The RIDE Festival was held July 9 & 10 in beautiful Telluride, CO. This gorgeous little tucked away town in the mountains was rocking all weekend. The amazing scenery mixed with the absolutely stunning festival weather created an almost perfect atmosphere. And well, let’s be honest – with PEARL JAM headlining night one and CAGE THE ELEPHANT headlining night two, it couldn’t get much better!
As PEARL JAM’S Eddie Vedder walked on stage with his customary bottle of wine, it was almost as if he was at a loss for words looking out at the packed house of Telluride Town Park. However for those of you that have seen PEARL JAM perform before, you know better. 29 songs later (including a 9?!?!? song encore?) many words were spoken. What fans had been waiting for all day in the hot sun was a long night with their PJ family – and boy did they get it.
Starting off the night with “Nothingman” was a great way to ease the die-hard crowd into what was to be a long night. With classics such as “Better Man”, “Even Flow”, and “Black” spread throughout the setlist, mixed with covers of “Comfortably Numb” (PINK FLOYD), “I Won’t Back Down” (TOM PETTY), & “Crazy Mary” (VICTORIA WILLIAMS), PEARL JAM surely delivered. The energy of the performance was palpable in the air from the minute Eddie and company took the stage.
Towards the end of the main set Vedder called on stage the two winners of the local KOTO Community Radio ‘Eddie Vedder’ Karaoke Contest held during the week leading up to the event. Organized by KOTO, the local event saw fans perform a series of three songs – any Pearl Jam/Vedder song, any song in the style of Eddie Vedder, and lastly a judge’s choice. The winning group were two girls from Telluride who were able to come on stage and sing a few lines of “Daughter” with Eddie. Truly a magical moment for all involved and a memory that will never fade.
Earlier in the night, HIGHLY SUSPECT served as direct lead in for the headliners. The Brooklyn-based rockers played over an hour of hits such as “Bath Salts”, “Serotonia”, and “Bloodfeather”. Lead vocalist Johnny Stevens – an energetic, tattooed, hard-rocking badass – mixed with the Meyer twins (Rich & Ryan) served notice to the Telluride crowd that they were here to rock. Last year, HIGHLY SUSPECT released their first full-length album titled Mister Asylum which featured the hit “Lydia” with over 13 million streams on Spotify. The guys are headed to Europe for a few festivals and will be back in the USA this fall.
If you have not had a chance to see RIDE Festival day two headliners CAGE THE ELEPHANT, make plans to immediately. With radio friendly singles “In One Ear”, “Aberdeen”, and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” it is safe to say that most have heard a CAGE song at some point in their life. Die-hard fans waited on the security railing all day for the rockers to take the stage and were instantly delighted. Animated frontman Matt Shultz vibrated from one corner of the stage to the next giving fans all across Telluride Town Park a view.
This includes the front row after leaping down from the stage and jumping into the crowd to be with the fans. Albeit a brief moment, CAGE THE ELEPHANT’S lead vocalist Matt Shultz being hoisted up by the fans was an amazing way to end a perfect festival weekend.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: CMZ PHOTOGRAPHY