The final day of LAMC always proves the least scheduled and offers the first and only day not racing against time. Traditionally the conference concludes with an early afternoon show at the Central Park SummerStage. This year’s final show was a spectacular line-up, and denizens of NYC had cued up a very long line to get into the park. The opening featured another new talent coming out of Santiago, Chile and quickly rising to international success — electro-pop and disco sensation Alex Anwandter.
Just before he started the show, backstage there was the vaguely ominous sight of an NYPD officer wandering in search of the venue management. The band jumped into a beat and Alex danced onto the stage for his first song and hit-single, “Cómo Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo?” and the crowd cheered. But as soon as he completed it the house manager came on stage in an unexpected sight and whispered into Alex’s ear. Alex returned to the mic and apologized to the crowd — he had to leave the stage because a storm was coming and the show was going to be suspended. Obviously, this did not go over well with a packed crowd that had waited for hours in the humid heat, and still holding signs aloft in anticipation of the artists yet to come. It took multiple announcements, including a few by the NYPD to get the disgruntled uncooperative crowd to disperse on order of the park being closed by Storm and Flood Warnings.
Equipment was hastily moved and covered, trucks backed-up in anticipation of an end-of-show load-out. Backstage, faces were in a state of shock and many were stunned. Natalia Clavier, herself an LAMC main-stage act days earlier lamented, “I HAVE to see this show! It’s just too good of a line-up!”. We watched radar images on phone apps, witness to large heavy rain clouds heading toward the park. The die-hard fans forced to exit the park, formed a 1000-person long-line and maintained hope along with the reet of us the park would re-open. And whether by force-of-will or musical providence, the enormous formations headed straight for the park shifted, parted, and abated .
You could hear a roar erupt from outside the park as the radio transmission broadcast to park perimeter security announced the show was back-on. The crowd raced inside the park as Alex Anwandter was already onstage resuming his set. Alex made a note his next song was fitting and indeed, as he began the ballad, “Tormenta,” the less-threatening rain began.
The two hour delay threatened the show to run against performance curfew but the park authorities extended the curfew a half-hour, and the stage-crew rushed change-outs between sets, forcing each act to only shorten their set by one or two songs
Perhaps the most desperate fans were anticipating the second act of the show — Mexican alt-singer-songwriter and last years LAMC discovery award winner, Carla Morrison. Many fans held signs wishing her early birthday wishes and were thrilled to finally see her, and she seemed just as relieved to see them — it was this group most defiant to leave the park upon the shows suspension. It was obvious how confident her stage presence had grown in just a year since she won the Discovery Award and she frequently sang to crowd outside the protective canopy of the stage, basking in the summer rain.
A quick change-out finally brought the prodigious headliner, Mexican singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentslist, and producer Julieta Venegas to a roar of approval. Cursing away the delay, she and her band jumped into an energetic and musical set and delighted the rain-drenched crowd, evoking a loud cheer each time she donned her accordion.
Despite the heat, and threat of major storms, LAMC 2013 came to a storybook ending. We joined some of the LAMC crew for an actual sit-down dinner with real utensils — some amazing Argentinian — absent of any laptops to work upon or scheduled to keep, now that an amazing week of music and organized chaos had come to an end. We met friends at the lounge setting of Bar at Dream Downtown and took in our last hours of NYC viewing the abstracted haze-filled skyline from the rooftop of Ph-D. It was another great year…but it sure will be nice to get back to Los Angeles.