Mark this down as the day that I missed close to everything that I had hoped to see at Bonnaroo because we worked all friggin’ day at the van. Which is a good thing. That in itself was plenty of fun, but it did unfortunately prevent me from seeing some of my favorites. I got no Wilco, I got no Jason Isbell, I got no Calexico, I got no Passion Pit, I got no Jim James, I didn’t even get any Big K.R.I.T..
What I got was five bands at the Jam Van, which turned out to be plenty. Perhaps Stoplight Observations, Futurebirds, Andrew Duhon, Rayland Baxter, or Jonny Fritz will be household names one day, and then I’ll have the last laugh. I’ll be all like, “ha, Big K.R.I.T., who is dat?”
Roo-Friday also marked the arrival of the Perfect Hippie (aka @PerfectHippie on Twitter and Instagram, where he’s pretty viral). He showed up in a dust cloud of patchouli per usual, and brought with him gifts, like the olives that I forgot to buy for our bloody Mary’s, and a hard-drive for the camera guys, and oh yeah, a bunch of lobster tails, because we fancy, and we had very special guests coming on Saturday.
So we kicked it on the bean bag chairs for most of the afternoon/early evening, and listened to a diverse assortment of up and coming musicians shuffle in and out of the van.
There were the youthful Canadians lads of Stoplight Observations attending their first Bonnaroo. They rolled down with their rad tour manager Zach, who had a rad wife. She was rad because when Goose Man whistled at her and said “is that your wife? Damn girl, you are beautiful!,” she did not slap him.
Futurebirds were some chill bros from Athens. They put a dent in our whiskey bottle for sure and had a nice little chat with Spud.
Andrew Duhon and Rayland Baxter each showed up with just a guitar and themselves and they both kind of gave people chills in the hot ass Tennessee summer. The van has a way of really accentuating solo performances and these were a couple of the best we’ve ever had.
Last of the day was Jonny Fritz, who used to be Jonny Corndog, and played the van back at SXSW a couple years back. Mr. Fritz and band-mates put the dagger into the bottle of whiskey, and sweated out a couple of songs even though their front-man was dealing with the effects of a skateboarding accident. He was neck-braced up and his vocals were struggling, so he decided to lay on the ground for his performance. I thought it came off pretty cool. However, based on the time I spent driving Mr. Frtiz back to his I campsite I would have to surmise that he didn’t really feel the same way about the performance or the temperature in the van. Note to self, but another AC unit.
Five bands was enough for the day, and we had liquor that wasn’t whiskey, so I made it away from the van in time to see The Wu Tang Clan mail in a set of muddled yelling. Maybe I was too far back, maybe I was just tired, maybe I’m right and they really did sugh, but whatever, they’re the Wu Tang Clan, and there were most likely a lot of blunts that needed to be smoked before dusk. So I ain’t mad at them, ain’t mad, not one bit. It was still fun. You’re still standing in a field in the middle of nowhere watching the Wu Tang Clan with like twenty-five thousand smiling people. That counts for something, and 25K is a reasonable amount of people to stand in a field with.
Following Wu Tang I would learn that one hundred thousand is not a reasonable amount of people to stand in a field with.
Holy hell Sir Paul, holy hell… That was the most people I think I’ve ever seen at The What stage, and I’ve been to that stage a lot of times, seen a lot of good performances, a lot of big names. Apparently people dig The Beatles.
Mr. McCartney played all the hits, everybody knew the words, everyone was dancing, I want to remember it better, I want to say more then he played “Hey Jude” and “Blackbird,” and all of the songs that you’d want, but it was so damn crowded, and we were having so much fun at the back of that crowd, that I kind of lost it all in a fuzz. I don’t mind that. Music is life’s soundtrack. So it seems that when a genuine, real live Beatle is playing the catalogue, well, the movie gets pretty entertaining.
To close out the night I went to go check out the first of the weekend’s Superjams. It starred the man whom I named my dog after, The RZA, and also featured DJ Jazzy Jeff, Lettuce, Solange, and School Boy Q. The human RZA is a much more talented rapper then the canine RZA. It was a damn good show and a funky way to end the day. So I ended it there, no late late sets, I was so tired that my Bonnaroo tent was comfortable. If you’ve never been, just know that that is saying something…