Review: Grizzly Bear @ Williamsburg Waterfront


I like Grizzly Bear. So does Jay-Z…but more on that later.

After a sort of dreary start to the day, it turned into a surprisingly warm and sunny NYC afternoon. I decided to head to the Grizzly Bear show that I knew was happening along the Williamsburg Waterfront park on the East River. Having just moved to a new apartment, I am now near the G train and was pleasantly surprised that it was so easy to get to Williamsburg. I got there a little before 4pm and Grizzly Bear was set to go on at 6pm. Things were going well…and then I saw the line. Somehow I am still surprised when I see miles of people in line for free concerts in New York, but I knew Grizzly Bear would draw a big crowd, and the nice weather certainly helped. The line started at the park entrance on N 8th street then went north along Kent to N 11th street, then down N 11th and back up the other side of N 11th, then north on Kent again to N 12th…wait, I’m not done yet, then down a good part of N 12th. Really, outlook was not good.


But it moved, and I waited. The line provides lots of time to get a tan or check out all the combinations of clothing people in NYC will pair together on a hot summer day. Cardigan and jeans? Check. Suspenders and shorts? Check. Black tights and shorts and boots? Check. Ripped-up t-shirt and dress pants? Check. An opportunity to break out the middle school Mathcounts t-shirt? Double check. I left there wishing I had been more creative in my clothing selection.

Anyway, the line moved, but it took a while, maybe an hour and a half even. This was all because there were only two people checking bags, and there was no separate line for those without bags. Once I was in it was great. The area in front of the stage wasn’t too crowded and I got up pretty close. I looked around and saw that the alcohol was pretty strictly regulated since there was a whole fenced off area for beer vendors and drinkers. And that’s why it wasn’t too crowded. All the beer drinkers were fenced in over to the left of the stage. I must say the setting is quite picturesque and the stage is quite impressive with it’s NYC skyline backdrop.

I missed Vega, but saw Beach House. Here are a few pictures:

beach house 2


They were good, but I didn’t know any of their songs, so I was just waiting for Grizzly Bear to come on. And then Jay-Z and Beyonce showed up and I got all distracted.



See, I had been standing by the audio control tent because I realized it was my only hope of shade. It was a nice break from the sun, and not a bad view of the stage. Then it turned out to be the unofficial VIP section when Jay-Z, Beyonce, and her sister Solange showed up. They had three or four security officers around, but for the most part they just wanted to enjoy the show like the rest of the people. Jay-Z stayed under the tent, but Beyonce wanted a better view and stood on some of the equipment boxes.


That’s Beyonce in the hat. Don’t you hate it when your view of the stage is blocked by Beyonce?


Grizzly Bear sounded really good live and they ended up being a really good pick for an outdoor show. The music sounded more upbeat for some reason. I have their latest album Veckatimest, but I had clearly not listened to it as much as Solange Knowles, who sang along the whole time. I will be listening to the album a lot more after seeing this show.




The band played for an hour and fifteen minutes or so, and it was so good I ended up forgetting all the time I spent waiting in line. As the concert ended, the sun was setting behind Manhattan.


And then everyone had to say goodbye to the free NYC summer concert season. And I have to say it was a pretty great way to end it.



4 Responses to “Review: Grizzly Bear @ Williamsburg Waterfront”

  1. 1 eb

    I can’t believe how close you were to beyonce and jay-z!

  2. 2 Betsy

    You should have asked Beyonce if she could get down off the equipment boxes b/c she was blocking your view … of course the four security guards might not have liked that.

  3. Beyonce is so wonderful! I was born and raised in Houston too! Nice to see a fellow Texan from my home town make it to the top!

  1. 1

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