Alice 97.3 Now and Zen is an annual free music festival that happens in September. It is when the community comes together and gets the opportunity to hear great music. If you have not been to the festival, expect a ton of food, booths, free prizes, alcohol (literally a whole corner of the park dedicated to it) and a ton of people (seriously, there was a huge crowd). You can divide the place into three parts. There are a few areas where you need to have special access to, and those places are off to the side where you get to sit down and relax. But if you want to be where the action is, I suggest joining in the standing room, which is in front of the stage. My family and I got there early and the crowd in the standing room only continues to build throughout the day, so get there early. But if you are there just to enjoy the music and have a picnic and such, then you could lounge in the hills with your blanket and post there. No matter where you are in the venue, you will have a good view of the stage and be able to hear all of the music from wherever you are. Also, we were very blessed that the sun was out! If you are from the area, you know that rarely happens. I guess Karl the Fog was enjoying a little break.
Here is a photo from the beginning of the day before Lindsey Stirling got on stage. My family and I were in the back of the standing room and were roughly 14th row. I hope that gives you guys an idea as to what the view is like from there. Before each act, hosts from Alice 97.3 introduce themselves and do a mini introduction for each of the performances. First up on the stage was Lindsey Stirling. I have not heard her solo before and only heard her during the collaborations she has done with other artists, such as John Legend, on YouTube. So I was excited to hear her set.
But let me tell you, I immediately became a fan. She has great energy on stage and is a very talented musician. She played a bunch of her songs like her hit single, “Crystallize,” which she said changed her career. I loved her hair and did not know how it stayed up the whole time, especially after all of that spinning, running, and moving around. Her music got the crowd dancing and she was just an all-around sweetheart.
Lindsey Stirling kicked off the afternoon on a high note. She pumped the crowd up and I am so happy I got to see her LIVE. I hope she does more collaborations with other artists because she adds such musical flare. Also, I am looking forward to hearing some new music from her. I hope to see her again in San Francisco.
American Authors was next. They were amazing! I saw them LIVE at the Chipotle Festival earlier this summer and they know how to put on a good show. They played their hit singles “Believer” and “Best Day of My Life,” among others. I really like their music because it has a feel-good, positive vibe. Their songs have a positive message, which resonates with everyone. Their music really gets your spirits up, and I was dancing throughout their whole set. They are such down to earth guys and I am happy to see that their fan base continues to grow.
The third performer was a local and has been in the music business for quite some time. I got to see Matt Nathanson years back during Alice’s Summerthing, so I already knew he was going to be awesome. I can guarantee you that not only will you be enjoying his music, but you will also be laughing your head off. Matt is such a funny guy, and the lyrics in his songs are some of my favorites. When he sang “Come on Get Higher,” I literally jumped for joy because that was one of the first songs I heard from him and that was when I became a fan. He also performed “Headphones,” which is one of his newest songs. The song exactly describes how I feel when I put my headphones on and I am just zoning into some tunes. His music has a taste of San Francisco, which makes it have a homey feel to it. You hear instances of key parts of the city intertwined in the songs, and his stories are very relatable. He also did a snippet from Meghan Trainor’s hit “All About That Bass,” which was awesome! I had to take my phone out for that one! From his jokes to his personality, it just shows how down to earth he is.
The last performance of the day was from Neon Trees. By now, since people were coming and going throughout the day, my family and I got to be in the 5th row, or thereabouts. Our view was amazing! Tyler Glenn, who is the lead singer of Neon Trees, opened up to us about how he is shy off stage. But that shyness definitely did not show one bit when they were performing. I loved how the drum kit was blue and had a colorful brain on the bass drum, which matched the cover of the album. Even everyone’s outfits were bright and fun! They performed a ton of songs both off of their current album and some of their past hit songs as well. I was rocking out and singing along at the top of my lungs, and since we were closer it made the experience that much more fun. When you are that close to the band, it just amplifies your concert experience. To top it all off, Tyler crowd- surfed! It was the perfect finale to an awesome musical afternoon.
Overall, the concert was a blast! Alice 97.3 did a great job putting it together and I am already looking forward to Now and Zen 2015! This family friendly event is one that brings together the community and all types of music fans. It was quite an experience, and one that I will never forget. Despite the pushing and shoving from other people, I loved all of the performances and it was definitely a great afternoon of some awesome LIVE music. So next time you are in the area, definitely check it out. It is free and a bunch of fun. Bring your friends, and I hope to see you guys at the Now and Zen 2015!
Here are some of my favorite songs from the artists that performed.
“Crystallize” by Lindsey Stirling:
“Think About It” by American Authors:
“Headphones” by Matt Nathanson featuring LOLO:
“First Things First” by Neon Trees: