On Sunday, Aug. 12, the helm-shaped amphitheater at Deer Valley had “more sound equipment on the stage than ever before and that’s exactly what we wanted,” said a volunteer to the crowd gathered on the hillside. She was gearing us up for what was promised to be high-energy entertainment. Granted, for those in reserved seating, an earlier indication to what was about to conspire was dignified by complimentary earplugs. Those Parkites, always thinking of others, are sweet.
It does go without saying though that when two heavy alternative rock bands like The All-American Rejects and EVE 6 share an evening, the outcome typically results in burning down the house, or in this instance, tearing down the mountain. A night of madness was had by … well, almost all.
The rocky past of EVE 6 was graciously acknowledged by frontman Max Collins early in the set, and later a mental picture of it was painted in the uninhibited single “Curtains” – off their new album Speak In Code, the first in nearly a decade. Throughout their brief 45-minute set, the reunion of Collins, Jon Siebels and Tony Fagenson felt little disturbed, a band of brothers they seemed; yet, there’s more maturity to the group and a heightened sense of mysticism. Encouraging the crowd to embrace our burdens, Collins, at moments, was like a cosmic evangelist, tall and lean, trumpeting all that remains fearful in our hearts and eyes. I would have liked to hear more from them.
As The All-American Rejects took to the stage, a sky of watered-down pink lemonade hung overhead and a shushed buzz of anticipation erupted in raucous cheer at Chris Gaylor’s first drum beat. During the next 90 minutes, it was utter mayhem on stage – the kind which you neither can nor want to avert your eyes.
Tyson Ritter, 28, was like a caged rabid animal, blurring the lines between pent-up exuberance and being under the influence; however, the sheer clarity in his vocal range (particularly during the acoustic numbers) were, from an artistic standpoint, his most gratifying moments, but by no means his most memorable.
Ritter made a near effortless job of bringing the crowd to his level of hyperactivity. From young to old, fans cascaded to the stage, many squealing and cheering in ecstasy. One girl, who Ritter claimed had a death grip on his arm, prompted the introduction: “This next song is for the all the pretty girls from Park City, not for those shitty bitches from California!”
What I was most intrigued by, besides the performances and Ritter’s sweaty clavicle, was the crowd. From teenage girls and Justin Bieber wannabes to guys with cookie-cutter ear gauges and full-body tattoos to hot daddies with their small children and older, refined Parkite couples, the mix was invigorating and at times comic. Unfortunately, to Ritter’s great disappointment, there wasn’t a hippie in a tie-dyed shirt doing some kind of Native American ritual dance in front of the port-o-potties.
One of the things I find most admirable about the Parkites is that they are constant supporters of their community. No matter the experience, they seem to always remain active and vital participants … even for the likes of a few Rejects.