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Grandson was unexpected magnificence.

How come this always happens? I hate that it’s already Sunday, and Day 1 and Day 2 have already come and gone. Fortunately, the blow is softened significantly by some stellar artists on Sunday’s lineup. As soon as I got to the festival, I made my way over to the JaM Cellars stage for Blu DeTiger. While I was familiar with her music, I hadn’t even seen a photo of DeTiger, so I was wholly unprepared for how gorgeous she was. And that’s to say nothing of her talent. I enjoyed her set, especially “Hot Crush Lover” and her brief little cover of Gorillaz “Feel Good, Inc.” She puts on an entertaining show, and I’d be happy to catch her again sometime.

Next I hit the Verizon stage for Grandson. As with many of the acts I’m always excited to see at BottleRock, Grandson is one I know from Alt Nation, one of my favorite stations on SiriusXM. Grandson, whose real name is Jordan Edward Benjamin, took the stage in a black t-shirt that read “protect trans kids” and said, “Hello, my name is Pitbull…” I liked him immediately.

Before “Dark Side,” Benjamin requested that the crowd sing along: “so loud the bigots across the street hear it!” The frontman turned out to be quite vocal about the band’s political views, explaining that they were “unapologetically progressive baddies,” but that even Trump supporters were welcome to turn up with them. In a 50-minute set, he made mention of supporting those with addiction (and those who love them), the recent shooting of an elementary school in Uvalde, TX, thoughts on guns and the “talking heads” who send their thoughts and prayers but are in a position to make changes to prevent this kind of thing, and that he believed that “women should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies, you should be able to love whoever you love, fuck whoever you want to fuck…”

Suffice to say I agree pretty wholeheartedly with everything this man is so vocal about. Add to that that they’re a fantastic band with lyrics that say something to me (I teared up not once but twice while photographing the band from the pit, which has never happened to me before). I stayed until I was certain that the band had left the stage before leaving the area, just in case I might miss a single second. The songs I most enjoyed included “Rain,” “Dirty,” and “Overdose.”

(One more thing that’s worth noting: Benjamin addressed a small group of young people directly in front of the stage and asked them if it had been their first mosh pit. He gave them a few tips and added that he might join them later if they did it again. Better still, he not only kept his word, he even instigated the mosh pit at the end of the band’s set and then hopped down off the stage to join as promised.)

Bouncing from the high of such a fun set, I stopped at the Go Bananas food truck for a chocolate and rainbow sprinkles covered frozen banana that was perfect for a warm weekend day. Next up was Eliza & the Delusionals on the Truly stage!

This is another band I know from Alt Nation. They’re a young band out of Australia, and during the course of their 45-minute set, I wondered who the band’s influences were. Early on in their set, I kept thinking they reminded me a bit of Hole (Celebrity Skin era), but I also got a little bit of an early No Doubt vibe. At any rate, they’re a solid little band that I quite enjoyed – they seem to be sweet kids who love to play music, and I liked their sound.

“When I became a musician I didn’t know dancing was gonna be a part of it,” singer Eliza Klatt admitted. “When you’re all dancing with me, it’s better.” This statement quickly became evident as Klatt continued to encourage the crowd to move along with the music throughout their set. I particularly enjoyed their songs “Halloween,” “Save Me,” “Give You Everything,” and of course the brilliant “Just Exist.”

(Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

(Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

After a break for dinner, I set out for the Allianz stage for the first time this year for Amos Lee. I didn’t have the time to catch his entire set, but wanted to check him out for as long as I could anyway. Once all seven band members had taken the stage, Lee announced the first song, the title track from his most recent album, “Dreamland.” Before he began to sing, I heard a woman standing just behind me in the front row whisper dreamily, “oh my god, you’re beautiful.” I smiled, but couldn’t really disagree.

I only had time to stay for half of Lee’s set, but I really enjoyed his energy and music equally. He seemed to be a lovely man, and had an easy, established relationship with the audience. I was really hoping I’d somehow catch “Sweet Pea,” a Lee song I adore, but he must have played it after I had to leave. Still, I really enjoyed what I did get to hear, and I hope to see a full set in the future.

I dedicate this photo to the woman who whispered her admiration for Lee’s beauty.

Finally, it was time for what I considered to be my personal main event for this year’s festival: Pink at the JaM Cellars stage. I adore this woman, and it’s been far longer than I’d like since I’ve seen her live, so I had been looking forward to this performance for quite some time.

When it was finally time, Pink took the stage to “Get the Party Started,” of course. After a string of hits new and old, she paused after “Try,” saying that it was “weird not being thrown around while singing that song!” and added, “I really like being thrown around!”

Before starting her first phenomenal cover song of the evening, Pink admitted that “there are songs out there in the world that I wish I had written,” and admitted “I’m just gonna say I wrote” the cover she was setting up to perform: Bishop Briggs’ “River.” Pink’s version was every bit as delicious as Briggs’ original, and I’m going to hope for a day I can see them play it together, because I truly love both artists.

Later on in the set, Pink’s beautiful 10-year-old daughter Willow Sage Hart joined her mama on-stage for their duet, “Cover Me in Sunshine.” As a Pink fan of more than 20 years, this was a really special moment to witness: I’ve seen this brilliant artist evolve from a popstar with an R&B edge back in 2000 to the massive star that brought us “Stupid Girls,” “Raise Your Glass,” “So What,” “Walk Me Home,” and so many more. To now see Pink as a happy, content, mature woman with children (who also grace the stage with her) is truly a lovely phenomenon.

When Pink covered 4 Non-Blondes‘ “What’s Up,” I found myself not just singing along but singing at the top of my lungs right along with everyone else in the crowd. It was completely unexpected, but in this moment I rediscovered a joy I didn’t know I’d been missing: the full live music experience. It felt so good to be fully immersed in the live set of an artist I love so much. “I Am Here” was next, and she took it to church! The emotion I felt from the previous song carried over so that the lyrics brought me to tears. Seeing Pink live after several years (and a global pandemic that kept us music lovers starved for far too long) made me happy on a level I can’t really describe. Suffice to say it made my weekend.

I wouldn’t have missed Pink for anything: I really needed the cathartic feeling her music gives me, especially when it’s live and she keeps gushing to the crowd about how much she loves her fans. I’ve always gotten the sense that that’s a very honest sentiment from her, and it means a lot. Truth be told, I wrote “I feel healed” in my notes, and I really did.

It wouldn’t be right not to mention that while Pink is the clear star of her show, she’s great about taking time to put the spotlight on her “babies,” including her dancers, backup singers, and members of her band. In particular, she gives plenty of credit to longtime guitarist Justin D’Errico, who was absolutely fantastic, as usual.

And if you’re thinking that an outdoor festival isn’t somewhere Pink could do the aerial acrobatics we’ve know come to expect from her concerts, well… you’d be wrong. (Don’t worry, I was wrong too.) It’s really amazing that they were able to set it up so she could still do some of her “flying,” which must be absolutely exhilarating for her (and is still pretty exciting just to watch from the ground). Unfortunately, the show had to end sometime, due to Napa’s strict 10pm curfew, but while I would have stayed there for four more hours to hear anything she would be willing to sing for me, I also left feeling lighter than I had in a long time. If you’re interested, you can find the entire setlist from Pink’s BottleRock set here.

And just like that, it was all over, again. Thankfully, BottleRock is pretty good about softening the blow of the festival’s end each year by announcing the following year’s dates. So I’ll be ready to do it all over again next Memorial Day weekend!

(This review originally published by Spinning Platters – thanks for sharing!)