The sound of summer at the Heavenly Village is music.
Bands perform every Friday and Saturday at the Gondola Stage, the epicenter of the South Lake Tahoe site at the edge of the California-Nevada state line. There are more than 40 shops in the village, along with numerous restaurants, most with live acoustic solo and duos seven days a week.
The season kicked off in earnest Friday at the start of Memorial Day weekend.
Hometown band The Residents opened the first of its three sets as it always does with “Amie,” a Pure Prairie League classic and favorite of bandleader Ted Kennedy.
Donning camouflage T-shirts in honor of fallen military, the 10-piece band filled every inch of the stage. Subbing for Thomas Brandolino, guitarist Chris Seals arrived a bit late and found a small space at the edge for his pedals and room to stand. He plucked and strummed a Telecaster to the Tom Petty song “Free Fallin,’” precariously balancing at his spot.
Nevertheless, The Residents made room for more when Miranda Love took a break from a private show to sing a few songs. The crowd smiled and enthusiastically danced to 4 Non Blondes “What’s Up.”
The band also played some originals by Kennedy and guitarist Sean Hodges. Kennedy even improvised a tune dedicated to some visitors from Washington.
The mood throughout was festive as the pandemic crisis appears to be nearing its end in this area.
“The country has been through a tough year and the Heavenly Village has pushed through every chance we had to bring in live music,” Gary Casteel, the vice president of Trans Sierra Investments and Shops at Heavenly Village, said in a press statement. “We are excited and proud to have our Summer Concert series with 39 acts and many other events planned for the rest of the year for our visitors and locals.”
Emcee Dreu Murin added, “I can’t express how excited our visitors and guests have been to see live music again in the Village. The smiles and happiness by our visitors, locals and musicians is contagious.”