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OAKVILLE — Saturday night’s Citizen Cope concert wasn’t like the Robert Mondavi Summer Concerts that I’ve come to know in the last few years.

My impression of them has been that they’re intimate, slightly pretentious, very VIP and hella fun.

In some ways, this concert was much more “chill.” Part of that may have been the performer’s soulful, bluesy sound and honest lyrics.

One of the biggest hits of the night, “Sideways,” excited the crowd despite its softness. Fans swayed as they sang along:

“These feelings won’t go away. They’ve been knockin’ me sideways.”

The atmosphere may have also felt more relaxed because, instead of a VIP seating area with chairs all lined up in rows in front of the stage, it was a bring-your-own-blanket or lawn chair free-for-all.

Some people sat, some stood, some sprawled out and some even danced. It seemed very “anything goes” — that is, until I headed up to the stage.

Unlike previous years where a security guard or two tried to keep the fans in the front row off the stage (and out of the VIP area), a barrier separated the crowd and Citizen Cope. A security guard stood in front of the barrier.

No one would be getting on stage this year or even reaching out to touch hands with the artist. But that didn’t stop the fun. On the contrary, the more relaxed atmosphere seemed to breed more mingling between ticket-holders and, I suspect, more wine sales. Or, at the very least, more people sneaking alcohol in.

People were having a good time and, although the Citizen Cope’s performance was good, most people were going to have a good time no matter what.

How could they not? Live music, wine, nice weather and plenty of room to spread out. The concert series has zeroed in on a winning combination. That must be why every show this year has sold out.

The series, which kicked off its 49th year with Gavin DeGraw, runs each Saturday through July 28. Re-sale tickets may be available through Lyte ticket exchange — the same exchange used during BottleRock — for the rest of the summer’s concerts, including Brandi Carlile, X Ambassadors, and Fitz and The Tantrums.

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Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC.