It was really strange and, at times, exhilarating on Friday for those of us who haven’t been to many concerts or festivals since they started performing again a few months ago only to be plunged back into a sea of humanity in Outside Lands. The crowd at full capacity was huge in every way – and it’s clear everyone who had tickets was clamoring to be there for the first day.
While the week was fairly mild leading up to the festival, Friday afternoon brought a thick layer of fog over Golden Gate Park which settled inside the festival grounds around 3:30 p.m. and hasn’t stopped. . It made for a generally gloomy Friday night as darkness fell and all the trees were lit up as they usually are for the outer lands. Fortunately, the ground conditions weren’t so muddy despite the bomb-cyclone-meet-atmospheric-river weather event last weekend. (However, you’d better believe the patches of grass outside of Porta-Potties off Lands End had seen better, greener days)
But Friday’s subjectively drab weather conditions were not enough to deter kids from wearing skimpy festival gear and running en masse through the park between stages – the trails were sometimes crowded with people and there was hardly any no choice but to go with the flow.
The newly added SOMA tent, which is set up as a dark nightclub inside with lots of lasers and where house music DJs play all weekend, was a popular destination in Marx Meadow – festival organizers have it. added this year due to demand, seen in the often long queues to enter the tiny House by Heineken tent, which this year is actually an outdoor dance area with its own little stage.
The festival’s “Health Check Fast Pass” bracelets, however, are not enough to fit one into the tent, and they do an extra vaccination check here, resulting in very long queues. The reason is that the organizers apparently did not distinguish, at the wristband level, between those who show full proof of vaccination at the gates and those who show a recent negative COVID-19 test, and full vaccination is required. under the San Francisco order to be inside the SOMA tent.
The afternoon ended with a stellar set from Sharon Van Etten, who drew friend – and Saturday performer – Angel Olson on stage to do their duet “Like I Used To” as a closing act.
The second smaller outdoor stage, the Sutro Stage at Lindley Meadow, drew a massive and positive crowd for the DRAMA duo, whose cathartic single “You’ve Done Enough” made the crowd bounce and dance. Likewise for their five-year-old single “Hopes Up” from their Gallows EP. This is a group that didn’t release their first full album until February 2020, but they were already on the radar of Another Planet and were also included on last year’s Inside Lands show.
Glass Animals put on a good show to a very excited crowd after sunset.
Tyler, the creator’s headliner on the Twin Peaks stage, opposite The Strokes on the Land’s End stage, was the destination for many – and Julian Casablancas was particularly shitty about San Francisco and its COVID-19 policies , complaining on stage about being asked twice to show proof of vaccination, then doing a lackluster set, didn’t help keep the crowds engaged.
The Strokes performance tonight at Outside Lands was by far the worst I have seen by any band at a major festival, let alone a headliner. I don’t know how Julian Casablancas could think he is shit when he sucks so clearly.
– FactoryOfGladness (@factoryofglad) October 30, 2021
@Casablancas_J I don’t know why you criticized San Francisco during your Outside Lands set. If you are so depressed you didn’t have to play there.
– Cindi🌹🏳️🌈🦀🥑🍣🥃🥂⚾️ (@ CindiLewis9) October 30, 2021
Tyler’s ensemble, meanwhile, was full of energy and connection to the crowd – he shouted out to all the black people at the festival, saying his festival audience was generally predominantly white, and adding, “I myself. sense in security “. He also complimented the venue, saying the trees and fog were “gorgeous” to look at and the whole thing was “pretty cute”.
He took the crowd to a frenzy with songs like “See You Again” and “LUMBERJACK”, and he brought his usual showmanship – singing from the top of a vintage Chris-Craft wooden speedboat with scenes pastoral care projected behind him. Plus, her opening song, “Corso”, brought intense pyrotechnics.
Bottom Line: The first day of Outside Lands felt like a true return to form, which simultaneously meant it was a welcome window into pre-pandemic San Francisco. Between meeting esteemed colleagues, paying an inordinate amount of money for food – yes, there really is a $ 50 bowl of ramen available at OSL this year – and seeing electrifying live sets on the first day of OSL’s inaugural IRL Festival. since 2019 was a sight to see. Let’s just hope we get to see Lizzo don her Baby Yoda Halloween costume tonight before taking the stage at Lands End.
Check back tomorrow for our coverage of this year’s OLS Day 2.
* SFist editors Jay Barmann and Matt Charnock both contributed to this article