Admittedly, I am late in posting the balance of my thoughts, observations, and analysis on the Bonnaroo weekend. Then again, I did beat Robert Smigel to publishing his account, and he’s getting paid!
I actually had a few more grafs written for the last music post, but they got lost in the ether, and now I can’t really remember what I had written. Judging from my level of intoxication, it probably wasn’t very good.
I caught half of the Beastie Boys — the other half I listened to them from my campsite, while following Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on satellite radio. The set was really heavy on Ad-Rock, MCA, and Mike D playing instruments with some other band members, which was a surprise, as I was expecting 3 MCs and 1 DJ the entire time. I enjoyed the 90 minutes they played, but would have liked to hear about 30 more minutes, in which they played the rest of their hits (among others, “Fight For Your Right” and “Brass Monkey” were missing) and maybe did another song with Nas.
I wanted to go all night, but was tired and knew that Saturday was going to be a full day, so I went back to camp and listened to the end of David Byrne and most of Phish’s late night set from my tent. I drifted in and out during the Phish show, and found it most agreeable to fall asleep to. Whether or not it contributed to my nightmares, I am not sure. Also, their cover of “A Day In the Life” woke me up at 2:20 — I was happy with this, as it sounded wonderful.
Saturday started off with exactly as much Jimmy Buffett as I wanted. Which is about 40 minutes. I’ve been to his 3 hour shows (includes intermission) on several occasions, and felt myself drift at points, but here he put out all his hits, and introduced us to Ilo Ferreira, who it seems was having immigration issues, warranting the call for backup, as they didn’t confirm his performance until late that week.
I then walked over and caught the tail end of Elvis Perkins in Dearland. His live show rocks — the band is well-suited to the stage, taking his folk music and injecting infectious energy. Doomsday benefits most from the live treatment, and brought the tent down. At this performance, I was told to check out Bon Iver later that day on the same stage, who joined Dearland for their finale. I probably didn’t give them enough time (whose fault is that?), but the first song was slow and a turn-off, and I went for a walk in the campgrounds.
When I got back, it was time for dinner, which I ate while listening to the Mars Volta. While they were a band I was excited about, they also lent themselves nicely to being background noise. And then it was time for Bruce.
Springsteen put on one hell of a show. I was excited about this most about the weekend, and, to my surprise, a lot of the younger kids were too. While I spent the entire show within feet of the stage, and thus have no account of the rest of the crowd, I was told that the sing-along parts of the show were well-heeded in the back. Up front, I wasn’t the only guy singing every word. Most notable was the close of the show — during this tour, Bruce and the Band played, at various shows, “American Land”, “Rosalita”, “Glory Days”, and “Dancing in the Dark” to end the encore; this night, he played all 4 in succession.
I then shot over to Nine Inch Nails for what Trent Reznor declared the last NIN show in America. While there’s been talk about this being a farewell tour, I dismissed it as hype to increase attendance, as the show I went to for his last tour was about half-full, and a small venue at that. However, I read that he’s found a woman he’s living with now, and now I feel my theory has a bit of a hole in it. If he’s happy, it must surely be hard to play this sort of show. At any rate, he played it like a finale, with reckless abandon, playing songs I’ve never heard before, throwing instruments, and all with an energy fitting a curtain call.
And then I found myself, at 3AM, very tired and scrambling for my tent. I walked by moe. and MGMT, and, though they sounded good, I resolved that even if the Beatles had miraculously reincarnated, reunited, and were playing with special guest Zombie Janis Joplin, I would have to pass, based on exhaustion. And then MGMT struck up “Kids”, and I found myself dancing, with energy I didn’t know I had. I was up until moe. stopped playing, which, as far as I could tell, was just before sunrise.
Sunday, the weather cooperated, and it stayed cool and overcast until about 11AM, allowing me some much-needed sleep.