Bonnaroo Update!

Hello all! As Bruce Springsteen begins what is sure to be a lengthy encore, I thought I’d pause and fill you in on some of he happenings I’ve witnessed so far at Bonnaroo.

Weather was a factor on Thursday, but this event has nonetheless turned into one of the best weather situations possible. A huge storm missed us on Friday and then ushered in cooler temps for the nighttime hours.

The first music I saw was Alberta Cross, who have a very My Morning Jacket-like sound mixed with dashes of Brit-rock. They were my favorite of a day that also included sets from Hockey, Passion Pit, People Under the Stairs, and Zac Brown Band. Zac Brown was quite impressive, pleasing the crowd with his genre-hopping country roots rock sound.

Friday, I hopped between Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Galactic after starting my day with a true treasure – a “From the Archives” Phish radio show by their archivist, Kevin Shapiro. TV on the Radio simply owned the Which Stage in their late-afternoon spot, and the intoxicating combo of David Byrne and the Beastie Boys – achieved by camping out where I could hear both stages the bands were playing on – was utterly delightful.

The Friday Night Phish Fry was one of the most well-performed, carefully planned Phish shows I have ever seen. While the setlist doesn’t read like a classic, the playing was stellar. The band seemed to have something to prove in their first appearance at this farm, where so many other have and will offer legendary performances.

Public Enemy obliged my hopes by performing their landmark album It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back in its entirety. It’s one of the formative albums of my life, and the 40 minutes of the show that I caught was nothing short of a religious experience.

Saturday has been eventful and will only get more so, as I can now hear the growing crowd at the Which Stage howling in anticipation of Nine Inch Nails. Gov’t Mule put on a routinely inspired show that included covers from Radiohead, The Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, U2, and Neil Young, and my first Wilco show turned out to be perfect. I couldn’t have asked for more, and Wilco might be my favorite moment of the festival so far.

Russian Circles trashed and motored their way through a well-attended spot at the Troo Music Lounge before Bruce Springsteen began. The Boss is still going strong as of 11:55 central time, and he’ll likely fill the rest of his three-and-a-half-hour time slot. I’m going to ready for Nine Inch Nails and anticipate an amazing finale tomorrow with Phish, Merle Haggard, Okkervil River, and Band of Horses, among others.

As always, Bonnaroo is measured by what you miss, and I’ve missed plenty – Jon Fishman of Phish sitting in with Del McCoury Band, Jimmy Buffett running through his hits during his band’s lunchtime set, and Nas appearing with the Beastie Boys. I did, however, get to se Flavor Flav and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog verbally joust for a TV spot in the press area.

See you soon with pics – not that there are many – and the full review!


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