The local bands’ folk-rock, Americana-style music filled the cool, laid-back summer night air as the sun set.
“Happy Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day,” said Sarah Wiley, Rooftop’s CEO and co-founder, as the show started. “It’s a really fun time to be in Provo, and we’re really excited to be a part of it.”
James and his band headlined the concert, barely stopping between songs including “Broken Tongue,” “Real Love,” “Feel the Same,” “Surrender” and a unique cover of “Superstar.”
“I think he’s in the running for one of the most frequent Rooftop headliners,” Wiley said as she introduced James. “This might be his fifth time, which should give you a clue as to what an amazing show he puts on. Always some surprises, always something great.”
The crowd cheered for one more song after James and his band left the stage following “Coal War” at the end of the night as the minutes ticked on past 10 p.m.
The group returned, to the crowd’s delight, and closed the show with an encore of “God Be With You Till We Meet Again,” a fitting farewell at Rooftop’s last season.
Wiley called Desert Noises one of her favorite bands as she introduced the group, which she said made its Rooftop debut in 2012.
“They played many times and then outgrew Provo,” Wiley said. “They moved on and did amazing things and toured all around, and when I heard a little rumor that they might be willing to come back, I was so excited.”
Desert Noises played an energetic set including tunes like “Tell Me You Love Me,” “Smoke Breathing Monsters,” “Don’t Really Know What to Say” and “Run Through the Woods,” backed by frontman Kyle Henderson’s sister, Katie Henderson of The Aces, on the guitar.
“It’s been a while since we played in Provo, I think,” Kyle Henderson told the crowd. “But, man, it feels real good to be back.”
Jacobsen, who Wiley said has been part of the Rooftop team since the beginning, opened the concert with his band in a short, heartfelt set including a few originals such as “Western Skies” and a cover of Dominic Moore’s “Apocalypse Wow.”
“He is the mastermind behind the tribute shows that we have put on every year, which are some of my absolute favorite shows, and I figured it was high time that we needed to hear him again in his natural state,” Wiley said of Jacobsen as she introduced the group.
The frontman jokingly cautioned the crowd about the band’s “very, very loud and heavy” style.
“We need to warn you, we’re the heaviest band that has ever played the Rooftop Concert Series,” Jacobsen said. “We put the hard in hardcore and the heavy in metal.”
Jacobsen also offered a “big thank you to the Rooftop Concert Series.”
“What a treasure we’ve had in this city for the last decade,” Jacobsen said. “It’s been an incredible part of my life, and I don’t think anyone could really overstate how much work goes into this, and it’s such a beautiful thing.”
Provo Deputy Mayor Isaac Paxman also expressed gratitude for the series during a segment recognizing sponsors including Provo City, Central Bank, Coca-Cola, Utah Valley University, Nu Skin, Beehive Bazaar, Bicycle Collective, Metro Display and Mozz.
“Most of all, thank you to Sarah, to Nate, to Courtney, to Mindy, to Justin, to Rich, to everyone who gives us this amazing gift of Rooftop,” Paxman said.