My job took me to Phoenix for the Final Four college basketball tournament this year (in anticipation of our stadium hosting in 2019), where I learned a lot about the preparation and logistics needed to put on this major event. With the first two semifinal games on Saturday and the finals on Monday night, I was able to sneak away on Sunday, April 1, to attend the Capital One JamFest.
The NCAA puts on a series of concerts over the weekend each year, but this was the only day I could go to the Arizona edition. This turned out great, as that day had the lineup I most wanted to see:
- Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
- Blink 182
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
I’ve seen the Night Sweats and Macklemore before, but Aerosmith was on my bucket list (I think Blink 182 skipped my generation – don’t think I knew any of their songs, to be honest). Leon Bridges played the night before and made a quick cameo with Nathaniel Rateliff during S.O.B., which was cool (I’ve seen Leon a few times, but was still sad his set was during the semifinal games).
The local paper has a summary of the day here, which was highlighted by massive crowd control issues at Margaret T. Hance Park. Thankfully my NCAA credential got me in, because there was no way the police were letting in more than 20,000 people. I got there just as Night Sweats took the stage, positioning myself in front of the sound board and large lighting tower. I ended up getting pushed up farther and farther with each act, which included my first close-up encounter with a real mosh pit during the Blink set (waaaaay too intense for my tastes).
The concerts went on for seven and a half hours, which meant I nearly passed out from dehydration by the end. In hindsight, I was glad that I didn’t give up my spot, as watching Steven Tyler from about 15 feet away singing Dream On was a lifetime concert highlight for me (pictures after the jump). The openers sounded great, Blink was almost as energetic as their fan base, Macklemore put on a high-quality set reminiscent of his Minnesota State Fair show, while the Bad Boys of Boston really lived up to my high expectations (hard to believe those guys are all nearly 70).
Charles Barkley and Jim Nantz also made an appearance in between sets, along with about ten million Capital One promotions…