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Reviews From 08-31-2003
Submitted to by Paul Varga

3rd Annual Art & Soul Festival, Oakland, CA

This was literally one of the hottest concerts Guster performed (hitting the 90s outside).
As the teens and 20-somethings stood huddled under the front edge of the stage while the rest of us sat deep-frying on the concrete bleachers, the welcome sight of Ryan, Adam, and a surprisingly clean-shaven Bryan appeared on stage.
Ryan (not sure if it was jokingly) stated that none of their own instruments arrived, so they used what they were given. I did recognize Adam's 'palm tree' guitar, so I'm guessing Ryan was joking.
A friend of mine got me hooked on Guster recently. This was my third Guster concert. The first two were both private radio station concerts (KFOG & KLLC/Alice-FM respectively).
I was familiar with most of the songs from the ten song set they did, except for the Parachute/Goldfly songs (Demons, Careful, Happier, and the Airport Song). But, I enjoyed them as well.
Bryan stayed pretty even between using his hands and using drumsticks during the set. I still think he'd make a great spokesman for ACE bandages.
The surprise was their rendition of The Talking Heads' song (Nothing But) Flowers, which was a great sing-a-long for the crowd.
Between songs, some guy was yelling "Bryan! Today's my 21st Birthday!" I yelled to the guy "Dude! Bryan's straight!" :)
My favorite song of the set was Barrel Of A Gun which was, unfortunately, their last song, making way for Ziggy Marley's two and a half hour set vs Guster's one. When ya start smellin' da ganja, mon, ya tink ees time ta mooove on.
Guster was excellent to their fans afterward, signing autographs and taking pictures with them. I noticed one girl even got wool caps for them. I'm guessing she sewed them herself.
Best laugh of the day: one of the Ziggy fans in the autograph crowd saw Bryan and said, "Is that Ben Stiller?" "Uhhhh, no." :)