice big event to end the festival season. I’ll be looking forward to it next year, maybe even 3 days.


Comments

  1. JoeNova wrote:

    04:17 PM, Nov 15, 2011

    Sounds like a great show. I am a devout Avett Brothers fan, and have no doubt they put on another stellar show. Dwight Yoakam is another personal fave. I had the good fortune to see The David Mayfield Parade open for the Avetts in Las Vegas, and then again in Temecula, CA. The performances were so good, that I sought them out when they did a headlining show in San Diego near my home; you are correct, they are a great band, and a refreshing surprise. The musicianship and song writing are truly gifted and inspired; and yet Mayfield's ability to NOT take himself seriously in anyway makes them that much more appealing. Glad you liked what you saw in them...I encourage you to, as you put it, investigate them in the future.

  2. Evster wrote:

    03:42 PM, Nov 15, 2011

    Sounds like another stellar festival I wouldn't miss in that parallel universe where I have lots of money and no family. The review left something to be desired, though...too many useless descriptors like "nice" and "good."