'ACL' Live Shots

Arc Angels

Zilker Park, Sunday, Sept. 29, 8:30pm

"Thank you, thank you -- thank you -- for being here," gracioused three-time Tour de France king Lance Armstrong, without whom this inaugural Austin City Limits Music Festival might not have been the nuclear sun success it was. (His manager's firm produced the event.) "I remember a long time ago I used to go down to Steamboat to see this band -- Austin's own Arc Angels." That the festival-headlining foursome sounded every decibel like a band that now one-offs reunion gigs for just causes was no surprise; polite exchanges are welcome everywhere but classic rock concerts, where an axe to grind by the likes of Charlie Sexton and Doyle Bramhall II is encouraged. Then again, after two exhausting, exhilarating days of Austin's very own version of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, it wasn't a disappointment either. Witnessing "Paradise Café," "Sent by Angels," "Sweet Nadine," and "The Shape I'm In" always conjures enough old Austin to make the heart grow fonder. Winding down with an already wound-down Arc Angels was perfect somehow. Just ask the two girls laying on their blanket well away from the audience, over by KLBJ's inflatable Angus and jeep/trailer combo. In the darkness of a mostly unlit Zilker Park, a lone stranger appearing from around one side of the jeep would probably have been cause for at least mild alarm anywhere but Austin. Instead, said weary, dehydrated straggler was welcomed with a corner of blanket, ice cold water, and medicinal marijuana. Names were unimportant, faces barely illuminated, but the camaraderie was explicit and free. Looking out across the fairway that lay in front of the band, silhouettes festivaling about like from a Sixties-era concert documentary, one couldn't help thinking Austin might just be the Live Music Capital of the World.

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