(A collection of exclusive photos from the Now and Zen Festival also is available on SonicNet.)
SAN FRANCISCO Multiplatinum pop-folkie Jewel and ironic
pop-rockers Cake headlined the second annual Now and Zen Festival,
which drew 12,000 to Golden Gate Park on a sunny Sunday.
Cake garnered the most enthusiastic crowd response of the day. They
played their hit single "The Distance,"
(RealAudio excerpt) and they got the crowd to sing the "Sheep go to heaven/ Goats go to hell" chorus from their song "Sheep Go to Heaven"
Alt-country rockers Old 97's played the fastest, most straightforward
rock set of the day before making way for Cake, leaving the stage with
a homey "Y'all have fun today!"
By the time Jewel took the stage, many in the crowd had headed for the
gates. Die-hard fans who braved the heat cheered as she sang these
words from "Hands" (RealAudio excerpt):
"If I could tell the world just one thing/ It would be we're all OK."
Jewel also reached into her bag of vocal tricks to include a scat
interlude in an extended version of her breakthrough single "Who Will
Save Your Soul" (RealAudio excerpt).
Songwriting duo Fleming & John, known for their single "Ugly Girl,"
impressed Elyse Farnham, 15, of Benicia, Calif. "I liked the
Fleming people, they were really sweet ... interacting with everybody,
waving to their fans and talking to them," she said.
Although the festival, sponsored by local CBS affiliate KLLC-FM
(known to its listeners as "Alice"), carried the slogan "Achieve inner
peace through your outer ear," the event clearly was more now than Zen.
Outside, two protesters were more concerned about the Zen tie-in.
Kevin Farrer of Newark, Calif., aimed his bullhorn at the
ticket-holders line and said: "Everything circles around Jesus Christ,
not the Buddha, not Jewel!" His calls largely went ignored. Farrer
(sporting a T-shirt printed with the slogan "Save the Gerbils,
Ban Homosexuality") denied he was protesting the festival itself, he
was just looking for a crowd.
And a crowd there was. The show was sold out, and fans carrying beach
towels and babies filled the meadow and milled around vendor booths
that offered everything from tarot-card readings to Internet
communities to barbecued ribs.
The adventurous tried their hand at Alice's Mount Zen, a 25-foot
artificial rock-climbing wall. Others lined up for free astrological
readings, "mind readings," "soul cleansings" and skin-care
Asked about the spiritual theme of the concert, attendee Alexandra
Maida, 15, of Benicia, Calif., replied, "Spiritual?" Reminded of the
"Now and Zen" title, she responded, "I didn't find anything Zen about
it. And I have practiced Zen."
Alice morning personality Sarah Clark wasn't pushing the Zen
connection too hard: "Well, I mean, it's just a theme," she said.
"It's really just the day's motif."