Day 2 of Optimus Alive was always going to be a bit different due to Florence and the Machine cancelling due to illness at the last minute. Although Morcheeba are a great band, Florence is in a different league altogether. However, I was made up as I missed them when they came to Algarve and Lisbon last year. It was obvious that some people hadn’t heard the news as I saw a few girls in Florence t-shirts. I hope they were not too disappointed. There were many more people in the park than Day 1, but it didn’t stop me bumping into friends all over the place, even in the melee trying to get to the toilets! Also, the weather was much better, yet, as in most of the coast between Lisbon and Cascais, the wind picks up considerably in the evening, which became a problem later as people got cold.
I missed Noah and the Whale, but arrived just in time for Mumford and Sons. They had not hit my radar much but I was pleasantly surprised. Their rock-indie-folk combination set the right mood to watch the sunset go down over the mouth of the River Tejo. They settled into their set well and the music was slick and polished. The crowd was well into it which I think surprised the band and I really enjoyed it. Considering buying the album for those chilled out nights on the balcony watching the city come alive. The only complaint was that it was probably a bit mellow, however as Florence was to due follow then it was a good pick, but when followed by Morcheeba it set the scene for a very chilled evening.
Morcheeba were next on the main stage kicking off with the funky and apt “Down by the Sea”. Brilliant song played well and Skye Edward’s voice was like satin. I loved it. She was also the best dressed woman in the park! Jumping on those heels must have killed her! The set continued with a string of funked up songs typical of the trip hop electronic fusion that Morcheeba are well known for. One highlight was the title song of their new album “Blood like Lemonade” which was recently featured on True Blood. They had their work cut out for them, trying to replace Florence and the Machine was a hard call, but a short un-accompanied version of “You’ve got the love” pleased the crowd before the amazing finale of “Rome wasn’t built in a day” ended a fine set. A unique chilled sound, which should have been on the bill way before Florence pulled out.
I was a bit annoyed I missed AWOL Nation, as they were playing the same time as Morcheeba, but I caught a bit of Tricky after negotiating the mass migrations to and from the food area and toilets between sets. I now know what a wildebeest feels like on the Serengeti plains! I also did my back in sliding down the slide from Santander’s ATM viewing platform – an ATM on the third floor of a temporary building! However, it didn’t stop me dancing and after the concert I went clubbing till four. Freebie wise, Optimus was giving out cowboy hats (which were a nightmare if you were standing behind someone wearing one – bad choice from the marketers), EDP scarves and Oeiras “The Place to Party” t-shirts, which I managed to catch from the bungee jumping basket whilst it was being moved over the crowd.
The Cure were up next and started well, with strong tunes complementing Robert Smith’s mercurial voice. However, the wind played havoc with the smoke machine which ended up obscuring him for most of the set. The music also ended up a bit samish, with over 30 songs played. Everyone seemed to be waiting for the hits from the 80’s which came later in the set.
Best Song: “Down by the Sea” – Morcheeba
Biggest Gripe: Two Spanish guys next to me talking so loud that you couldn’t hear the concert, and that damn smoke machine during The Cure!
Most amusing moment: Watching the reactions of the people around me when a guy dressed as Marilyn Monroe (the rough version – after a good night out) maneuvered through the crowd.
So Day 2 was mellow marked by an Islamic moon – up next – Radiohead, which should be good.