Friday night was a magical one. Within the interior of the great Central Park, alt-country chanteuse Neko Case was enchanting a huge crowd with her breathtaking vocals. It was the perfect night to witness such an amazing performance. The sky was clear, and as the sun set down, a beautiful shade of blue appeared through the silhouette of the trees that surrounded Rumsey Playfield. Neko’s voice carried perfectly, while her backing band, The Sadies, played seamlessly. In case a free concert in Central Park on a beautiful night,by one of the world’s best female vocalists wasn’t enough, her 90-minute set included every song a fan could ask for. “I Wish I was the Moon,” “Deep Red Bells,” “Maybe Sparrow” and a lovely cover of Bob Dylan’s “Bucket of Rain” all proved to be major crowd-pleasers. In between songs, Neko and her outstanding back up vocalist, Kelly Hogan, talked up some pretty hilarious banter. Initially speaking about feminine hygiene products, their discussion later moved on to which Lynyrd Skynyrd songs were better to scream out requests for than “Freebird.” This coming after a rowdy fan screamed out the pseudo-ironic request that can be heard at every show, ever. Hogan and Case spoke of their love for other Skynyrd songs, and of their Target Lynyrd Skynyrd towels. It’s not often that you have the opportunity to witness such a great performance in a great setting, at no cost, and I guess that’s what made it so special.
While still under the light of the sun, the same crowd witnessed a fine performance from Eric Bachmann. While Bachmann’s songs had their charm, the mellow nature of the tunes, as well as the crowd’s hunger to see Neko, kept him from fully winning over the audience.
The beautiful Neko requested no photography, but you can see some photos of Eric Bachmann here.