Well, well, well: Three days, four nights, and more burgers and dogs than I can count later, my adventures in the wonderland that is the American South have finally come to a close. Why don’t you read on for all the juicy details of Saturday and Sunday of Bonnaroo 2009?
Saturday got off to quite a slow start, as a pretty nasty cough made it’s rounds all around camp, confining everyone to their humid tents for a few extra hours before allowing them the strength to embrace the pollen soaked air awaiting them outside. I made it to the press tent just in time to catch Jimmy Buffet talk with Margret Cho for five minutes about how gosh-darn green the festival is this year (a very good point, off course, with a Green Squad roaming the whole compound round the clock) before I had to split to catch a bit of the Tony Rice unit over at The Other Tent.
Following over at This Tent, Of Montreal raised some psychedelic hell for a solid hour, definitely making a fan out of yours truly, but leaving me with so little energy that I slept through the bulk of David Grisman’s set. No bother, because I woke up watching the Decemberists, who rocked much harder and louder than I would have expected. You win this round, Colin Meloy!
Somewhere amidst the ruckus, I had a moment to meet one of my favorite performers of the year, Greg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, who said he remembers PRB for playing, “all that great punk rock back in the 80′s.” Boss.
The blunders of the afternoon were rendered insignificant, however, in the face of Saturday’s headliner, Bruce Springsteen. The Boss played for three whole hours without taking a break, and killin’ it the entire time no less. I’m not even a fan, but that man knows how to get a crowd riled up like it’s nobody’s business: while I could not comprehend exactly what he meant during the ten minutes he took to talk about building, “a house of love on rock ‘n roll and filling it with faith and then more love,” (or something along those lines), I jumped and screamed like I’d been down since day one, and enjoyed every moment of it.
Sunday most definitely took the cake as the most representative and enjoyable day of the festival. We packed up our camp, toured Shakedown Street for a while (picking up some amazing chicken on a stick, btw) and spent the rest of the day plopped on the lawn. Everything was down-tempo on Sunday, from the surprisingly dynamic psych-folk stylings of Andrew Bird, through the sweet and subdued Band of Horses on the same stage, right up to the OG himself, Snoop Dogg.
But once again, in the opinion of this DJ, the headline took the cake. I don’t really listen to Phish, and I’m not too huge on light shows either, but the vibe at their Sunday night performance, from the stage all the way to the back fence, was so unbelievably warm, welcome, and radiant that it was impossible not to just give up and get down. I’ve never seen so many glowing objects in the sum of my entire life, let along all in one place. And just when you thought you couldn’t chill harder, the Boss himself joined the band on the What stage to kick out a cover of Mack Rice’s Mustang Sally and the best version of Glory Days that most of us will ever hear. Needless to say, the crowd went wild.
And with that we were off, for another fifteen fun-filled hours on the road, basking in the shadow of one helluva festival. Mad respect to Music Allies for putting together a sweet press tent as well as a great radio program to listen to on the way down, Crazy Pete for having my back the whole time, and all the artists and attendees that made this one for the books.
See y’all next year!