Orlando Calling 2011

Tickets in hand, my brother and I were headed toward the citrus bowl Saturday morning for the Orlando Calling music festival. 

"This is awesome!" Willy said as we got off the shuttle. 

I laughed. “We’re not even inside yet.” 

Once we got through the entrance line, we wandered around to get the lay of the land. There were four stages scattered in the fields around the stadium and a gigantic one inside. 

We didn’t know any of the bands that were playing in the morning, so we just wandered from stage to stage catching a few songs of several different bands including the band from the freecreditscore.com commercials, Parachute, and a very energetic gypsy punk band called Gogul Bordello. All of the acts we saw were very enjoyable. 

Then it was time for Iron & Wine. We ended up pretty close to the stage. 

Quite frankly, I was a little disappointed. Iron & Wine’s music doesn’t really lend itself to the music festival atmosphere, so the band jazzed it up a bit, which kind of just made it sound more generic and took away a lot of what I really love about its music. 

Don’t get me wrong - they sounded good. It’s just -and this might sound weird- it didn’t seem like the band was having very much fun. A band’s chemistry makes a huge difference in a live show, and the band members just seemed like they were going through the motions. 

It was a short set and we left during the last song so we could go see the Avett Brothers, who were on the main stage inside the citrus bowl. I thought we would have a problem getting a good spot, but the acts on the main stage were running late, so we walked in right as Kid Cudi finished singing “Pursuit of Happiness.” 

The Avett Brothers came on and started right into “And it Spread.” Unlike Iron & Wine, the band members were definitely into the music and having fun. The cello player kept flinging his long hair around as he jumped around stage while playing. 

Scott and Seth (the actual Avett brothers) like to yell into the microphone, but they can sing too. Halfway through the set, the rest of the band took a break while the brothers sang an old gospel song. 

Overall they put on a fantastic show. 

I was already getting tired from standing, so I sat farther away from the stage for O.A.R.  and watched the concert on the big screens. O.A.R. is also really good live. Most of the songs were from the new album, and they were really good, but I was waiting for “Crazy Game of Poker,” at the end. The band did not disappoint. 

The loud music and bright lights were giving me a splitting headache, so I took a quick nap at a picnic table before it was time for The Killers. 

The crowd screamed as the killers came onstage. The lights on the stage were crazy. We were kind of far back and could only really see the outlines of the band against the bright background lights.


Although I don’t listen to The Killers that much, I knew quite a few of the songs from 9th grade, when my friend introduced me to the band. Some of the people around us were really excited. They were jumping and dancing around, which made it all the more exciting. The Killers played a killer concert - sorry, couldn’t resist, but it really was awesome. 

At the end, as the lead singer (and everyone in the crowd) repeated “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier,” confetti suddenly exploded out of cannons on stage, showering the audience. 

Everyone lifted their hands up as if it was snowing. It was the perfect ending to an awesome day.