Abbey Road on the River 2012

My friend (and drummer) Rob and I flew into Louisville for AROTR 2012:


We met up with our friend Katie right away – and it was obvious from the hotel that we were in the right place for Beatles geekery!


After we got settled, we found our friend Billy’s art tent. He’d brought the giant Beatles-themed gnome he’d done for some city of Cleveland project.


One of the first new groups I saw was The LSB Experience, from Holland. They did a lot of Eagles and CSNY (yes, there is non-Beatles music at the festival too!). I got part of Don Henley’s “Heart of the Matter”:

Another new band, The Brothel Creepers, from Italy. They were really fun.


Later we hit the first set of one of my fav bands, The Norwegian Beatles. I’ve become friends with the bass player, Kjetil, since he started putting out solo music. (Also because we both like Crowded House.) He just came out with a second solo album (which is awesome). If you want to check out his music, it’s on iTunes:

In this pic, you can actually make out Rob, Katie and I in the front row, on the screen!




The evening show was Britbeat.

Eventually Katie and I went up front to dance around – the set was pretty awesome – they played all old Hamburg/Cavern Club stuff, and wore the leather outfits, which was pretty insane considering the extreme heat over the weekend!


That night our friend Lisa introduced us to some guys in the band Meet the Beatles, who were from the UK and new to the festival. They were SO much fun. Awhile after we introduced ourselves we’d all forgotten each others names, so David (their George) said something about how if you repeat someone’s name a few times, you’ll remember it – so he, Chris (their Ringo) and I all repeated each others names. And it worked, because we remembered each other! I actually ran into them a fair bit during the weekend and it was pretty nice to have all hit it off right away.

I ended up crashing fairly early that night, at 1am.

The Meet the Beatles guys had an early set the next morning – and by early, I mean 11:45 am. I made it mostly on time and managed to squeeze myself into a corner of the stage, which was the only place that had shade.










After their set, we managed to get pics with them in costume:

After that, we checked out our German friend Peter’s band, Lucy in the Sky:


In the breezeway, the strings were rehearsing for the Love show:

We caught local DC band Apple Core at 3pm and they played a great rareties and B-sides set.

After that, I went to another Norwegian Beatles set. There wasn’t much shade – we were all squeezed in a strip right up front, which shrunk during their set! At one point, I wedged myself all the way to the left, practically in the scaffolding!



After dinner, I decided to try to catch LSB Experience again at 8pm, but they weren’t where they were supposed to be, or were seriously behind on the schedule and so I did some wandering around, trying to figure out where they were. (They were on opposite Norwegian Beatles, but I’d just seen them, so I thought I would try LSB since I hadn’t yet caught a full-set.) But I guess it wasn’t to be. When I went outside, I ran into Chris who looked like he was waiting for someone. I sat next to him and we chatted for a while – his uncle and aunt apparently live in the US and they said if his band ever played here, they’d come see him, so they drove up from Raleigh! He was waiting for his Uncle and they were going to go see the Love show on the main stage. We chatted about music and drums and other stuff and when his uncle showed up, I tried one more time to find LSB who still weren’t on at 8:30 – so I headed over to the River Stage and Norwegian Beatles. Katie was already there, so I caught part of their set. When I ran into Rob later, he said that he’d managed to catch them at 9 so wow, yeah, they were really behind on the schedule!

We headed over to Billy’s tent and hung out with him and Rob and listened to some of the Love show and then I think we took a break inside for a while.

Later on, Katie and I took in some of the 11:30 pm Abbey Road Live playing Abbey Road show:


We saw the Yellow Submorons Parade (and Rob) go by and so we joined in, right behind the giant octopus.


We ended up in one of the ballrooms:




Katie and I went out later and ran into Kjetil on the breezeway and we chatted with him for a while before we all checked out the midnight concert. After we all shut that down, we ended up all hanging out outside the ballroom. A few pics from the evening.




After picture taking and more hanging out, we all headed for the breezeway to see what was going on with the singalong. We caught most of Hey Jude:

Bad pic:

Kjetil actually caught a bunch of the parade and the Hey Jude singalong in this vid:

I was out til about 3am – I outlasted Kjetil, but not Katie, who got in at I think 5?

Fortunately nothing at this festival gets going before noon and the rooms are nice and dark, so it’s easy to sleep in the morning. Sunday was hot, so we didn’t bother going out til early afternoon. The first band I wanted to see wasn’t til 2pm.

Actually, I did venture out earlier, maybe noon, to go buy Janine a gift – it was SO hot that I worked up a sweat just walking across the festival and back! But I did find out that the breakfast buffet was still going, so Rob, Katie and I hit that next.

This was the best omelet ever:

At 2 I checked out Timeline – I always enjoy them – I think their bass player has a great voice and they play lots of classic rock.

I tried to catch LSB Experience again, but they were late getting started, so Katie and I went outside to watch some of Cheers Elephant, who have an awesome drummer with long hair who thrashes around while he plays, yet manages to keep a beat.


Witness, this 2 second clip:

Here they are playing Hey Bulldog (or part of it) – he really thrashes around at the end. Very entertaining:

Next, Katie and I fit in our second swim of the weekend before catching another Norwegian Beatles set over at the River Stage. I was glad I caught this set because I think ended up being their best. HÃ¥vard, their guitarist, brought down the house with While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which is kind of like his specialty. He’s always good – but he was especially good. They were really on.



Lucy in the Sky, the German band, played after them, and they did one of my favorite things, which is playing one of the two songs the Beatles recorded in German, Komm Gib Mir Dine Hand.

Next Katie and I headed out to catch our Meet the Beatles buddies only to find that they (most especially David) were having a lot of problems with the heat. Lisa was afraid he was going to pass out. :-/ So we spent their whole set trying to keep them (and him) cool as we could with cold, damp towels, water, and a misting fan. David made it through the set, but it was a little scary to see how shaky his hands were. :-/

Here’s Lisa and I trying to keep David cool:




After dinner, more Britbeat:


For the last NB set, they played for an hour and a half, which was impressive considering the heat.











Here’s the first and second solos from While My Guitar Gently Weeps:

And part of Kjetil singing Rock and Roll Music:

After they were done, Katie and I told Kjetil we’d see him later and we headed back to the room to cool off before checking out the midnight jam. The Meet the Beatles UK guys were there and David said he still felt kind of off from the heat despite having had some sleep. But they were still a lot of fun and we took lots of goofy pics. Here’s me and Chris:


And me and David:

Terrible pic, but such cute and nice guys!

Anyway, we hung out with them and some of Wingsbanned at the jam and then in the breezeway. We had a bunch of food and alcohol we wanted to get rid of since it was our last night, so Katie, Chris and I went up to our room and grabbed a whole bunch of stuff to bring back down. We had a package of Twinkies and Chris said he’d never had one, so we made him take the Twinkies.

Anyway, Kjetil never materialized – it turns out that he’d been exhausted after their last set (totally understandable) and ended up crashing, so Katie and I never got to say goodbye, which was kind of a bummer. But we did have fun hanging out with Billy and Rob and the Meet the Beatles guys. David and I were chatting and he said he was starting to lapse into his George accent. I asked if he was “quite prepared for that eventuality” and made him laugh. :-) And then Billy and I had a nice chat – he’s such a great guy, it was so nice hanging out with him. I lasted til 4am, and then I started saying my goodbyes which lasted pretty much til 4:30, when I finally went up to bed. Rob came in a half hour later and Katie stayed out even later! Not sure when she got in.

Rob and I had a regrettably early flight the next morning, and it was tough leaving on 4 hours of sleep.

I took a 2 hour nap during the afternoon! And it took me a full week to make up my sleep. But it was totally worth it!

I’ll close with this cool pics of the festival (not mine!)