Every year, Rochester hosts a huge Jazz Festival. There are all kinds of concerts by local, regional, and national jazz musicians in all kinds of venues. Downtown streets are closed off and people gather for music, food, friends, and fun. The City of Rochester and other sponsors always offer some free outdoor concerts. This year, we decided to go to the Smash Mouth concert. (I know, I had never considered Smash Mouth to be jazz performers, but I was willing to overlook this detail.) Ben really wanted to go and it sounded like fun to me and John. (And I would get to cross of an item on my List of 50 Things.) The concert was on a Saturday evening and the weather was glorious, so we headed downtown nice and early.
We ate yummy Italian Sausage, found the stage, and waited for the warm up band to start. It was a man we had not heard of – James Hunter. We actually heard him warming up and he was fantastic. After he did his sound check, he signed autographs. I asked if I could take his picture with Ben and he agreed.
The concert was great! The crowd loved James Hunter. He has a phenomenal voice and his band was excellent. I was a little nervous because I thought a bigger crowd would be gathering for the Smash Mouth concert. After James Hunter finished and we looked around, we began to fear that we were at the wrong stage. There are several outdoor stages and we found out about 15 minutes before Smash Mouth was scheduled to begin that we were, indeed, at the wrong one. Aaaaah! We rushed a few blocks to another outdoor stage. As we approached this stage, it was obvious that we were now at the right one. It was packed and the audience was much younger.
As the time for the concert arrived, I looked around and noticed that John and I were older than the rest of the concertgoers. I was afraid that I was going to feel embarrassed for being so old. I need not have worried. Apparently, there is NO AGE LIMIT on having FUN at the JAZZ FESTIVAL.
The concert was entertaining. The video, above, gives a sense of the crowd. The energy of the teens and twenty-somethings in the crowd was positive and electric and powerful. The band had a great time and Steve Harwell (lead singer) kept exclaiming about how awesome the crowd was. Ben had a great time. John had a great time. I had a great time. The band played their own hits and some covers. The high point for me was when the band played a set of Van Halen songs. So fun!
After the concert, it was wonderful to see thousands of people walking around downtown. We read, later, a crowd estimate of 40,000 people at the Jazz Fest that night. Unbelievably, we ran into Emily and her friends in the crowd. Sam told us later that he saw us in the crowd but could not get to us. It was so packed.
I don’t know what could be better than a free concert outdoors on a beautiful summer night. I am so thankful we live in a city where music and festivals are valued and public and private funds are used to bring people together. The night is sure to be a high point of our summer. It was a great night!