This is your brain on 100 degrees in the shade. Any questions?
TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON
This year marked the fifteen year anniversary for Bonnaroo, and they made sure it would be one to remember. From the addition of real flushing toilets in Centeroo, great food venders, top notch lineup, and a great sponsor like Miller Lite, this year was off the charts.
In the Tennessee June heat, with temperatures reaching close to 100 degrees for all four days, sunscreen, water, and minimal clothing is a must. No one seemed to care too much as they made their way from stage to stage or to the water mushroom.
Chvrches, on the What Stage on Friday afternoon, with Lauren Mayberry singing her heart out and running all over the stage, sounded great and the large crowd was singing along and dancing throughout the set.
Up next on the second largest stage was Halsey with such songs as “Gasoline”, “Colors”, “Castle” and “New Americana”. Halsey took the stage in a sexy outfit and green hair and proceed to rock it! Halsey persona on stage matched her outfit and her attitude complete with pyros.
Jermaine Lamarr Cole, aka J. Cole, played on the Main Stage and even brought out Chance The Rapper to perform “No Problem”; this was a surprise as Chance wasn’t even on the lineup for the weekend.
LCD Soundsystem had the late night spot on the What Stage, which was perfect for a late night dance party. LCD Soundsystem wins the award for having the weekend’s biggest disco ball—with a huge one that came on a crane system from the rear of the stage to finally come to rest right over the head of James Murphy. The stage lights bouncing off of the disco ball were very cool, but also being able to see the large crowd in the mirrors of the ball was a trip.
At 2 a.m. it was time for the sounds of Zed’s Dead. You would think with the day’s heat and a full lineup already in the books that people would be crashed at two in the morning, but you would be dead wrong. Zed had the packed crowd over flowing the This Tent. The crowd was in full dance rave action and left me wanting to see Zeds Dead again as soon as possible.
Chris Stapleton had a 4 p.m. spot on the main stage during the afternoon, and the heat wasn’t about to let up. This didn’t seem to matter, as the majority of the festival crowd had made their way over to hear this overnight sensation. Stapleton has single-handedly brought back classic country music. With his wife playing and singing next to him on stage, this was a festival highlight for many festival goers.
I first saw Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at the Beale Street Music Festival earlier this year. With a 7 p.m. spot Saturday on the This Tent, Nathaniel’s soulful voice highlighted a mixture of blues, soul, and gospel (great horn section too). And if you think you haven’t heard him yet you are probably wrong: Rateliff is featured in a new Kia commercial, as well as some of his riffs being played in other commercials. He’s definitely on the one-to-watch list.
The Haim sisters played Saturday night on the Which stage and gave an outstanding performance, including a tribute to Prince with “I Would Die 4 U”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were next on the What Stage at 10:15. From the time Macklemore came on the scene with “Thrift Shop” he has been in the spot light and continues to put out hits. After about five or so songs, lightning was moving into the Manchester area and the organizers had to evacuate Centeroo for safety, promising to continue as soon as the all clear was given. After about an hour delay, the all clear was indeed given and the shows were back on, with Macklemore being able to finish his set.
Sam Hunt’s show was also interrupted but continued on after the lighting, with a lot of country fans and women who love country men with muscles. Sam is not only a popular country singer, but has written several hit songs for other big name country artists.
Ellie Goulding played at around 12:30 on Saturday after the lightning delay. Ellie had a lot of energy as she danced around and hardly stood still the entire time. Goulding has sold over six million albums and 20 million singles worldwide, and has collaborated with top producers such as Calvin Harris, Skrillex, Zed, and Diplo. This set was a non-stop dance party way into the morning hours.
A much anticipated act this year for Bonnaroo was headliner Pearl Jam. With hits like “Even Flow”, “Jeremy”, “Daughter”, “Corduroy”, and many more they were a great choice to headline. This was the first time back on the farm since 2008.
Miguel gets the award for best onstage dancer of the weekend. His late night set was a high energy set that of course included a favorite of mine “Simple Things”. Go view the video and download the song after you finish this article!
The Super Jam this year was a little different than years past, with a Tribute to Tennessee hosted by Kamasi Washington. This was a good show with the exception of a weak performance from front man Stephan Jenkins (Third Eye Blind), who joked about missing the rehearsal. He covered “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. Chicano Batman played a great funky version of “Shaft” by Isaac Hayes. Nathaniel Rateliff covered “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City”. Miguel then took the stage to cover Justin Timberlake’s hit song “Sexyback”.
Dead & Company was Sunday’s Headliner and they didn’t let us down. With a non-stop jam session, this was one of the best highlights of the weekend. How can you go wrong with all these great musicians, and with John Mayer, and Bob Weir out front, the crowd was mesmerized throughout the extended set.
Well, back to real world, until next year on the farm where the high fives are a plenty and the people radiate positivity.