Concert Reviews

H20 Music Festival - Cotton Bowl - 6/9/12

H20 Music Festival Cotton Bowl Saturday, June 9

See also: Scenes from the H20 Music Festival

I stood at the entrance of the "House That Doak Built," watching Dallas Fire and Rescue workers help a middle-age Hispanic lady onto a stretcher, and I couldn't help but think about how much of a misnomer H20 Festival's name is. It was in the 90s on Saturday, with humidity over 50%, and there was no free water to be found. And while I'm all for commerce, it's pretty ridiculous that the 16,000 or so people in attendance would be expected to pay four bucks a pop to hydrate themselves. In hopes of getting some heat relief, corporate sponsors like Mio and Lowe's were overrun by people trying to grab flavored water samples and the chance to win a towel.

Name and water issues be damned, the festival is a pretty brilliant move by Univision, as the demographic here (roughly 97% Hispanic) has been begging for something to call their own. Even the location is brilliant because, much like H2O's second act in L.A., Dallas is the center of a strong, rapidly growing Hispanic population, with easy access from from all of Texas' major cities. You could almost hear Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's eye twitch with every "Hola Tejas!" that came from the stage.

"Hola Tejas!" was the resounding cry, as every artist took time to greet the mass of fans between songs. Paulina Rubio's eclectic mix of "Spanglish" songs had the crowd going when I first arrived. While waiting for Ozomatli to take the Festival Village stage, I wandered over to the Heineken Light stage to watch a group that ranged in age from 60 to about 16 engage in rather enthralling sing and dance-along to Maná's "Clavado en un Bar (Stuck in a Bar)," killing any question as to who the crowd was really there for.

After watching Damian Marley welcome everyone to "Jamrock" and work through the high points of his father's catalog, I positioned myself in front of the stage for Snoop Dogg. This was a mistake, as Snoop is late to the stage and the crowd is growing exponentially. As his intro plays, one of his crew steps to the front and starts tossing various items into the crowd. A two-pack of grape Swisher blunt wraps landed at my feet and a fan yelled to hand them to him, as he'll make it "worth my while."

Snoop's set was short but hit the career highlights: "Gin & Juice," "Drop It Like It's Hot," "Still D.R.E." and a rather fantastic cover of House of Pain's "Jump Around." After bitching about his set getting cut short, Snoop ended with his and Wiz Khalifa's "Young, Wild & Free," and stumbled off stage mid-verse, the smell of weed hanging in the air as a set change occurred.

Weezer's Rivers Cuomo took the stage wearing a light blue sweater and took the time to yell, "Hola!" before launching into "The Sweater Song." Weezer played all of their hits in between Rivers' rather endearing attempts at stage banter ("We're Weezer, mucho gusto!") and at one point launched into a cover of Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me."

During Weezer's set, I witnessed a rather epic piece of douchbaggery, as a security guard trying to control the overflow of people into the VIP tent is told to "fuck himself" by a few VIPs for doing his job. I tracked down these VIPs and asked them why they treated him that way, and they complained about how the VIPs have been treated and how there's only one VIP section. I don't think these people realized how ridiculous they are, but they hand me a drink ticket I immediately used to buy the guard some water, so I guess it washed out.

Over on the Festival stage, Tejano band Intocable's crowd was roughly twice the size of Weezer's, and once they finished, everyone converged on the turf to position themselves for Maná, and the song and dance-along repeats itself, with roughly 15,000 more people doing it. Later, dubstep/hard house DJ Tiësto hit the stage and as the drop happened on his last song, fireworks exploded from the stage. I head home sweaty and dehydrated, wondering why people like dubstep.

Notebook dump:On vendor row, an AM station had a voter registration booth that actually looked like it was doing pretty well. Budweiser had a trailer that was showing Euro 2012 coverage, and the crowd watching this was huge.

By the way: Tejano star Bobby Pulido travels on a Tecate-sponsored custom tour bus and was sporting a USGA US Open ball cap. He is my hero.

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Jaime-Paul Falcon