Sunday October 1, after months of being nervous over it, I attended Sound on Sound in Bridgeport, CT. I was out of town during the festival last year, but all the comments on facebook I was reading said that it was absolutely horrible and that worried me a bit for this year. But John Mayer was headlining, in his hometown, (where we both were born) so I was going to do everything in my power to attend. I had emailed as soon as it was announced about ADA accommodations and they kept saying that they’d be announced “closer to the show”. Almost every other festival I’ve attended (though there hasn’t been many as I acknowledge I am not made for them) typically has what they’re going to do laid out when it is announced / before tickets go on sale. I ended up spending $110 on the closest parking passes, which weren’t even all that close, and the weekend before got confirmation I could park in the ADA lot (I’m curious how much they were charging for that lot as I’m pretty sure I paid too much, but I had to hedge my bets that I’d be as close as possible – especially with the other parking / uber drop off being a 2 mile walk away – something I absolutely would not be able to do!) Fortunately, waiting to find out if they’d have an ADA Platform only in GA or in VIP as well ended up allowing me to take advantage of a $99 ticket offer for the day for GA tickets when I think they were initially selling for $179. They ran a LOT of $99 promos so I figured it was not selling as well as they expected – probably due to so many being hesitant that had attended the year before.
We opted to show up a bit after doors opened to try and lessen the lines and the crowds and getting there was pretty smooth. Of course the accessible entrance was as far away from where we parked as it possibly could be. But when were able to quickly get our wristbands for access to the ADA platform once we got inside and then went to check it out. The Friday before we had gotten more rain than the ground could possibly handle (NYC was beyond flooded) and the crew spent half a million dollars adding gravel, hay, and really awful tiles to the ground to cover the mud. Granted this was probably a whatever they could get last minute – but the “tile” that was on the ground to cover the mud – every single one had a different texture (to trip on) as well as holes in them that my wheels of my walker got stuck in several times. This was also the only path to get to the ADA platform. It may have been better than trudging through mud, but not by much.
We watched the tail end of the Gin Blossoms set from the ADA platform and then went to find food. We also watched Cautious Clay, Margo Price, Mt. Joy, Dispatch and Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals before it was finally time for the acts that we had came for!
Hozier came out and was super adorable with his accent. Through most of his set a drone was going around and a bunch of people were also bouncing beach balls around and he teased that it might be a fun game to try and knock the drone done with the beach balls. I didn’t see the drone again once he said that so maybe someone was concerned that it might be taken seriously! He did a 12 song set closing out with his biggest hit, Take Me To Church which obviously got the biggest reception from the crowd and had the most cell phones in the air. I really enjoyed him and may have to start listening to him more regularly!
Next up was Alanis, whom I had previously seen. Her intro video appeared to be the same from the last tour I saw her and her set was still predominately Jagged Little Pill songs which was great since that’s really the only album of hers I am super familiar with. Of course for her, the biggest crowd reactions were for Ironic and You Oughta Know. She paced back and forth across the stage through most of the songs and when she was standing still she was playing with her hands and it was making me very anxious. She also ended up doing a 12 song set.
Then it was time for John! (He told us to call him just John) He somehow managed to make his stage banter about how every song was somehow about Connecticut. He claimed he wasn’t pandering but I’m not sur I believe him! He commented that the hospital he was born in was “a mile up the road” and while I think it was a bit further than that, you could sense the pride and emotion that he was “home”. He even told a never before told story about how he got his music education from Bridgeport and when his Dad was principal he would confiscate walkmans and then he and his brothers would check out all the cassettes of the walkmans that weren’t picked back up by the students at the end of the year. He seemed to fall back a lot on Room for Squares and at one point was feeling a “vibe” with us and swapped out a song for “Why Georgia” and he said it was about how he was in Georgia but not back home in Connecticut. I was hoping that he’d play No Such Thing early so whoever was there just to hear it would clear out making for less traffic and he did it 3rd. A lot of people also left after he did Your Body is a Wonderland. He also mentioned that Walt Grace probably was from Groton and worked for Electric Boat and that’s how he decided to make his submarine. (Groton is home to the sub naval base and Electric Boat is one of our companies that makes subs) A request for 3×5 was done during the encore… and I thought I might have finally been free of a show with Free Fallin’, but nope. It ended up being the final song of the night.
Overall the event was a lot more fun than I was expecting, but not without its challenges mostly due to my disability. I would consider going again another time, but it sounds like the promoter can’t handle the criticism and is letting a few loud people get to him and doesn’t know if he wants to do it again.