Highs, lows of Extra Innings 2024: Noah Kahan tells his truth; mosquitoes were out in force

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The inaugural Extra Innings Festival is bringing two days of music and baseball-themed fun in the sun to Tempe Beach Park and Arts Park on Friday and Saturday, March 1-2.

Country superstar Chris Stapleton tops the bill on an opening day that also features Turnpike Troubadours, Ryan Bingham, Charley Crockett and some must-see acts going on earlier.

Saturday brings the Dave Matthews Band in the headlining spot with Morgan Wade, Noah Kahan, Sheryl Crow and Tempe’s gift to jangle-rock, the legendary Gin Blossoms.

Extra Innings also has opportunities to see MLB legends Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Braun, Tim Raines, Rollie Fingers and more. There’s also a live talk show, "Off the Mound With Ryan Dempster," in which the World Series champion hosts interviews and performances from surprise guests.

(If you're wondering what happened at Innings Festival last weekend, here are the best and worst things we saw, plus a review of the thundering headlining set by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.)

Best and worst things we saw at Extra Innings Festival 2024 on Saturday

High: Dave Matthews closes out Extra Innings 2024 in top form

The Dave Matthews Band opened their festival-ending set to cheers from the crowd. The setlist included some fun covers along with the band's biggest hits.

Their second song was a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” during which you could see the band having fun with the electric guitar and creating a soft rock vibe.

The band offered up a timeless performance with trumpets of “Crash Into Me” from their second studio album “Crash,” released in 1996.

Dave Matthews Band setlist: Every song they played at Extra Innings 2024 in Tempe

They followed this up with “So Much to Say,” which had even Extra Innings staff jamming out with smiles on their faces.

Fans were dancing, twirling and enjoying the music together as the night drew to a close.

— Dina Kaur

Low: Springtime brings out the bugs

One downside of a lakeside festival in spring is the insects turn out in droves too. By around 5 p.m. Saturday as the sun started to go down, mosquitos started attacking at full force. Bug spray would’ve been a smart choice, along with lightweight clothing layers.

— Dina Kaur

High: Noah Kahan's fearless performance

Noah Kahan started his set off by saying: “My goal for any festival is to leave people a little less happy than they came in.”

Boy was he wrong. His jokes throughout kept fans laughing during even the saddest songs.

Kahan started with his hit single “Northern Attitude,” off his third studio album “Stick Season.” Fans sang at the top of their lungs as Kahan strummed his acoustic guitar and sang “New Perspective.”

“This next song is about decomposing bodies,” Kahan said before leading into “Everywhere, Everything.”

He then lightened things up with a bubbly performance of “She Calls Me Back,” only to slow things right back down with “Forever.”

Kahan shared his inspiration for many of his songs: his parents' divorce. He told how they put him in therapy when he was 8 and that his journey with mental health inspired the song “Growing Sideways.” That was evident when he started with the lines, “So I took my medication and I poured my trauma out, on some sad-eyed middle-aged man's overpriced new leather couch.”

Heading into his last few songs, Kahan played “Dial Drunk,” which had everyone screaming at the top of their lungs. He followed this up with his Billboard Top 10 hit “Stick Season,” where he paused and let the audience sing, and ended with the nostalgic feeling of life in a small town with “Homesick.”

— Dina Kaur

High: Noah Kahan keeps it real and the fans loved it

Christine Raley traveled from Chicago to Tempe for her bachelorette party to see Noah Kahan at Extra Innings.

“Oh my God, opening with ‘Northern Attitude,’ I started sobbing,” Raley said. “His voice is just so beautiful. It was my first time seeing him live. He was just such a genuine performer and he was joking with the crowd. Everyone just wanted to be his friend.”

Jessica Raak from Tempe is a mental health clinician who also counsels in jails and prisons. She loved Kahan’s performance for the awareness it brought to mental health and individuals involved in the criminal justice system.

“I thought it was fascinating that he was really open with his mental illness history and his justice-involved history and very much normalized it and I loved that about him,” Raak said.

— Dina Kaur

Noah Kahan performs on the Home Plate stage on the second day of Extra Innings Festival at Tempe Beach Park on March 2, 2024.
Noah Kahan performs on the Home Plate stage on the second day of Extra Innings Festival at Tempe Beach Park on March 2, 2024.

Low: Try not to get run over by other fans, OK?

If you were hoping to get a good view of your favorite artist on Saturday, you probably were disappointed. From Sheryl Crow’s performance on into the night, fans were out in full force, piling around the stages.

You were either way in the back or squished behind someone tall, standing on your tippy toes or stretching your neck to get even a glimpse of the performers.

After each artist, people dispersed immediately, meaning you had to get out of the way fast or risk getting pushed and shoved.

— Dina Kaur

High: Gin Blossoms are happy to be home in Tempe

The alternative rock band Gin Blossoms, which formed in Tempe in 1987, gave a fun performance of their hit song “Hey Jealousy,” pulling out a tambourine and encouraging fans to put their hands up.

A huge crowd gathered and people were singing along, dancing in the breeze at sunset.

The trees at Tempe Beach Park also swayed and the easy-going vibe was everywhere as Gin Blossoms moved into “Til I Hear It From You,” which was part of the soundtrack for the 1995 coming-of-age film “Empire Records.”

“Thank you Tempe, it’s great to be home,” lead singer Robin Wilson said toward the end of the performance.

— Dina Kaur

Low: Where’s Noah Kahan?

At 3:45 p.m. Saturday, hundreds of fans gathered at the Left Field Stage after an announcement was shared on the Extra Innings Instagram around 4 p.m. Friday saying Noah Kahan would be at the "Off the Mound with Ryan Dempster" live talk show for a pre-performance interview.

As time went on and there was no sign of Kahan, fans started to get weary. At 4 p.m. Dempster made an announcement.

“Unfortunately he’s not gonna be here today, that we know of,” Dempster said. “Now that might happen, that might not happen, I don’t know. But he’s resting up so that he can go out there and put on a good show.”

Tyler Perrino from Phoenix had come to see Kahan’s interview. He has attended Innings Festival a few times and is a huge baseball fan. He was sad not to see a Kahan interview.

“A little upset, not gonna lie, but I do know he just got back to the States a couple days ago,” Perrino said. “It would’ve been cool, but I’d rather him rest up and put on a great set. I wish he had longer than an hour but I’m happy to see him.”

Perrino's favorite song of Kahan’s changes every day but lately he’s been enjoying “Homesick and “New Perspective. “Stick Season” will always be his go-to as well.

— Dina Kaur

High: Soaking up the sun while Sheryl Crow sings

Sheryl Crow's delicate but powerful voice entertained fans from her perch atop Home Plate Stage on Saturday afternoon.

Crow had the crowd clapping along during “The First Cut Is the Deepest.” She followed it up with a lively performance of “Strong Enough.”

And she got the crowd grooving to a fun performance of “Soak Up the Sun,” which was delightful on a sunny day as fans sang along.

Crow took a moment to share how excited she was for the performers later today.

“I gotta say, I’m a big Dave Matthews fan. I just got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but I think he should’ve gotten in before me,” Crow said.

She also said her young boys love Kahan and told her not to embarrass herself while playing ahead of him today.

— Dina Kaur

Sheryl Crow performs on the Home Plate stage on the second day of Extra Innings Festival at Tempe Beach Park on March 2, 2024.
Sheryl Crow performs on the Home Plate stage on the second day of Extra Innings Festival at Tempe Beach Park on March 2, 2024.

High: Boot-scootin' fashion with a dash of grunge

The fashion at Extra Innings 2024 seems to be embracing a cowboy aesthetic, with an emphasis on boots.

“I thought it was a hippie country thing to do,” said Abigail Wagner.

“It was either sneakers or boots, and I was going for a certain vibe,” said Katie Caslaw.

The fashion choices aren't limited to footwear. Whether it's rocking a stylish Stetson hat or showcasing intricate Western-inspired jewelry, attendees are displaying their individuality while embracing the festival's thematic elements.

“I was going for grunge Western. And I was going for a Western indie vibe with Sheryl Crow and Noah Kahan,” said Katie and Krista Koenig, respectively.

— Tiffany Acosta

(Extra) Low: The dust is everywhere again this weekend

The warm, dry weather and movement of crowds of people around Tempe Beach Park are creating quite a dust situation at Extra Innings. It gets everywhere — your eyes, nose, even your drink. I was here last weekend for Innings Festival and the dust seems worse today.

— Tiffany Acosta

High: Baseball, music and Zia Records

The Zia Records pop-up shop with its Arizona Diamondbacks theme was back on Saturday with CDs and vinyl from Innings Festival and Extra Innings performers. Other merch included tote bags, hats and shirts.

“The vibes are great. It’s nice to have an Extra Innings," said Mary Papenhausen, marketing coordinator at Zia Records. "We’ve done Innings since the beginning. We love it and we love the vibes. We are consistently busy and it keeps getting better. We got signed records from artists such as Kaitlin Butts, Charley Crockett, Larkin Poe, Kingfish Ingram, Turnpike Troubadours and Ryan Bingham.”

— Tiffany Acosta

High: Jade Bird's high-energy set is a winner

British singer-songwriter Jade Bird commanded Home Plate Stage on Saturday with an electrifying performance. She delivered powerful vocals, heartfelt lyrics and captivating indie folk vibes. Her music created an atmosphere of energy and emotion that clearly resonated with the audience.

— Tiffany Acosta

Low: Arizona makes great beer and wine. Why isn't any here?

It's disappointing that no Arizona beers or wines are offered at Extra Innings. Arizona boasts a thriving craft beer and wine scene, and featuring local products could have provided an additional taste of all Arizona has to offer.

Beverage options include Pacifico and Corona beers and liquors such as Tito’s vodka and Espolón tequila. Pricing is roughly $12 to $16.

— Tiffany Acosta

Low: Sunny day, sweaty pits

On Saturday afternoon at Extra Innings, the absence of clouds intensified the sun's rays. Without a breeze to provide relief, it felt even warmer than 75 degrees. Sunglasses, hats and sunblock are essential. Expect to break a sweat while jamming to the music.

“We are from Colorado, so this is quite pleasant. It’s not too hot; it’s not too cold. We came because of the concerts and expected it to be a little warmer,” Scott and Lynne Anderson said.

— Tiffany Acosta

Best and worst things we saw at Extra Innings 2024 on Friday

Chris Stapleton brought opening day of the first Extra Innings Festival to a crowd-pleasing finish at Tempe Beach Park with “Tennessee Whiskey," "You Should Probably Leave" and many more hits. But it wasn't all fun and games on Friday, March 1. Read on for the whole picture.

High: Chris Stapleton made fans verrrry happy

People crowded the sidewalks and grass at Tempe Beach Park to catch a glimpse of Chris Stapleton, the final act of Extra Innings Night 1. His soulful voice delighted fans as much as it did when he sang the national anthem at Super Bowl 2023 in Glendale.

He began his set with “White Horse” and an electric guitar solo that pumped up the fans.

One fan could be heard yelling “I love you Chris Stapleton” between songs.

Stapleton went on to perform “Parachute” and had everyone on their feet with his strong vocals. He followed it up with “Second One to Know.”

“Hello Arizona,” Stapleton said to the crowd. “Welcome, welcome, thank you for being with us tonight. I’m not gonna do a whole lot of talking tonight. We’re going to play as much music as we can with the time that we have.”

With that, he led into “Starting Over” which got the romance going and couples dancing. You could feel the love in the air.

Stapleton interacted with the crowd throughout his set. During the song “Millionaire” following the line “I got love enough to spare, That makes me a millionaire,” Stapleton said, “Yes it does.” Fans cheered in response.

Kids sat on their parents' shoulders to get a better view. Stapleton held his note before going into “Hard Livin,” followed by “Worry B Gone.”

Stapleton incorporated many guitar solos into his set and played brilliantly, keeping everyone toe-tapping.

— Dina Kaur

Chris Stapleton 2024 setlist: Every song he played at Extra Innings Festival in Tempe

High: Fans can't wait for Chris Stapleton to take the stage

Fans are excited to see headliner Chris Stapleton and enjoying the general vibe.

“I just like walking around, seeing all the different bands in the new venues,” Robin Chapman from Ahwatukee said. “And Elle King’s the greatest. We came for Chris Stapleton but getting to see all the other bands has just been incredible.”

Chapman was hoping that Stapleton would play “Tennessee Whiskey.” She got her wish.

She has been coming to the Innings Festival for six years and wanted to attend all weekend but pricing constraints forced her to settle for Friday only.

Maegan Rogers came from Panhandle, Texas, specifically to see Stapleton. She didn’t have a particular song she was excited for but instead said “all of them.”

Rogers said everything on Day 1 of Extra Innings was “very well run” and she was having a good time.

— Dina Kaur

Low: A mad dash for food. Hang onto your friends!

Almost immediately after Elle King’s set ended, it seemed like the whole crowd made a beeline for the food vendors. It got so packed at 6:15 p.m. that you were stuck waiting for a while if you wanted something to eat. Stick close with the people you came with — it was very easy to get separated in the throng.

— Dina Kaur

High: Charley Crockett gets fans dancing

Fans were excited, cheering for Charley Crockett as he entered the Right Field stage at 6:15 p.m. Friday. Even toward the back of the crowd, Crockett’s classic country sound had fans dancing, swaying and bobbing their heads to the beat. The crowd was lively during Crockett’s upbeat “Borrowed Time” and everyone sang along to his bluesy number “Jamestown Ferry.”

— Endia Fontanez

High: A beautiful sunset concert from Charley Crockett

The beauty of being at a festival is enjoying the outdoors. As the weather got cooler and the sun went down Friday evening, people were in great spirits. During Charley Crockett’s set the sky was the perfect shade of orange and the music provided a lovely atmosphere for jamming out along Tempe Town Lake.

— Dina Kaur

High: Ryan Bingham

Ryan Bingham's fun performance — complete with flashing strobe lights — was a great mashup of country and rock. His playing of “Top Shelf Drug” and other hits showed he knows his way around a guitar.

The band also pulled out all the stops, with one member delivering a fiddle solo during "Sunrise,” which had fans singing along.

Bingham then slowed things down from the edgy, lighthearted vibe to play “Wolves," followed by “Hallelujah” where he added a disco ball and twinkling lights to his performance.

Fans cheered on as another bandmate gave a great harmonica solo.

— Dina Kaur

High: Being in the moment

During the performances fans pulled out blankets, sat straight on the grass or swayed along, enjoying the time with family, friends and significant others. You didn’t see many phones pulled out but people being in the moment instead. As the night went on with different performances at the main stage, you could see the crowd getting more and more excited.

— Dina Kaur

High: Elle King was a raspy, rowdy delight

Elle King’s raspy voice was a delight with the country songs she opted to sing on Friday evening. Her vocals along with the drummer provided for a strong set especially when she pulled out her popular “Ex’s & Oh’s,” one of the songs the crowd seemed to enjoy the most. Along with a cover of “Jersey Giant” by Tyler Childers that King added her own twang to.

— Dina Kaur

High: Former DBacks star Evan Longoria has love for the fans

Former Diamondbacks third baseman Evan Longoria talked about his career, being a father and collecting baseball cards at "Off the Mound with Ryan Dempster," a live talk show on the Left Field Stage. He also talked about going to the World Series last year with the Diamondbacks.

“The support that we had from the city was electric,” Longoria said.

Longoria and Dempster also joked about the Los Angeles Dodgers recent acquisition of Shohei Ohtani for a whopping $700 million.

“If Shohei never makes it to a World Series, though, he might not be as happy,” Longoria said.

— Endia Fontanez

High: Loads of food choices for guests with dining restrictions

If you have a dietary restriction, one of the hardest things about festivals is finding safe food to eat. Often there is nothing that meets your needs, while some events offer just one or two options. At Extra Innings, more than half of the food vendors had menu items labeled vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, allowing guests with food allergies or other issues the choice of loaded fries, tacos and more.

— Endia Fontanez

Low: Not enough baseball at a festival called Extra Innings

The Extra Innings festival was described as a music and baseball festival, but it’s definitely music heavy. And that’s not a bad thing, especially if you’re a big fan of the many great artists in the lineup. But if you bought tickets specifically for the baseball aspects, you might leave disappointed. While Extra Innings is certainly baseball-heavy in aesthetics — from the merch to the festival logo to the giant baseball glove photo op — it was less so in practice. The batting and pitching cages were a fun activity between watching artists’ sets, but there wasn’t enough to make a day out of it.

— Endia Fontanez

High: The adult bevs are a hit at Extra Innings

If you’re planning on doing some day drinking, Extra Innings is the perfect spot for you. As soon as the doors opened on Friday, fans grabbed their age 21+ wristband and their drinks. Options are plentiful, from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Espolòn Tequila, Smirnoff Ice, Mamitas Tequila & Soda, High West Whiskey Train, Butter Wines and The Beatbox Bullpen. You can opt for one of the special vendor booths, or the festival has its own bar with beer, cocktails, wine and other beverages. Just make sure to drink water, too.

— Dina Kaur

Low: It's getting toasty out here. Take care of yourself

Friday topped out at 78 degrees and sunny, making it a little unbearable to walk around. Fans seeking shade have limited options. Make sure to bring hats, sunscreen and sunglasses if you're coming on Saturday. Bring a water bottle, too — the hydration station will help you stay hydrated and keep cool.

— Dina Kaur

High: The relaxed vibe in the early afternoon

One of the less-talked-about truths of music festivals is that they have the potential to be stressful, especially with the hot sun beating down on tightly packed crowds of fans. But early Friday afternoon, Extra Innings fans seemed to be in an especially good mood.

During Kaitlin Butts' set at Home Plate stage, the crowd was lively but not too squished as couples danced to the music and fans laughed at Butts’ entertaining remarks between songs. After her set, the crowd thinned as people milled between the stages, making room for fans of later acts to fill up the general-admission area.

— Endia Fontanez

High: Loads of fun merch for music and sports fans alike

The Extra Innings merch tent was large, with minimal lines early Friday afternoon. There were plenty of T-shirts, long sleeves, hats and more for the bands and the festival. There were team-specific baseball shirts with the Extra Innings logo on the back. The available teams were the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and our own Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Zia Records tent had even more merch, including CDs, plenty of vinyl and Zia Records shirts, hats and tote bags in classic Diamondbacks purple and teal. Some of the vinyl was signed by Extra Innings performers.

— Endia Fontanez

Low: Barely any time to get in to hear the first band

The admission gates were set to open at 12:30 p.m. Friday and the first artist, The Takes, began their set promptly at 12:37. I usually appreciate some time to buy merch and drinks and get comfortable before the music starts. Sure, it feels exciting to walk in and immediately hear music playing. But if The Takes are your favorite band, it was impossible to catch the start of their set if you weren’t first in line at bag check.

— Endia Fontanez

Extra Innings Festival lineup: Friday

Here's who's playing, on what stage and at what time on Friday, March 1, at Tempe Beach Park:

  • The Takes: 12:35-1:05 p.m. Home Plate Stage

  • Goodnight, Texas: 1:05-1:35 p.m. Right Field Stage

  • Kaitlin Butts: 1:35-2:20 p.m. Home Plate Stage

  • Donavon Frankenreiter: 2:20-3:05 p.m. Right Field Stage

  • Christone "Kingfish" Ingram: 3:05-4:05 p.m. Home Plate Stage

  • Shane Smith & the Saints: 4:05-5:05 p.m. Right Field Stage

  • Elle King: 5:10-6:10 p.m. Home Plate Stage

  • Charley Crockett: 6:15-7:15 p.m. Right Field Stage

  • Ryan Bingham: 7:20-8:20 p.m. Home Plate Stage

  • Turnpike Troubadours: 8:25-9:25 p.m. Right Field Stage

  • Chris Stapleton: 9:30-11 p.m. Home Plate Stage

— Ed Masley

Extra Innings Festival 2024 Friday weather forecast

By noon Friday, the temperature is forecast to be 72 degrees, with a high of 78 from 3-5 p.m. and a low of 66 by the time Chris Stapleton is finishing his set.

It should be sunny through the afternoon and clear at night, perfect festival weather, really.

— Ed Masley

How to get to Extra Innings Festival in Tempe

Rideshare pick-up and drop-off locations are at 222 S. Mill Ave. and on Hardy Drive near the intersection with Rio Salado Parkway.

Valley Metro light rail riders can use the Mill Avenue/Third Street station to get to Tempe Beach Park. There are 13 free park-and-rides lots in Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. Overnight parking is not allowed at the park-and-rides. Visit valleymetro.org for more information.

Valley Metro bus service has stops near Tempe Beach Park. Route 48 serves Tempe Beach Park with the nearest stop at Ash Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway. For route and schedule information, visit valleymetro.org.

Light rail and local bus fare is $2 for one ride or $4 for a one-day pass. Purchase at vending machines at rail stations, on board the bus or at a retail location. For more information, visit valleymetro.org/fares.

— Ed Masley

Extra Innings Festival parking

Driving? There is no parking at Extra Innings. However, there are many parking lots in downtown Tempe, including Hayden Ferry Lakeside Parking Garage and 201 S. Ash St. Parking Garage. See all of the options at downtowntempe.com.

— Ed Masley

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Extra Innings Festival 2024: Highs and lows from Tempe Beach Park