The much-anticipated Green Apple Festival got doused with sobering sogginess yesterday, on what would have been the greatest 4/20 spectacle since 1908. Yeah, there’s the well-observed irony that Mother Nature rained on her own parade…yeah, there’s the fact that the day was more gray than green…and of course Toots, the Roots, and Gov’t Mule in toto (among others) never even made it to the stage.
Nor did I, for that matter. By the time I arrived on the mall, bleary-eyed acolytes were beating a hasty retreat through intermittent rain, none of them in too fine a mood. Fair enough, I said, and high-tailed it home to observe the holiday in my own way: luxuriating on my recently freecycled couch while a loud record player filled in for Warren Haynes.
And so I bring you my list of top ten albums when you’re rained out of the Green Apple Festival:
10. Jimmy Smith: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?; funky and tight, without the slow jams that sometimes drag him down.
9. Van Morrison: Wavelength; get past the synths, and it’s still His Souliness. Plus, Garth Hudson sits in on the organ.
8. Robin Williams: Reality…What a Concept; ’cause it’s funny.
7. Mose Allison: The Seventh Son; the ‘blues sage’ at his coolest in the studio…what better for a rainy day than “I Don’t Get Around Much Anymore?”
6. Rolling Stones: Still Life; a 1981 concert with some dangnabbit guitar stylings from Ronnie Wood.
5. George Martin/The Beatles: Love; lush, lovely, with a beyond-the-grave eeriness, it’s been getting me off for a long time.
4. The Who: Quadrophenia; you spend the entire album waiting for “Love, Reign O’er Me,” and when it finally hits it’s like a thunderclap. “Only love can make it rain,” Daltrey sings in the last track, and you gotta figure the Green Apple organizers see it that way too.
3. Ella Fitzgerald and Cole Porter: Dream Dancing; ’nuff said.
2. Phish: Billy Breathes; oh, to be Prince Caspian, afloat upon the waves….
1. The Band: The Last Waltz; whether you’re watching the concert or just listening, count on dedicating a couple of hours to it. “It’s floodin’ out in California,” Levon sings…and apparently in D.C., too.
…and, of course, if you still need your fix of Gov’t Mule, here’s a video of their rendition of “Superstition,” with a guest spot from Derek Trucks: